Vermin’s Nest

📅 Published on June 26, 2022

“Vermin’s Nest”

Written by Corpse Child
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Rating: 9.00/10. From 2 votes.
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I can hear them right now.  Scuttling and scampering about.  I can hear them whispering, debating on who’ll get the first bite.  On which parts of me they’ll want to eat first.

I can hear them from under me, under my bed.  The floor and the walls of my house are thin, making it that much easier for me to clearly make out what they say.

“Take him…While he sleeps…So tasty, so peaceful…” “No!  Now!  Take him!  Take him now!”

Who else could they possibly mean?  They’ve already taken Pamela when I brought her over to visit, along with my roommate, Connor.  They took them last night, as well as my neighbors and even their puppy before them!  I’m the only one left!

I don’t know who they are or exactly how long they’ve been here, nesting in the basement of this house. Though, I’d make it a good bet to say they’ve been here quite a while, judging by the rumors that surrounded this place.  God, I should’ve listened!

It was only about a month and a half ago that I’d started looking for a small place to move into from my college dorm.  I’d been searching for weeks, trying to find a cheap little apartment or something. Unfortunately, even those seemed to be just a bit too much for me to be able to afford.  That was when a stroke of luck hit me when I found someone on Facebook who was, ironically enough, also moving into a new place from college and was reaching out for a roommate to split the bills and rent of a small house with.  What’s more was that it was only about a 30-minute drive from the college AND was in my old hometown of Weeping Willow, North Carolina.

I guess it IS worth mentioning that “Ol’ Willow,” as Granny always used to call it, was always kinda notorious for this and that old ghost story about this and that old place all through the town.  Hell, I remember how me and my buddies used to dare each other just to eat one of the apples from the oak tree in the middle of the plaza downtown, thinking we’d get possessed or something like that.  Even back then, though, I knew none of that was real, just stories to spook the hell out of each other on the playground, right?

Well, anyway, I, of course, took him up on the offer.  The place was listed at a semi-decent price, and therefore, only having to be responsible for half of it, I wouldn’t end up in a financial bind because of it. I reached out to him via messenger, letting him know that I was interested in his offer, and asked him where and when he’d like to meet up.  We met up the next afternoon after class at the old diner that, surprisingly, was still around and hadn’t moved from its spot across from the shopping mall on Garret Street.

And from there, Connor and I basically became like friends.  He always seemed really cool, having many of the same interests I did, as well as being able to introduce me to a number of new interests (mostly new TV shows and movies I wasn’t familiar with before).  He and I helped each other to secure the deed to the house, splitting half of the down payment.  It was later that week that we’d finally see the house.

Admittedly, at the time, I remember just how odd it seemed to me when I saw it.  Not even necessarily a bad feeling or anything, but more so…familiar, like maybe I’d seen or heard about it before.  I couldn’t place what it was that made it so familiar, though.  It was a small, one-story house with a wooden-paneled roof in place of a typical shingled one.  The paint, which MIGHT’VE been baby blue at one time (either that or aqua), was now faded and worn down so far that only the dark, aged wood beneath was visible, save for a few faded splotches here and there.

Around the perimeter was a chain-link fence that was warped and marred with rust.  In short, the place might as well’ve had a sign out front saying something like: “Abandon hope, ye who enter…” But this wasn’t gonna keep us from happily sinking money into it.  Just a week and a half later, we finally started moving in.

Much like the outside, it was more or less just as decrepit and bleak on the inside as well.  We couldn’t take two steps without hearing the floorboards creak and feel like they’d give from beneath at any moment.  Between that and the cobwebs strung out just about everywhere, you can kinda see what kinda place we were dealing with here.  Me and Connor, however, considered it a “fixer-upper” and decided this would be something we’d make work; hook or by crook.

Oh, for the first month or so, everything was just fine.  We were even able to start fixing up the place to make it a bit more livable and do so without either of us risking bankruptcy.  Nothing at all seemed all that out of the ordinary.  At least, not with the house itself.  With the neighbors, though, well, that was a bit of a different story.  They all seemed very skittish around Connor and me.

This didn’t seem to bother him much.  I, on the other hand, couldn’t, for whatever reason, shake the uneasy feeling their anxious stares instilled in me.

I always tried to be polite, even trying to make small talk with them – something I never used to do with people, much less complete strangers.

Still, they just looked at me almost like I was diseased or something.  I even distinctly recall spotting a few of them actually crossing themselves!  Talk about overkill.

I say that, but…I guess they were right, weren’t they? It wasn’t long after that that we started hearing the scratching noises at nighttime.  They always started out faint and then would gradually get louder and louder as the time passed in the night.  The first night it happened, I told Connor, who apparently was oblivious to it.  He told me that he didn’t hear anything while adding that this kind of thing could kinda be expected when moving into a new house — or rather, an OLD house like this one (new to us) — and that it was just another thing to get used to.

Well, I figured that made sense, and over the next few days, I sorta learned to get used to it.  But then I started hearing the voices.  The first night I heard it, I couldn’t tell what it was they were saying, so I wrote that off too, figuring maybe Connor left the TV on or something.  After about a week and a half of hearing them, however, that was when I decided to (politely, of course) approach Connor about it.

When I did, though, he swore up and down that he hadn’t even been watching the TV at night, claiming that he’d always be in bed at 9:30.  I told him about the voices I kept hearing, and he told me that, again, it was probably just the excitement getting to me or something.  I was a little less convinced this time around but still decided not to press him further.  That night, hearing them again, I grabbed a flashlight and headed down to the basement and decided to investigate for myself.

When I opened the hatch leading under the house, however, nobody was there.  I went in and looked all around; nothing.  Just cobwebs and old wooden beams that looked like they were ready at any moment to collapse under their own weight throughout.  At least, until I got to the very back of the area, right under around where my bedroom would be, where I found what looked like a large bed of…of…I don’t even know what!

It was pitch black (or dark brown) and shiny.  “What in the hell?  What is this stuff?” I used a nearby sliver of chipped-off wood from one of the beams to scrape up a bit of it.  It was soft but thick and sticky and smelled awful, like a road-killed carcass.  The next day, after I got home from class, I immediately told Connor about it, showing him the bit of gunk from the night before.

“What IS this?” he asked, looking at me, both confused and disgusted.

I shrugged, “I-I don’t know.  I just found a large mass of it in the basement.”  He kept looking at me like I was a weirdo.

“Here, I’ll show you.”

I took him down to the basement.  He and I both had to hold our breaths to keep from hurling right then and there from the smell, which was somehow even worse than last night.  I showed him where I’d seen the stuff, which was when he gagged.  It was still there, the circle of…whatever the stuff was.

“God, that smells HORRIBLE!” Connor exclaimed, covering his nose with his shirt, “We gotta get rid of this crap.”

“How?  We don’t even know what it is.  What if it’s toxic or something?” “Well, I can’t take the smell anymore.  THAT’S what’s toxic!”  With that, we promptly rushed out from beneath the house and went back to the living room.  After debating for about half an hour, we finally agreed to have the landlord and poison control come out the next day to look at it and see about how to get rid of it.

That night was the first time I heard more clearly what the voices under the bed were actually saying. They spoke English, but their words were broken; mostly just repeating the same few words over and over again:

“Feed…Must Feed…Eat…Juicy meat…Take now!” It was creepy as all hell, and I imagined a group of cannibals were under my bed.  What was even stranger was their actual voices.  The best way I could describe it is that they seemed to have some frantic, disjointed high-pitched buzz to them, almost like an insect or something.  Needless to say, sleep was out of the cards for me that night.

The next morning, me and Connor were awakened by a knock at the door.  It was one of our neighbors, living two houses down to the right of us, the Roddencrofts.  They asked us if we’d seen their puppy, who’d apparently run out of the house late last night and was last seen heading in our direction.  I noticed they seemed rather skittish while telling us this, constantly darting their eyes around, never holding consistent eye contact, and also looking rather stiff.  In other words, it wasn’t hard to tell they REALLY didn’t want to be at our house.

Of course, we told them we had no idea but that we’d be more than happy to keep an eye out for them. Connor was even about to volunteer to help them print out some missing posters when they just plastered on half-assed poker smiles and cut him off, blurting out, “Thank you for your time, sorry for bothering you,” before hurrying away back to their house.  For a moment after that, me and Connor just stood there, looking confused at each other, before shrugging and finishing getting ready for the day.

All through classes that day, I was unable to concentrate on anything except for the voices from the past night; that, plus the pit of gunk, and now the incident with the neighbor’s dog.  All my mental stamina ended up going into trying to connect the dots.

On my way home, I got a text from Connor saying that he’d stepped out and was on his way to meet with the landlord about the basement.  As soon as I got home, I opened the front door and was hit with a horrible smell.  I couldn’t tell what it was at first.  Part of me thought maybe it was the smell of the gunk having traveled up from under the house.  I proved this to not be the case, however, when I took a whiff of the sample we planned to show the landlord.

No, this was a sharper odor…like something had just died!  Finally, I went down and opened up the door leading under the house.  I was right about one thing: whatever the smell was, it definitely came from down there and had traveled up to the house.  Covering my face with my hand to keep from dumping my stomach all over the place, I clicked on the flashlight on my phone and started heading towards the back of the basement, where the stench was strongest.

What I saw next made my heart abruptly stop.  There, coated in the gunk, was what remained of a small light-yellow furred puppy.  God, it was horrible!  It looked like the poor thing had been mauled by a wolverine; with large chunks, each the size of wiffle balls, dug out all over its body as well as both of its ears and an eye missing!

I was two seconds away from losing the little control I had over my stomach when I heard what sounded like skittering from up ahead.  Looking up, I could see six tiny dots stab through the darkness in front of me, rapidly getting closer and closer.  This caused me to drop my phone and frantically scramble towards the door leading back into the living room.  As soon as I’d made it back out, I latched the hatch and sat on it.  I could feel it banging and pushing more and more violently from beneath me. I was sure that at any moment, whatever they were on the other side was somehow gonna end up bashing their way through the hatch, hurling me off of it!

Luckily for me, after staying frozen in a fetal position for about ten minutes on top of the hatch, everything went quiet and still again.  Another five minutes passed before Connor and the landlord finally arrived.  When they found me, a pale, quivering pulp on top of the hatch leading under the house, they were both, naturally, confused as all hell.  When they asked what happened, all I could do was blabber like a moron.  “Don’t go in there, something’s down there, don’t go down there,” over and over again.

“What?  What’s down there?” Connor asked, no doubt figuring I’d finally lost my damn mind.  I was still too shocked to even form a decent sentence.

“I-I-I do-I don’t kno-”

“Calm down, pal,” chimed the landlord.  “Here, let’s get you some water.” As they slowly managed to work me out of my paralysis from on top of the hatch, I was able to get one more broken phrase out of my babbling, “D-D-Dog…t-t-torn ap-apart…” I began to feel dizzy, lightheaded, and like I’d drop faint (if not dead of a heart attack) at any instant. After guiding me over to the sofa and getting me to somewhat calm down, at least enough to breathe normally, they again asked me what it was I saw down there.  I told them everything, or at least everything I could make out; the dog, the gunk, those eyes, everything! I didn’t mention the voices I’d been hearing.  For one thing, I guess I didn’t see any real connection at the time.  Even if I had, however, I figured I was pushing my luck already with what I was telling them not to try and have my ass committed.  My suspicion as far as that went was somewhat apparent with Connor, who cocked an eyebrow and replied, “You serious?” “Yes!  I’m not making any of this up!”  Glancing over to the landlord, I could see that his face seemed more concentrated, as if trying to actually analyze what I was saying.  As if maybe HE actually believed me…and maybe even knew something.

If he did know something, though, he didn’t let on, and he just said that what I said was “interesting” but unlikely that anyone could be in the basement, given how long the place had sat abandoned before we bought it.  He said he’d personally checked the whole place from top to bottom when he rented the house to us, so it couldn’t be squatters.  He DID say that the place had a thing, though for rats to scamper about, especially in the basement where it was dark.

“Rats?!  You’re screwing with me here, right?!  I can tell you RIGHT NOW it wasn’t no damn rats that did that to that puppy!”  My heart began racing again.

He just shrugged, “That’s the best theory I got, pal.”  I could still see his face had that nervous look plastered on as he tried to push this load of crap at me.  “Look,” he started, obviously now just trying to shut me up about it all, “I’ll have pest control come down here and see what they find, okay?”

I wanted to keep pushing further, to figure out what, as well as why, details were being kept from us, but my still present state of confused dread and Connor telling me to “relax” and “get a grip” made me think better of it for the present.  While the landlord was on the phone with pest control, I just sat there, trembling.  Almost involuntarily, my mind started remembering the events from before; the scurrying, the chattering voices.  That’s when I started remembering more of what the voices said; something about “juicy meat”…

“Is THAT what was going on last night?  They, whatever they are, were eating the puppy?” About fifteen minutes later, he came back and told me and Connor that pest control was on the way and that we should consider finding someplace else to crash until they were done.

“How long should it take?” I asked.

“Not long, but they said there’s a chance they’ll have to fumigate the place, which could take anywhere from 36 to 48 hours for them to deem the place safe to come back again.”

I looked to Connor, who looked annoyed, but shrugged and said, “Alright.” The next half hour was spent packing a couple overnight bags and calling one of my buds from college to see if I could bunk at his place until the house was ready again.  I asked Connor if he had a place to stay, to which he replied that he knew of a cheap motel he could stay in for a while.  That night, at my friend’s house, I was flipping through the channels when a breaking news broadcast caught my attention: “COUPLE FOUND DEAD IN HOME”

Now normally, I’d have kept going, but I saw that the house they were filming looked very familiar.  It wasn’t until they read the address that it hit me: that was the Roddencrofts’ house!  I was in shock again.

“At approximately 9:30 p.m., authorities were alerted to a disturbance by neighbors who allegedly heard screaming from their house.  Upon arriving, police found the victims, thirty-nine-year-old Katelynn Becks Roddencroft, and her husband, forty-two-year-old James Hubert Roddencroft, sprawled out on their living room floor with heavy lacerations all over their bodies, as well as entrails having been removed viciously…”

They then showed images of the crime scene, and I almost threw up.  There on the screen, in one giant pool of blood, were my neighbors!  They looked like they had just gone through a paper shredder. Despite the heavy blurring of the images on the screen, I could still clearly see the dark red gashes covering both of them from top to bottom, and I saw the blood scattered erratically all across the surrounding area.  The report went on to detail that they found them with their stomachs ripped open and hollowed out.

I couldn’t stand to watch anymore, so I turned the TV off and immediately texted Connor and asked him if he’d seen the news.  I told him about what I’d seen, and he said we’d need to install a security system when we got to go home again.  Now, I’ve never really trusted those things.  All they do is beep at every little thing that sets it off by motion detection, even just small animals racing by.  Plus, they were expensive as all hell.

  • ”Well, U got any better ideas?”
  • ”No…”

Then I got to thinking, and I remembered that my dad left me with his old Winchester rifle and an old Colt .45 revolver before he died last year.  I told this to Connor and told him I’d get it from the old family home, now owned by my aunt and uncle.  He agreed, though he said he’d still feel better with an actual security system.

After I got the guns from my aunt’s place, I got the text from the fumigators saying that the place was safe to come back.  When I got back, I found Connor talking to the landlord.  “Everything all clear?” I asked the landlord.  He turned to me (STILL looking like he was afraid or anxious about something…) and told me that we could come back into the house but to stay out of the basement.

I looked at him confused.  “Why?  What the hell was down there?” “Look,” he sighed, “just keep out from under there for a few days at least, okay?  Whatever it was down there, they told me that it required some real strong stuff to get rid of it; stuff that tends to take a bit to wear off and ain’t good to breathe.”  I relented at that.

It made sense, but something about the way he was saying it gave me the feeling that it wasn’t actually the truth (or at least not all of it).  Finally, he left, and me and Connor had the house back.  All I was able to be concerned with, however, was the news report.  And of course, that would be the first thing I’d try to talk to him about.

“I wonder who hated them so much that they’d go and do that?” Connor said.

“Who?” I replied.  “More like what.”

He cocked his eyebrow at me.  “What do you mean?” “Come on, you saw the footage, right?  You really think a PERSON did that?” “’Kay, well, what’s your theory, detective?”

Unfortunately, he kinda had me there.  While I wasn’t sure what it was, though, something was telling me that it had something to do with whatever happened to that puppy in the basement.  That night I’d hear them again, chattering and bickering, “Feed…Must Feed…Eat…”

Unsurprisingly, this kept me on high alert all night.  During this, another thought also managed to worm its way into my panicked brain.  These things, WHATEVER they were, could THEY have been the ones to rip the Roddencrofts’ apart like that?  Not to mention before that, with the puppy?  “What the hell even ARE they?”

The next morning, having gotten no sleep whatsoever, I decided to skip the early-bird classes and spend some time at the local café, searching both for more articles pertaining to the Roddencrofts’ murders, as well as possibly another place to stay.  That was how I ran into Pamela.  She was in the process of fixing another cappuccino — the tenth one by then — when she remarked, “Tough on you, huh?”

I looked at her, confused.  “Your classes,” she said, gesturing to my laptop.  “Must be goin’ rough on ya with all them cappuccinos you keep knockin’ back.”

I chuckled dryly, “Oh, no, this isn’t school stuff.”

“Ahh,” she said, sliding the coffee to me.  “Well, somethin’s gotta be keepin’ ya up.  You look like you been burnin’ SOME kinda candle at both ends.  You pullin’ a lotta doubles at work or somethin’?”


“You a partier?” she winked before remarking, “Maybe some pretty girl’s been keepin’ ya busy?” I chuckled again before replying.  “No.  No, nothing like that.” “Well then, what is it?  Unless you’re ‘bout to tell me that I’ve jus’ been feedin’ yer little caffeine addiction here for the past hour n’ a half jus’ for the hell of it.” I hesitated for a moment.  I wasn’t sure how, or even really if, I should tell her about what’d been going on.  For one thing, I still wasn’t sure what was even really going on myself.  Part of me at the time still had the idea that the voices I was hearing were just in my head.  Another thing, though, was the idea that even if she didn’t think I was nuts, what would she know? “Of course, she looks like she HAS been here for a while.  COULD she know something?” “Heh, you’ll probably think I’m losing it,” I said, chuckling nervously.  She just looked at me, urging me to spill it.  “See, I’ve been hearing these weird noises from under my house.” “Noises?” she asked, her face growing curious.

“Yeah, like…I don’t know, like voices.”  I instantly cringed after saying that, anticipating looking up and see her staring at me like I’d just told her the sky was falling.  Instead, I could see excitement growing on her face.

“Voices, ya say?  Under yer house?”


“Ya hear anything they say?”

I thought briefly about the nights I’d hear them scurrying around from underneath me.  I thought about how I’d hear them go back and forth about how they’d take me in my sleep.  “Feed…Must Feed…Eat…Juicy meat…Take now!”

I told her this, and her brow furrowed, concentrated in thought.  “Sounds to me like you been hearin’ them vermin.”  I cocked my eyebrow at her.  “Yeah, they use ta have a real bad time wit’ those suckers back in the day.”  She giggled before adding, “If the ol’ stories are true at least.”

Now I was the curious one.  “What do you mean?  You mean you’ve seen this before?” “Well, not really.  Like I said, they was jus’ somethin’ Granny use ta talk about.  Ya know, one o’ their lil’ ghost stories to scare us at nighttime.” “What was the story?” I sounded desperate, and I was.  If Pamela knew what these things were, and if they were actually real, then she might also know how to get rid of them.

“Well now, I couldn’t tell ya ‘xactly WHERE it was they came from or when they first started shackin’ up here in Ol’ Willow.  Like I said, I only remember what my Granny use ta tell me ‘bout em.  She’d always tell me ‘bout how they’d live under yer house.  Said they’d scurry around under the floors and come nighttime, they’ll start comin’ out to feed.  They don’t like the light, makes em’ sensitive apparently, so they nest under houses and dig around like little moles from one house to another.”

“Wait,” I interjected, “you said they’re vulnerable to sunlight?” “Yeah, why?”  I didn’t answer this.  I shook my head and motioned for her to continue.  “Yeah, they like it dark.  So that’s when they’ll come out fer feedin’.” “Probably a stupid question, but exactly what do they like ‘feedin’ on?’” She smirked and said, “Anythin’ meaty.  They LOVE em some man-meat, ya know?”  She snickered.  I chuckled nervously.  I wasn’t finding this as funny as she apparently was.  “Aw, come on, I’s jus’ yankin’ yer chain.  You don’t believe this junk, do ya?” I took another gulp of my coffee.  I wasn’t sure what to say.  Yeah, I’m no believer in ghosts or monsters (despite what I said earlier about having grown up in this town), but at the same time, I couldn’t shake the horrible feeling that Pamela may not be “Yankin’ my chain” about this as much as she thinks she is.  “No,” I said finally, “but I’d like to ask; say, hypothetically, that I DID believe you, how would I get rid of them?” She cocked her eyebrow, scoffing.  “Please, humor me.” “Well, I suppose you could try mouse traps.  Maybe lure ‘em out in the sun, let’ em cook fer a while ‘fore servin’ em at a barbeque.  Hell, I really can’t give ya any tips; Granny never told me how they actually got rid of ‘em.” “I see,” I replied, downing my coffee.  My heart had now fallen into the pit of my stomach.  What was I gonna do?  If even Pamela couldn’t help, then who could?  I was about to pack up my laptop and head back to the house when Pamela stopped me.

“Ahem,” she said, gesturing to her register.

“Oh,” I replied, chuckling, “my bad.  How much?”

She tapped the keys on her register before replying, “Fer all them lattés you downed, your damage is $21.57.”  I looked in my wallet to see, shamefully, that I only had $25 left, and I still needed to get gas on the way back.

“I don’t suppose you take cards, do you?”  She smiled and shook her head.

“’Fraid not, darlin’,” she said.  I sighed and was about to give her the cash when she put her hand out, stopping me.  “But fer a handsome, respectful feller like you, I believe I can let ya go.” She winked before adding, “That is, so long as you agree ta take me out ta dinner.”

“Uh, sure,” I replied.  Her grin widened.

“Great, tonight work fer you; say, ‘round 8?” I nodded my head.  She then tore off a chunk of the receipt paper and scrawled out her address.  “I’ll see ya then,” she said with another wink.  I took it and packed up my stuff before leaving the café and heading for home.

On the way, I thought of how I might find some way to get rid of these things, these “vermin  .”I wondered if maybe bringing Pamela over to the house, perhaps armed with something, might get some kind of result.  Then I had the idea to bring Pamela over to the house for dinner.  I figured, aside from saving money, this might at least give me SOME measure of comfort.  “Maybe if they start up again, she’ll hear it, and she might be able to help.”

I spent the rest of the day trying to tidy the house up as much as possible.  I remember Connor asking me why I was trying to clean the house, joking that it was “A little late for spring cleaning, don’t you think?”  I then filled him in on the situation with Pamela.  He immediately started teasing me about “picking up ‘coffee shop chicks’.”

“Look, it’s nothing serious, okay?  I just agreed to bring her over for dinner in exchange for free coffee.”

“Hey, you don’t gotta explain it to me, pal,” he remarked, snickering.  “Don’t worry; I won’t get in y’alls way.”  I just rolled my eyes and continued cleaning.

Almost before I even realized it, it was already 7:15 p.m.  After taking one last look around the house, satisfied that it looked at least mostly presentable enough for company, I left to pick Pamela up from her house using the address she gave me.  When I arrived, about twenty-something minutes later, she was standing on her porch, waiting.  “Right on time, ain’t ya?” she commented as she got in the car.

“Well,” I replied with a chuckle, “I figure it’d make for a good first impression, right?” She responded by giggling.  “So where we headed fer supper?” “Actually, I was wondering how you’d feel about possibly having dinner at my place?” “Ooh,” she squealed, winking.  “Plan on winin’ n’ dinin’ me in one go, huh?” I chuckled nervously and replied, “Maybe just stick to the ‘dinin’’ tonight; what do you say?” She snickered before giving me another sly wink.  When we returned to the house, I saw that Connor’s car was still parked in the driveway.  “So much for ‘not getting in the way,’ huh?” I thought as we got out. Despite this, though, when I went inside, he was nowhere in sight.

“Connor?” I called out.  Nothing.  I went from room to room, calling out his name.  They were all empty; silent.  “Where is he?” I wondered.  “I guess he decided to go out with a friend, too; using their car, maybe?”

I was about to head back out into the living room to join Pamela when a foul smell assaulted my nose. It was a sharp, overwhelming smell, a dominating miasma.  “What the hell?  God, what IS that?!”

In the back of my mind, though, I found something familiar about it.  Then I realized that it was the smell of something that’d just died.  Not only that, but something that’d just died *in the house*. Concentrating closely, I realized that it was coming from under the floorboards.  That’s when I felt a sinister chill climb up my spine.  This was the same thing I smelled when I found the…the…

“Everythin’ a’ight?” Pamela asked from behind me, causing me to jump a bit.  She looked at me with wide eyes, my reaction having startled her.  “What’s wrong, hun?”

I shook my head and smiled nervously.  “Oh, uh… it’s nothing, just give me one moment.  I need to check something real quick.”  For a moment, she continued looking at me, puzzled, before shrugging and heading into the dining room.

I left the room and went out through the front door, and went around to the back of the house to the basement.  There, I found that this was indeed where the horrid smell was coming from.  Standing up close, I realized the smell was somehow even stronger than I remembered it being before.  Whatever it was couldn’t have been dead long.

My hand shook as I reached to open the basement door, afraid of what I’d see on the other side.  What was it gonna be this time?  Another animal?  A person, maybe?  That caused another, far more haunting suggestion to enter my mind; “Will I find Connor in here?”

Taking in a huge breath, I grabbed and threw open the basement door.  Immediately, I was forced to turn away and retch.  It was exactly what I’d feared.  Actually, It was even worse than I’d imagined.

There, ripped apart senselessly and cocooned in that dark, smelly gunk, was the shredded carcass of my roommate!  Just like with the puppy before him, there wasn’t a single patch of skin that hadn’t been mauled almost beyond recognition.  I wasn’t able to even fully register the gruesome scene, though, before I heard the sounds of scuttling from farther back inside the basement.  I could hear their movement coming towards me at a rapid pace.  “Wh-Who’s there?” I called out weakly into the darkness.

They continued to get closer and closer, tittering like rats as they scurried along.  “He’s right here.”  I heard a raspy voice hiss from the darkness, “He’s right here!  We have him now; more juicy meat!” This caused my heart to stop cold.  I stood frozen as one of the things finally came into view from the darkness of the basement.

It was huge and emaciated, with bones that pushed out against its taut, ghoulishly albino skin.  Its face was gaunt, and it had dark, marbled, beady eyes and its mouth was tattered; its gums fully exposed and bearing tiny jagged teeth like those of a shark.  It was scurrying rapidly along the ground on its equally bone-thin limbs.  “Juicy meat…must FEED!”

In one motion, the creature bounded from where it was towards me, its claws outstretched, ready to seize me.  I broke from my terrified trance just in time to slam the door before it could have me.  I felt it crash against the door, and I quickly propped a couple of nearby cinder blocks against it before bolting around like a bat outta Hell back into the house.  After all but hurling myself through the door and locking it, I stood braced against it, panting frantically.

“What happened to you?” Pamela exclaimed, staring at me with eyes the size of serving platters.  I just stood there, breathless, my heart racing.  My thoughts were so frantic that I was unable to even make a sound, even to scream.

Finally, after a full minute, I wheezed out, “Ver- vermin!”  She cocked her eyebrow.


“Under the house.  The vermin.  They killed Co–” My tongue froze, and my heart skipped about five beats when I heard and felt a loud knocking from the floorboards.  As they got louder and more furious, I realized in horror that they were attempting to breach through the floorboards.

I was about to scream for Pamela to rush to the door where I was, but it was already too late.  From directly in front of her, a large white claw broke through the floor and snatched her by the ankle.  Her jaw fell, and she tried to scream, but was only able to let out a choked, gasping sound.  Two more sets of claws then broke through the floor and grabbed her.

I tried to rush over to her, but she was gone almost as soon as I got to where she’d been, pulled down below the floor into the basement.  I looked down to see a dark, empty hole where Pamela had been standing only seconds ago.  “Pamela!” I shouted.  “Hang on, I’m coming!”

Before I could try and come down through the hole, though, I heard the sounds of them scurrying back towards it, and I immediately retracted away and ran to my bedroom, locking the door and pushing the dresser against it.  I threw myself into my bed and huddled into a ball, waiting for them to inevitably break down the door and snatch me.  Oddly, fortunately, the night passed without this happening.

While it was a relief that I’d made it through the night, I haven’t moved from my room at all.  I was afraid that one of them would be lingering outside my bedroom door, just waiting for me to try and come out so it could take me like the others.  But it looks like now I’m screwed anyway.  I know it’s only a matter of time before I’m a goner, too.  I’m scared to move from my bed.  Right now, it might be the only protection I have — at least until they break out from below to drag me down into the basement, their nest, and feast on me…

Rating: 9.00/10. From 2 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

Written by Corpse Child
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Corpse Child

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