Another little piece written from a Reddit prompt, this one by U/ImperialArmorBrigade. You can find it here.
I also wrote this to experiment with writing in second person, which is something one of my university professors said is a fun thing to play around and experiment with.
There was something that lived in your basement. It was there when you bought the house. Suspiciously, it was not there when you did the viewing with the estate agent, but you have always tried to forget that detail. You were thinking of putting in a report for false advertising, but that would involve explaining what the problem was to trading standards. You figured that it would be too hard to explain, and perhaps not worth your time.
You’d spotted it while putting away a box of Christmas decorations. You’d seen something churning and undulating in the shadows and swiftly dropped your box in shock. It hit the ground with a resonant thud, sending shards of shattered glass bauble all over the basement floor. You cursed and jumped backwards, trying not to impale your sock-clad feet on the sharp pieces.
Then, an eye had opened in the darkness. It was yellow, luminous, and the size of a beach ball. It had a curious pupil; a sharp and angry horizontal shape like an upper-case W.
“Who dares disturb me in my place of refuge?!” The eye’s owner spoke from the shadows, the words spat out like projectile weapons.
You had continued to back away slowly. Not today, you thought. You had too much on your mind to deal with spooky basements.
“You flee from me? Coward! Curr! I am mighty Nydrrass, flayer of folk and eater of brood. You shall speak when spoken to.”
“No.” You said. “It’s the stress. I’m seeing things. I’m off to have a lie down for a while.”
“You shall not move, I compel it!”
And, just like that, you were glued to the floor. You tried to pull away, but your feet wouldn’t budge. A bead of icy cold sweat ran down your spine.
“Uh… Hi!” You stuttered nervously. “I sense we got off on the wrong foot. I’m your new upstairs neighbour, and I thought…”
“You thought wrong!” It interrupted. “This is my sanctuary! My dark and hidden domain! You do not tread down here like you own the place, not without an offering.”
Your courage caught alight inside of you. Though still superglued to the spot, you were brave. “Except I literally do own this place. I bought it. You’re in my domain, if anything.”
The great yellow eye blinked. Slowly. Deliberately. A spindly limb unwound itself from the darkness; a sort of lanky, besuckered tentacle. The limb shoved you backwards, breaking the spell on your feet and causing you to stumble.
“Leave me. I am in hiding. I shall flay you if you betray my position to The Enemy.”
Trembling just a little, you grabbed a sturdy broom from the corner of the room and waved it in the shadow’s direction. “Hiding?” You asked, gaining confidence, glad of the blunt instrument between you and the creature. “Hiding from what?”
The tentacle limb sank to the ground and snaked back into the darkness. The shadow seemed to pause for a moment, crackling in thought.
“I am not an unreasonable creature. I will not flay you if fulfil certain conditions. If you promise to keep my being here a secret, and throw me something cold and bloody every now and again, your succulent hide can remain on your body for the time being.”
“And if I refuse?”
“I will flay you and I will eat your skin. That is deadly for your kind, is it not?”
You grimaced. You rather liked your skin. It did a very good job at keeping your inside bits from falling out, and you were quite invested in keeping it on your body where it belonged.
“F-fine.” You stuttered. “I’ll do it. But what is this Enemy? Where is it?”
The creature had only three more words to say before it disappeared back into the darkness.
“In the attic.”
With that, the pact was sealed.
Nydrrass was an easy roommate, all things considered. They didn’t snore or play music too loud, and they didn’t clog up the sink with dishes as they ate their food raw and off of the floor. Speaking of food, their diet started off relatively easy; cheap chicken thighs and cooking bacon. You’d throw it down the basement stairs and hear a sort of fizzling as it was devoured.
Then you’d had a little power trip phase. You’d taken your neighbour’s yappy little rat dog and thrown it down there to be eaten, finding a picked clean pile of bones a few days later. It’d escalated something horrid when you’d fed Nydrrass a postman; a disagreeable fellow who always ‘lost’ your expensive packages; though you’d vowed never to do it again when people started asking questions. You’d dialled back then. A juicy steak twice a week kept the creature happy enough.
You did eventually go into the attic of course, just to see if The Enemy was real. But the attic was empty. You’d sat cross-legged on the floor listening out for it for ages, but all you could hear was a near-inaudible wheeze, like something far away was breathing softly. The sound had sent a chill down your spine, but since you hadn’t seen anything you had no proof that The Enemy was even real.
Still, you were spooked. You would never set foot in the attic again.