“Dude, this is stupid.”

Gary looked at his friend Matt, trying to see into his psyche and decipher what made him decide to come here.

The two, teens, almost adults, stood in front of a dark house. The windows had actual shutters, but they were hanging by a screw or completely absent. The door was wooden, as was the rest of the house. The walls were a dark grey, from weather and time. Gary didn’t know how old this place was, but it was old enough for stories to rise from it. The windows on the top floor stuck out a little above the first roof and became the eyes of a human skull, and Gary wouldn’t mind facing that instead. When you see a skull, sure you’re unnerved, but you know that it’s just a skull.

A cool breeze passed through the teens sending a shiver down Gary’s spine. Matt was unmoved. “Don’t be such a wuss, Gary.” His brown hair moved slightly in the wind. He was a football player in appearance only. He had the physique for it but not the passion. He preferred to stay inside and listen to heavy metal or silence. “Let’s go inside,” he said excitedly as he moved towards the door.

Gary walked forward as well, but only out of a feeling of necessity. He didn’t want to be here, not really. He found the prospect of the decrepit looking place something out of fantasy. The most famous legend says that the owner never had children of his own and was very friendly towards the children. This owner, whose name was lost to time, always changing - Mr. Lee in this story - was known as a very generous and trusting man. Then one day he disappeared into his house. People knew he was there, his echoing house betrayed that fact, and that concerned people. The children still came, expectant of stories, or treats from an adult who was just as much a child as they were; no one came out. One day they found his body in the tree out front, unnaturally folded and stuffed into the tree’s hollow stomach.

That’s what they say anyway. No matter what they say, it was different up close. The home reeked of Death himself. The Grim Reaper doesn’t have a scent though, more like a feeling; Gary felt like he was going to die. After considering the house, Gary closed the rest of the distance between where he stood and the front door. A raven cawed loudly several times.

The thing that first caught his attention was the grandfather clock at the front of the living room, its hands still moving, its large pendulum still swinging, distracting Gary from realizing that Matt was nowhere to be seen; that would come next.

“Matt?” he called out. The floorboards groaned in protestant response. The moment felt inherently like a horror movie. Every step he took elicited the same painful response from the floor, yet his calls received no human response.

Footsteps other than his sent another shudder down his spine, but only Matt stood there. “Have you seen the basement yet?” Matt said flatly like he always says things.

“No. I haven’t.”

“Come,” Matt said simply and before waiting for a response he walked to the basement door. Gary followed, sighing. Matt stood at the door and waited for Gary to cross the threshold and then followed.

Before Gary got two steps down, he found the other steps on the ceiling and the floor again, all around him. His shoulder ached and his back was bruised. A blurry figure approached him and rolled him over. Matt stood over him. Matt’s foot held Gary down against the ground. Matt pushed his foot into his chest before moving it to his face and stomping. This is when Gary found the strength to cry out in pain. Gary found himself moving across the floor. Something metal clasped itself over his wrist. He’d been handcuffed to a pipe. A final stomp put him out.

Gary woke up to find a wall in front of him, a layer of light painting the ceiling. His groans alerted Matt to his awakening. “Oh good, you’re awake. I thought I’d finish before you woke up,” said Matt, terrifyingly conversational. “Have you ever read The Cask of Amontillado? Excellent story. Ahead of its time. But of all of Poe's stories, this one intrigued me the most. Perhaps it was the simplicity of it, or maybe it was the simplicity of Fortunato. He was lured down to a basement over the prospect of wine, after insult after insult to Montresor, and even still, Fortunato expected no retaliation. But you, you are not simple. You’re smart, trusting, as was I. But I found out about what you guys really think about me. That’s fine. You’re entitled to your own opinion. But don’t think it’ll go unnoticed.”

“We di’nt mee’ eh’.” Gary found it hard to talk through his broken nose that whistled with every breath. Dried blood dressed his legs and face.

“You didn’t mean it? Then why was it constant? Why was it behind my back?!” Matt yelled. He threw a brick against a wall. Gary could hear it shatter. “I guess that was the perfect way to know who my real friends are. I guess I’m like you say: a psychopath.” He hissed the last syllable.

A feeble gurgle escaped from Gary’s throat as the last bricks were placed in.

“You were my friend, and you may not have meant it as much as the others, but once they realize that the one they least suspected me to kill is gone, and trust me, they expected me to kill someone at some point, they’ll leave me alone. We shall never meet again, Gary. Hello, nevermore.”

The last brick was placed in, extinguishing the light above.

“Nevermore,” Matt said again.

It was quiet in the basement.

Written by Supersatan25
Content is available under CC BY-SA