The JSW Challenge is open to anybody who wishes to participate. Using the writing prompt, write a flash fiction no longer than 200 words and post to your page. The Challenge starts on Monday and runs through Sunday each week. Please remember to link your story back to this post so everyone can read your entry.
“What’s this?” he asked, peering beyond the board which had broken under the weight of his painting. Not that he believed the board had broken due to painting – he wasn’t that heavy a hand – but he wasn’t sure what else to attribute the breakage to.
“Looks like a hole we now have to patch,” replied Julie angrily. She’d agreed to this fix-her-up project only because Josh had promised it wouldn’t entail more than fixing a little plumbing and painting. So far he’d been wrong on all accounts.
“No, look,” he said, pulling at the board. It came off in his hands. “There is something behind there.”
“It better be a million dollars,” she huffed, tossing down her paint brush. She stormed out.
He almost called after her, but didn’t. If this was just a bigger hole she’d only be angrier.
Instead, he grabbed a flashlight and squeezed himself through the wall and into the narrow opening beyond. Once inside, he saw the space wasn’t a small opening like he’d thought, but the start of a corridor heading off into the darkness. Curious, he followed, stepping over refuse and shining his flashlight all around. The corridor was narrow, just wide enough for his lanky frame, just tall enough for his to walk upright.
What could be at the end? Had this house been used in the Underground Railway? Just then a spider’s web hit him in the face and he sneezed.
A long way away, somewhere in the distance, he heard a returning sneeze.
He froze. Had it been an echo? Or had he just been hearing things? Forcing himself to move, he continued on, trying to be quiet, The corridor started to descend, gradually at first, then steeper as he went along, until he was clinging to the wall studs to keep his feet.
Should he turn around? He’d always thought of himself as brave but if he turned around now…..
He kept going, slipping and sliding over the floor as it changed from wooden planks to dirt and then to stone. Just then the floor ended and he fell down about five feet, landing awkwardly in front of a barred door. Hands shaking, he unbarred the door and pushed it over a crack.
Beyond lay a huge cave. In the distance, he heard a thunder-sneeze and had to grab onto the door to keep from behind blow backwards. Heard sound like rocks thudding onto the floor. As the sounds got louder, he managed to peek out the door again, realizing what had looked like a wooden pillar was actually the leg of a table looming high over his head. He caught a whiff of tobacco.
“Fi Fi FO Fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman.” Boomed so loud above him, he could barely make out the words.
Slamming the door, he fumbled at the bar and scrambled back up out of the hole, scrambling and climbing back up the corridor as fast as possible. As he reached where the floor slanted upwards at a gentler slope, the voice behind him had faded away even as the words echoed in his brain.
Reaching the narrow opening behind the room, he slid through, grabbed the board and shoved it into the hole, nailing it firmly into the wall.
“Honey! Honey!” he shouted, stumbling out of the room. “Honey….. you’re right…..”