Short Scary Story: Descent
The following is an excerpt from my upcoming horror anthology, The Dark Sonatas.

I didn’t know where I was. It was terrible. I was descending into a dark pit. I hung by my wrists. It was so dark: black as pitch. A swirling vacuum of dark, and evil, and pain, and fear. I looked around frantically, trying to make sense of anything around me, trying to see if I could see a wall or a platform, or anything! I struggled against the cold chains; icy pieces of metal that dug into my skin, chilling my hands, making my blood run cold, seeming to radiate misery. They were shackled to my wrists, unforgiving, and they lowered slowly, slowly, slowly.  It was agonizing. It was driving me to madness. I almost wished they would drop me into that deep, dark, evil abyss. I had to hold my breath to keep from screaming, but it was pointless. The musty, damp air would not stay in my lungs, as if they had a mind of their own. A terrible, twisted, evil mind.

Then I saw light! I felt warmth! Someone had a faint flashlight at the edge of the pit. Hope, and relief, and happiness flooded through me, and I smiled. The chains stopped. I looked up at whoever it was, and cried out. They stared and did not respond. Then they appeared to hang the light from a string. They then moved to another side of the pit. This made me happy; surely they would give me the light, while they lifted me out. But the chains resumed sinking. I frowned, and shouted to them again, but they took no notice. Then I could see he had a crank and a pulley. The gears were creaking and grinding, though I could not hear them. They were still lowering me into the abyss, slowly, and gradually sinking.

Then I realized he meant to do this. He had been turning that crank all along, delivering me to the inky, terrible depths of that hole of pain and death. Perhaps the light was to see if there was a reason why I hadn’t been screaming. But now I was. I was emitting terrible shrieks that echoed on the walls, everywhere around me, hurting my ears. And the man with the crank- he smiled! I swear to God, he smiled! It shone off his teeth in the dark, like it was carved across his silhouette.  The chains continued to lower me, not caring if I wailed or screamed, or cursed, but I stopped doing these things, when I saw a pale, red, deathly glow coming from the bottom of the pit. I didn’t want to look down, didn’t want to see what was waiting there, but it kept drawing me.

I looked downwards, straight into the red fog. It took ages and ages, but I could finally see what was below. It was a vast ocean of lava. It stretched for miles in every direction. It had a low, endless ceiling of obsidian, with the large hole I’d come from.  I could see figures writhing in the lava. Not their bodies, but their spirits & essences, being burned, and tortured cruelly for eternity. And they were screaming.

I started to panic. I hyperventilated. I couldn’t let myself be lowered into that terrible, scorching sea. It couldn’t end like this! I strained my mind for an idea, anything that would lift me out of this terrible pit. Then the chains stopped. I realized: they were going to drop me! The shackles around my wrists would unclasp, dropping me into a fiery inferno! Using some blind, animal instinct to survive, I tried a last ditch attempt to save my life. I swung my arms to grab the part of the chain just above my wrist. Then it started again! Why did I have to get any closer to that scorching heat?! I grew closer, closer, and closer. I had to lift my feet so as not to have them burned off. The wrists unclasped, and I hung there, praying for the chains to rise.

They still weren’t moving. I was alone, and tired, and afraid. My arms burned with the exertion. I couldn’t move at all, for fear of letting go. I shut my eyes, and tried to imagine a happy place, but I couldn’t, since the screams of the people in the fire hurt my ears. Tears slid down my cheeks, of fear and despair. I was beginning to think that they would never rise, and I would always hang there, never moving, surrounded by the screams of the damned, until one day I would fall into that fire, and burn.

But luckily, they did rise! Hanging on to the chains was tiring, but the alternative was to swim in a vat of fire. I cried with relief, as they climbed upwards. It seemed to raise me slower than it had lowered me. I could barely stand the feeling in my muscles; only blind hope and determination fueled my arms. Finally, I could see the top of the pit. The chain seemed to grow slower, and slower, and slower, as I reached the top. As I was lifted out, a steel plate closed swiftly and silently over the pit. I let go, and fell with a dull thud, my legs almost collapsing after disuse.

I looked over at the man, standing next to his rusty crank. But it was not a man. It was a monster. It had arms and legs arranged like mine, but the figure was pale green, and had 4 filmy eyes. It had large purple pores sticking out all over its body, and spongy red moss on its chin, like a beard. For genitals, at the groin it had a slimy tube, and when it turned, I glimpsed something wet and green, and slimy writhing around inside.

It hissed when it saw me, chilling my blood. It was a hiss of hatred and hunger, and it made my knees knock. It ran to attack, startling me, and I started to back off, beating back its blows and punches. I was through: my strength was failing, and this horrible beast would kill me. There was a door; if I could get to it, I’d be free. So, rallying the last of my courage, and my energy, and my pure anger, I flew forwards, and fought it tooth and nail. 

There was blood. It spattered my face. I didn’t know if it was my own, or the creature’s. The air was thick with red liquid, and yellow slime. I felt my forearm fall to the floor, but I still fought. I was stabbed in the stomach. I gouged out 2 of its eyes. I punched it in the groin. It doubled over.

The creature kept striking and striking, with me slowly working my way towards the door. When I finally reached it, I gave the creature one great kick, and it fell. Hurriedly, I raced through the door. I found myself in an alleyway, with a strange man cringing over his stomach, bruised and battered. My arm and my body were fine. He was yelling at me, in a thick Chicago accent, asking if I was crazy. 

Now I’m not so sure.