The Warning by Erika Lance

To Burgy Boo; without you I wouldn’t love the things that go bump in the night so much 🙂

She had been warned, but now it was too late.

Claudette couldn’t help but wonder if it was truly “too late.”

She looked around the basement again, puzzled. She knew this wasn’t a dream. She also knew this was more akin to a nightmare than she would care to admit.

The basement is something from a 70’s family comedy on TV. The room all the ‘hip’ teenagers hang out in.

A long brown couch with an afghan draped over the back faces one of those TV’s in the wooden case on the floor with knobs to change the channel and an antenna poking up from the back. The record player was on top with speakers and a pretty good size record collection stacked on a shelf just above it.

Wall-to-wall gold and green shag carpeting covered the floors. There were a couple of bean bags to one side with a game of Monopoly set up in between them on the floor.

There was a full size fridge and a card table that would seat four and in the back was a ping pong table. The entire room was perfectly staged.

Unfortunately, it was also staged with bodies. The kind that were no longer living. The kind that created a smell that Claudette couldn’t even begin to describe.

In the movies, they make it seem like placing the back of one hand up against a nose would block this smell. It couldn’t. Covering her nose and mouth with her shirt wasn’t even doing the trick; she could still taste it through the fabric.

Claudette had woken up on the couch to the sound of the record that must have been playing for however long she was out. She didn’t know the name of the band, but it was one of those songs that she had heard flipping through the “oldies” station.

The fact that she watched more of the Brandy Bunch than she would care to admit out loud was the only thing that helped her to identify what some of the items in this room were.

The first bodies she had actually seen were the two sitting in the bean bag chairs; most of the skin had fallen off of them but she could tell they were most likely females. She actually assumed all eight of the bodies she had found were females.

She had tried screaming and pounding on the door at the top of the stairs, but it had been barred from the other side.

She walked over to the fridge and opened it in the hopes of finding some water or anything to drink. Instead she found the parts of what she assumed was bodies nine and ten by the at least two heads on the top shelf.

She screamed again and closed her eyes, hoping this would all just go away.

After a time she made her way back to the couch. She lay down and pulled the afghan on top of her as if it would offer some kind of security or warmth.

She closed her eyes again, unable to block out the images of what was surrounding her. Each body, besides the pieces in the fridge, had been carefully set-up at the card table or the ping pong table to look as if they were playing a game.

She guessed this was what this was: a game.

When she had first met Norman, he seemed like the perfect guy. He was smart, funny, charismatic, and loyal. He made her feel like she was a princess.

She remembered on their third date when he told her that she was “So amazing he didn’t think he could ever let her go.”

That had been the warning and this was their fourth date.


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