My collection of free short stories. Because nothing else in life is free.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms – The Final Piece

Author’s notes: This is a serial fiction about kidnapped children who live like mushrooms in a child rapist’s basement. Please start reading at Piece 1 if you are new to this serial fiction, found here

Ryan had seen life leave through a person’s eye. He had captured it many times in his paintings. There was George who was punched repeatedly until he died. There was a girl named Yasmine or could have been Jasmine. She died only after three days. Uncle John grew tired of her screaming and didn’t want to waste capturing it on canvas, so he taped her up and cut her open from the bottom of her stomach up to the center of her breast while he raped her.

The closet held the shattered kids faces immortalized on stretched linen coated with gesso.

Ryan ran as fast as his trembling feet could take him. He held the ring of keys in his hand and opened the cage. The girl pushed him aside and she ran for her life. Ryan tried to yell at the girl but the words weren’t his. They belonged to a child who couldn’t talk. He tried to spit the words out of his dry mouth but it sounded like someone who had swallowed his tongue. He slowly found himself crawling up the steps and into the kitchen where daylight had pressed through the open front door.

He regained his balance as he pulled himself up using a wooden chair by the kitchen table and hobbled into the bedroom where Sam lied. She had died crushed by the weight of a horrible man who raped his way to happiness.

Ryan opened the closet door and there, his paintings of dead children hung. He walked into it with the strength he never knew he had, past the pictures of tortured souls. He could feel them staring at him, blaming him for their deaths. Their gagged mouths, their bleeding bodies and their tears all whispered the same blaming words.

At the end of the long walk-in closet was a picture frame. He had known it existed and thought countlessly about it’s location. He just knew it had moved here and he was right.

He held it in his hands and stared at the picture of his mother and father holding hands posing for the camera. They were visiting a theme park and Ryan looked so happy with a stuffed cat as big as his body and a large ICEE in his other hand. His face was stained with the red color of the drink’s dye. His Uncle was with them. His thumb snuck into the corner of the picture. It was Uncle John’s way of saying he was in the picture even though he wasn’t asked to be in it.

Advertisements

Mushrooms – Piece 12

Author’s notes: This is a serial fiction about kidnapped children who live like mushrooms in a child rapist’s basement. Please start reading at Piece 1 if you are new to this serial fiction, found here

Ryan had already explained to Sam how she would die and now she was living the horrid details. It first started with the illusion of leaving.

Uncle John had presented Jolene to the two kids that lived in the basement. Ryan sat with his many supplies in a little suitcase as Uncle John had helped Sam with her stuff.

She tried to make eye contact with Ryan but he never looked up into her eyes. She had convinced the boy that she loved him and had earned the privilege of knowing what would happen to her.

Ryan carried the supplies upstairs as Uncle John held Sam’s hand. They walked up the stairs and into the kitchen. The room was cold and well lit. It was a very bright room and smelled like the inside of a container of dish soap. Ryan had always thought it was quite weird how a man who seemed so gross could live in such a clean house. Near the table he could see the tiny hole that sent light into the dark basement and he somehow stopped in his tracks.

“Ryan!” Uncle John yelled. “Come on.”

He snapped out of his daze and move with him through the hall. Uncle John and Sam had entered the room ahead of him and had already begun removing their clothes. Sam was pale and weak, but seeing her naked body had aroused Ryan. He didn’t know what to do, he was embarrassed, yet Uncle John had noticed him stalling in the hallway and grabbed him. He pulled the boy into the bedroom where he sat on a chair and placed a freshly stretched canvas onto his easel.

When he turned around he could see Uncle John forcing himself into Sam. She laid quiet, she seemed like she was already dead. Uncle John turned to him and screamed, “Paint!”

But he couldn’t. He stared at the two as Uncle John had began to strangle the girl. She tried to stop him but she was weak.

Ryan had a brush in his hand. The end had been sharpened. He knew he didn’t do it. He didn’t have the guts to even try. Sam had created the key to their survival and with it he walked over to the bed.

He lifted it high in the air and placed it between the last neck flexor of the spinal cord where the shoulders meet the neck. Uncle John fell forward and onto Sam.

He noticed in those two seconds that she had already seemed dead. Her eyes were gray with death but instantly as Uncle John’s grasp opened, her eyes fluttered with life and then pain filled her as Uncle John’s three hundred pound body slowly fell on top of here like a slow toppling domino.

Next: Finale


Mushrooms – Piece 11

Author’s notes: This is a serial fiction about kidnapped children who live like mushrooms in a child rapist’s basement. Please start reading at Piece 1 if you are new to this serial fiction, found here

Life in a basement is horrible. With the lack of light and the already apparent dark, evil – shit, its just plain shit – energy, it left your body frail and pale. Uncle John did feed his captives, but they were lucky to get two meals a day. Usually a single meal consisted of cheap burgers and a handful of fries he had picked up picked up for himself but didn’t finish. Ryan had already grown weak and his body began to hurt in places he never imagined would hurt. It was if his organs wanted to give it, wanted him to die. He bleed from two different wounds, both from the day before but he was alive.

Sam smiled while painting crooked shapes, with all the best supplies Ryan had earned. He watched but he just wanted sleep to grip him at his neck so he could escape this reality.

Uncle John had returned for the day with their daily meal – fried chicken on the most flimsiest of paper plates. The grease had almost torn a hole in Ryan’s plate. His stomach hurt and as he twisted a drumstick to bite it he noticed someone had already beat him to it. There was no plate for Sam. Instead, she was taken upstairs to the kitchen where we could see her shadow cover the little bit of light that shined through the crack in the floor.

He could hear the quiet. The silence that plagued the room upstairs. It disappeared and was replaced by moaning and the rocking of the kitchen table. The porcelain plates danced and then they shattered on the floor and as if nothing happened, the table began to bang against the floor.

Three weeks. It took three weeks for Uncle John to become tired of her. The excitement was sublime for Ryan. He smiled in the dark as she was escorted down the stairs with a large red hand print on her face. A little drop of blood trailed down the side of her lips and as she was escorted back into her cage. Uncle John had pulled Ryan out of his cage and whispered into his ear.

Ryan looked at the girl who had changed considerably through the weeks, growing weak through the abuse. He didn’t realized that he had grown even weaker than her. When Uncle John left he dug through his paints and brushes and had found many bristles destroyed, overused and dirty. He let Uncle John know when he returned with more food that he needed better supplies if he wished for Ryan to prepare for her departure.

Uncle John had noticed Ryan’s disgusting presence. He resembled an old man who had been a zombie for two long. He was skeletal and ghost like and that disgusted Uncle John.

Sam sat quietly watching. Ryan could have sworn the words “I love you,” darted through the air towards Uncle John but either he didn’t listen or didn’t care.

Ryan waited three days for more supplies and he had already begun a new mural. Sam tried to talk to him, but he ignored her. She would be dead soon and he would witness it.

Uncle John didn’t take any of the two upstairs because he had already found a new captive to live with them her name was Jolene. Ryan liked Jolene. Sam now knew that she was going to die. Ryan had warned her that all this would happen.

Next: Piece 12


Mushrooms – Piece 10

Ryan sat alone in the dark wondering where Sam was and why she hadn’t returned.

His imagination ran wild. Was she dead? Impossible. Was she released? Maybe. Dead? No, that couldn’t happen yet.

The door opened and Sam returned. Uncle John placed her in her cage and after a long quite activity of climbing a ladder and changing the light, he let her out. Ryan was devasted.

Uncle John left the basement and Ryan watched as the girl grabbed a gallon of white paint and started to cover the mural.

“Stop! What are you doing?”

She turned around and smiled. “I’m getting out of here.”

“No your not.”

Sam just smiled and began to fill the basement with the smell of paint. Ryan just watched and then we he couldn’t take anymore he screamed. That’s all it took for Uncle John to come down. Click. Sch-click. Clickty-click-click. Click and click the locks went.

Sam heard Ryan say, “No,” before he left but it was already too late. Sam had figured a way to live longer.

Ryan stood in Uncle John’s bedroom in his white, dirty underwear. The room was quite large and Uncle John was fiddling with his large closet. He walked out and held a paddle in his hand. Three holes were positioned in a triangle formation at the end. It was crudely made, must have been older than Uncle John.

“I’m sorry,” the words seem to fall out of his mouth and disappear inches from his lips. He shivered in the coldness that blew through the vents and into the room. “I’m . . .”

“Ryan, my boy,” Uncle John said holding the paddle in his hand, swatting the inside of his hand with pleasure. “You know the rules,” and with that Ryan bent over the bed and Uncle John repeated brought the wooden relic down against his boney butt. Seven strikes, one had missed and struck heavily on his lower back. Uncle John whispered, “Don’t worry, you’ve always been my favorite.” Uncle John placed his finger on the inside edge of Ryan’s underwear and Ryan thought of the mural on the wall.

Seven mushrooms on a dirt path. One for every person he had seen die. Four were dedicated to the four girls he met and one for the other boy. Two were special. They were to his mother and father. He didn’t see them die, but he knew they were dead. He knew the must be since they would do everything in their power to save him, because they love him. He knew they loved him and held on to that idea when he lied on his side on the old cot in his cage.

His body hurt and his heart was torn. “Ryan,” Sam said through the bars. Ryan lied in silence thinking of his mural and his parents. He never got a chance to add another mushroom for Lorena. He hoped that soon he would be able to and maybe he would add Sam’s as well.

Next: Piece 11


Mushrooms – Piece 9

Rape is such an ugly thing. A man or woman steals something and leaves something more damaging in its place. The trauma is life changing and at best, hard to control. Ryan wouldn’t wish that on anyone, except maybe a person who had done it to someone.

Ryan was raped. Uncle John had raped him and had plans to continue to rape Ryan, but Ryan was strong enough to stay alive. He sought refuge in his artwork; it was the only reason he wanted to be alive. When that was taken away from him, he wanted to die.

He stared at his mural in the dark. He remembered every detail that plagued that wall. He imagined the mushrooms crying, hoping that Ryan would help them. “Ryan,” another mushroom said as she held onto the bars of her cage.

“I’m going to die here?” she asked.

“Yes,” Ryan said. He had explained in detail the scene that would take place upstairs.

Ryan had noticed a minuscule beam of light. It came from the room above. Must be the kitchen, Ryan thought to himself. The light disappeared and Ryan had realized it must be nighttime.

There were no clocks below the house. Many times it felt like time refused to be there. It was a place where even time didn’t want to exist.

Sam was awake. She rocked in her cot, while she held her knees to her chest. She was lost in thought, thinking of her friends and family. She wondered if Tommy Rosen would still want to date her. She wanted Tommy to love her and maybe one day marry her. They could have two, no three babies and two dogs. Her mother danced in her head as she twirled in the kitchen with her apron on, she missed waking up to the smell of bacon. The toast that awaited her at her plate would push the smell of butter into her nostrils and when she opened her eyes, she expected

Ryan drew with his mind and painted with his thoughts. Rainbows, grass and life he whispered to himself thinking of the butterflies that flew around the old tree and over the mushrooms. One stopped on a mushroom and flapped its wings as if it were staring back at Ryan.

Sam continued to daydream. Now she was thinking about having a baby. Perhaps Tommy would want at least one boy, she thought but the thought escaped her suddenly. “What if I’m already pregnant?”

“You’ll die before you find out.”

“Fuck you, Ryan.

“Fuck you and your fucking face. You know you are just as responsible,” she screamed.

The light upstairs shined through the tiny hole and moments, seven clicks later, Uncle John appeared at the door.

“What’s going on?”

The light remained off as Uncle John continued to flick the switch. He leaned back into the other room and kept trying the switch. He disappeared after several tries.

Ryan grew scared. Uncle John grew frustrated and when he was frustrated he would take it out on one of his captives. Please not me, Ryan thought.

He returned with a flashlight and stomped down the steps. “What the hell is going on down here?” he asked.

“I missed you,” Sam said. “I . . . Want you inside me.”

Ryan was shocked and confused. It was a weird sensation that made his face twitch. Sam was taken upstairs and, unlike before, she didn’t return.

Next: Piece 10


Mushrooms – Piece 8

“Amazing.”

“Quite remarkable.”

“I’ve never seen a little girl more frightened,” the man who wore a Louie Vuiton fedora said.

The art gallery was not a typical one. The walls were dark and dirty. It was part of the atmosphere at The Dirty Alley Art Gallery.

“It’s almost as if these scenes actually happened. You don’t torture your models do you?” the man laughed as he admired the girls form. “Amazing. How much?” he asked staring at a drawing of Lorena.

Uncle John stood in the alleyway between the art gallery and a small sandwich shop talking to the owner of the gallery. Two men helped protect the pieces that weren’t sold – which weren’t many – and placed them into the moving van to be taken back to Uncle John’s home.

The owner was a skinny man who always dressed in black like a full-time mime without the makeup. He even held a thin mustache between his upper lip and his nose and balanced it like a pencil. “Another great exhibit. I don’t know why you are holding back on planning your next one here. If you have another gallery in mind, I’m going to be upset,” he said as the pitch on his voice raised into a falsetto range.

“Well, I got something in the works. Something big,” Uncle John’s chubby arms opened wide into the air like a marshmallow man trying to hug a building. “I don’t think your gallery has enough room for me anymore. The Saleté has offered me more advertising and more room,” he said.

“Come on. The Saleté is dirt,” the thin stick man laughed. Saleté was french for dirt, something Uncle John never knew or cared about. The gallery owner was being witty but it had completely escaped Uncle John. How a man with such beautiful painting be so dumb, the owner didn’t understand.

“Let’s dicuss a deal then. I can offer you both large exhibition rooms and . . . and I will lower my display fee,” he offered.

Uncle John stared at the man and simply said he would think about it. He returned to his home and had the men unload the pieces in the garage. Uncle John then walked downstairs and escorted Sam upstairs by her hand. He held it delicately like she was a princess and took her upstairs to his bedroom. She didn’t struggle and for some reason he liked that. She was the first to seem okay with it as his stomach, full with moles and spots of brown hair bounced between her. He felt like she loved him back and when he was finished they kissed.

She was brought back downstairs, the light was bright and it had stung Ryan’s eyes. Uncle John refused to look at the boy in his cell. He needs to learn he thought to himself.

He left the room and locked the door and the clicking began. Ryan ignored them as he stared at the girl across from him and then he stared into himself and found nothing. That nothingness comforted him. Sam wish she could think of nothing but the thought of dying had swirled in her head all night.

Next: Piece 9


Mushrooms – Piece 7

Ryan’s eye was swollen. His leg hurt and it made it hard for him to stand. He decided to sleep instead. Many of his paintings and drawings were missing and scattered on the floor, which was typical. Uncle John always took his best pieces and left the rest, like a pig that only ate caviar. He thought it was strange that the nude he had painted was destroyed and left on the makeshift easel. He had seen Uncle John punch hole in it with his fist. The delicate stretched canvas was torn like the ends of a popped balloon.

“Sorry,” she said repeatedly.

“Sorry.”

“Sorry.”

He didn’t know Uncle John would do that to him. He placed his hands on the bars of his new caged room and stared at his art supplies across the room far from his reach.

“Sorry.”

He cried in secret as he sat on his cot. Uncle John returned, his face was red and he took a willing Sam upstairs. “Sorry,” Ryan said after she had left the room. She returned, her head hung with shame.

She looked at him and they stared at each other for what felt like hours until the bulb that swung had flickered and then died. He was sure she couldn’t see him lip the words “I love you”. He tried to see her in the dark and when he realized he couldn’t, he pretended he could. He imagined her smiling, happy to see him. He saw her beauty for what it really was – a work of art.

“Sam,” he said.

“Yeah,” she responded.

“Let me tell you what will happen to you. And maybe if I’m lucky he’ll do it to me too,” he said.

Next: Piece 8