The Underground (Flash Fiction)

Here’s a piece of horror flash fiction about a pair of married urban adventures that go one step too far. It’s about 900 words and has an estimated reading time of 3.5 minutes. Let me know what you think!

The catacombs were wet, musty, and cramped. The passageways seemed to get narrower the longer we walked down them, and the lights dimmed. It was an odd feeling being down there, even for us, and possibly the most daring thing we’d ever done.

“Are you sure you don’t want to turn back?” I asked my wife, Nadine.

“I’m sure,” she replied, and I think I could see a mischievous smile on her face in the semi-darkness.

We liked to think of ourselves as urban adventurers. A few years ago, while we were still dating, we began by documenting all the street art and graffiti in the city, turning the result into a book. Surprisingly, the book was a smashing success. We were interviewed by numerous media outlets and became somewhat of a local sensation. Next, we created nighttime tours and expanded into ghost tours. The business thrived so much that we were able to quit our day jobs and devote ourselves full-time to adventuring.

Someone at a local dive bar had told us about an urban legend of catacombs underneath the city, and we knew we had to verify it. It was strange for such a thing to exist in an American town; we knew they existed in Europe and had toured them before. But America didn’t seem old enough to have something like it, but if we could discover it, it would be a smash hit.

But as we walked deep underground, both of us filming on our phones with flashlights in hand, I felt we had gone too far this time.

“Oh my god,” Nadine whispered. “Alex, come look at this.”

I fumbled my way forward toward here, and then I saw it. Behind a cage were stacks of skulls and what appeared to be skeletal remains.

“What the fuck?” I whispered. “How old do you think these are?”

Nadine’s voice betrayed excitement. “Centuries, probably. Probably older than America, going back to the colonies. Maybe even pre-dating that.”

“Wow,” was all I could muster as I stood there dumbfounded.

We documented the remains, and Nadine whispered enthusiastically about the discovery and all the money we’d make. We were already on the map, but, shit, this could lead to a Discovery channel special. I felt more cautious, thinking it could also lead to a federal investigation.

“Come on, Alex. Let’s keep going,” Nadine urged.

I nodded, reluctantly going on. The further we walked, the more we smelled an overpowering stench. It smelled of rotting meat, and I had to put my fingers over my nose at times because it was so powerful.

“What the fuck is that smell?” Nadine asked.

“I have no idea. But it’s putrid.”

 It was around this time that I knew something was off. We heard the sound of rattling like someone was shaking a cage. Then, we heard what sounded like a dying man moaning and crying. “What is that?” my wife said.

“We should turn around. This is bad news.”

“Someone may need our help.”

We kept going forward, and the cries grew louder. Finally, we could make out a voice pleading for help. “Hello?” Nadine called out. “Where are you?”

Finally, we arrived at the source. And when I saw him, the naked, withered man locked behind the cage, I vomited immediately.

“Who’s down here?” a deep voice called out.

Nadine and I froze, and we heard footsteps coming closer. Heavy footsteps and heavy breathing, and I imagined the monster or man it was coming from.

Amid the semi-darkness, a large, burly male figure appeared. Emerging from the shadows, I saw a wicked, scarred face with jagged teeth. He had a broad chest, wearing only overalls, barefoot. He was a huge, violent-looking man, and I could swear his eyes glowed red in the darkness.

“Who the fuck are you two? And why are you down here?”

We tried to apologize for our intrusion. Nadine began sobbing, and I think I pissed my pants. “No one knows of this place,” the monster said. “And no one enters but me. Your curiosity has gotten the better of you.”

The man grabbed Nadine by the hair and dragged her away. I tried to fight him off, but he slammed my head against the wall, and I quickly lost consciousness. I awoke naked in a cage, shivering in the cold, and my head throbbing in terrible pain.

I’ve lost track of how long I’ve been down here, and I haven’t seen Nadine since. The monster doesn’t feed me or communicate with me at all. I am a forgotten prisoner. Nadine may be alive, or he may have slaughtered her. I don’t know what’s happened. The only thing I know for sure is that I will never escape this place and will likely starve to death down here in the underground.

No one knows where we are, so they don’t know where to look for us. We lived a life of adventuring, but we took one last far too dangerous adventure. And we’ll never live to tell the tale.

The End


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