Donnerstag, 12. November 2009

The man in the basement

Two years ago I started keeping the man in the basement. It started out as an opportunity. One cold winter night there was this hobo in our street, knocking on people's doors and asking for a place to crash. Well, most people wouldn't let strangers into their homes. Fear of being robbed or raped or killed. I am not afraid, but I didn't let him sleep in my house, either. Or at least not in the above-ground part of the house. I offered him my basement, though.

And that is when it all started. The next day, I simply didn't let him out. I don't know why exactly. It somehow just happened. I kept feeding him and giving him water, and he would beg to be set free again. But outside it was dark and cold, and he surely was better off here with me.

I started conducting small experiments. When the lightbulb broke down, I didn't give him a new one. So he didn't have any light at all. I started experimenting with diets for him, and I decided to call him Frank. For a week or so, I let water drip on a metal plate right in front of the basement door. The sound was audible even upstairs in my bedroom. Frank showed no reactions.

From time to time I would also provide him with water and soap for a bath. I spoke to him and ignored his pleads. I bought a chemical toilet when the stench became too bad.

No one missed Frank.

Probably no one even remembered Frank.

I know for sure that there was no police anywhere in our area looking for a lost hobo. So it was good he had me at least.

Some time ago Frank started behaving strange. He would bang together his food and water bowls hour after hour, singing nonsense songs or talking in a language I don't know. Some days he would jump at the door like a mad tiger, forcing me to keep him away from the sunlight using a long pole or a shovel.

And yesterday he stopped making any sound at all. I wonder what he is up to. Or if something happened to him. He was very old, after all. It's a sad thought. I always liked having him around me.

Maybe I can bury him in the garden.

I wonder where I will get a new one.


Anonym hat gesagt…

Great opening, got me straight into the story. The innocence of this mad torturer is perfect too. S/he seemed very reasonable.

Deb hat gesagt…

Wow. Like jimdempsey, I thought you had a great opening that drew me into the story. You could draw this out quite a bit -- develop it into a longer story, a novella or even a novel. I wanted to see more details on the interactions between captor and captive. Show me more :)

Magaly Guerrero hat gesagt…

I didn't see that end coming. I guess I was waiting for a happy ending or something... different. Great job! I love when a writing takes me surprise ;)

Jon hat gesagt…

Ugh this gave me chills! I was totally creeped out when Frank started talking in the strange language.
Excellent story!