I still didn’t get a response; the entire house was silent. I wandered around the first floor looking for Darren. There was no sign that he did any new work in the living room—the hallway was still missing its floorboards and most of the metal beams supporting the house still weren’t covered. The house was small, there weren’t many places where Darren could possibly be. I didn’t want to try and assume the worst just yet. As I was about to head back to the living room, my stomach let out a large growl, rumbling with a matching intensity. The feeling actually gave me an idea. I checked my wristwatch, noticing the time.
“Just a quarter past twelve. He must have gone to go grab lunch,” I assumed. I shrugged at the thought and took out my phone, pulling up the long chain of back-and-forth messages between me and Darren, “The fucker tried to sneak out and grab lunch without me.” I sent him a new text, telling him to grab me a sandwich from the nearest store he found. I watched my phone to see if he replied, but he didn’t. I didn’t pay much mind to it; if he doesn’t see my text, then I’ll just go out and get one myself.
I headed for the front door to grab some fresh air. Before I could open the door, I hear more things falling, sounding a bit far away. Immediately I was hesitant, throwing away the lunch theory. There were sounds going on, and Darren still wasn’t calling back out to me if I called out to him. I followed the sound and headed for the kitchen. Spilled across the floor was an entire tool box—bolts, nuts, various sized screwdrivers, wrenches, the works. Something happened here, and now Darren was missing. But where the hell were those sounds coming from? I walked back to the main hallway, trying to look for any more clues. When I looked down at the furthest end of the hall, I noticed that the door to the basement was broken, completely off its hinges and in pieces on the floor. At the very top of the step was a low-hanging light bulb, gently swaying back and forth. Even though I was a good distance away from the door, a strange burst of anxiety and paranoia hit me, my breathing seeming to get heavier the longer I looked.
Something doesn’t feel right here. Something happened here, but what? First, there was footsteps coming from the attic, next was the loud crash, and now Darren isn’t here.
Whatever was going on here, I needed to find out why it’s happened. As much as I didn’t want to, I made my way to the steps leading to the basement. When I got to the doorway, I leaned forward to get a look at the bottom. Aside from the light bulb just above me, the only other light was a flickering bulb at the bottom step, the steps in-between barely visible. I took out my phone and turned up the brightness, using the screen as a flashlight.
“Darren, you down here?” I called out again. No answer.
Having to see this through, I took a deep breath and descended down into the basement, each step creaking under my boots.
Copyright © 2019 by Luka Tatsujo