This weeks story is dark, cold, and creepy. The tragic effect of a power outage in winter, and the story of someone who has no where else to go. This is the story of Margaret, and I don’t want to give anything else away, but this is the kind of story that ends up in criminal minds… So reader beware.
Margaret knew if there had been any light at all in the basement she would be able to see her breath. The blackout that started, what felt like days ago, had gone on long enough that the cold weather had seeped in from outside.
She had assumed it was winter from the dryness of the air, but there were no windows in the basement, and no calendar on the wall. She couldn’t say for certain how long she had been in this room, this single room that had become her entire world.
She bundled herself up the best that she could, and she waited, desperately hoping that Greg would come back soon. Greg’s arrival was always something that she looked forward to, and dreaded in equal measure. He was the only person she ever saw, and with a variable schedule she never knew he would be coming back. He also brought food when he came, filled the fridge and and the freezer, brought her new clothes, puzzles, toys, and books. Greg was the only thing that was keeping her sane down here.
Greg didn’t come without his downsides though. He was short tempered, violent, and lustful. The combination left him unpredictable, and her usually limping when he finally left.
Now she didn’t care about the pain, all she cared about was the darkness. She had thought she had seen the worst of this place with it’s isolation and boredom, but the lack of light made it unbearable. The good news was, tht the low temperature would stop the food in the fridge from spoiling. Leaving on the tap had guaranteed that the pipes wouldn’t freeze, so she would have water, but the temperature was beginning to concern her.
She had already started loosing feeling in her extremities, and while moving around warmed them for a short time, at some point she would fall asleep. As the time passed she could feel the heat draining from the space, from her, taking what little energy she had. The cold water she drank chilling her from the inside, and she flinched with every sip.
She didn’t dare sleep, not knowing how cold it really was, going to sleep might be the last thing she ever did. She didn’t yell, or scream, or cry, there was no point. She had gotten that out of her system years ago, when she thought she still had a chance of leaving this basement.
Now the idea of leaving the basement frightened her. The world changed so fast, she wasn’t sure what she would be walking out into, and if they hadn’t found her by now, it wasn’t likely anyone would any time soon. That meant that walking out of here would be Greg’s choice, and she knew that it wouldn’t end well for her.
She wasn’t the first to be down here. If she hadn’t been tipped off by the lingering scent from the worn clothes she was given, the scratches on the walls, or the well worn groove along the floor at the end of her chain, the names on the underside of the bed would have given it away. There were two, each with a date beside them, and a dash, with no end written. She filled those in, she recognized the names after all, from the missing reports, from the coroners reports.
It’s how she knew hat she had been here longer than either of them, than both of them combined actually. She wondered what they had done, what had happened that had made him want to replace them so soon, and yet keep her all this time. Her eyes drifted shut, and then popped open. She wished she knew how many years it had been for sure, that he wasn’t just making up Christmas to throw her off, but now with the cold she was pretty sure the cycles of humidity and dryness had been winter and summer after all, and if that was true, she had been down here for 7 years. Her refection in the toaster had showed that time had not been kind to her, and she didn’t check it often, but now in the darkness she wished she could see it, just one last time.
All to soon it grew colder even faster, and her eyes spent more time shut than open. Greg wasn’t going to make it in time, maybe whatever storm that had taken the power was keeping him away. Maybe he was in the accident, the one that took out the power. She wouldn’t know though.
She took a deep breath in, and as she let it out, she let it all go, and stopped fighting. She pulled off the blankets, laid on the cement floor, and let the cold carry her off to sleep. If she was lucky, this would be the year that her family finally got closure. She would let go, so that they could let go too. Really, it wasn’t the worst way for this to end.