It’s almost pitch black when his eyes open.
The only sound he can hear is the loud splash from the tiny drops of water hitting the bottom of a ceramic basin in the corner, as they slowly escape the rusty tap above it. He looks around, and realises he’s tied to the chair by the hands and waist. His feet feel heavy when he tries to move them, and when he looks down to see why, he spots the manacles and iron weights.
He can see these things only because there’s a sliver of light creeping in from under a door at the top of a flight of stairs. “Trapped in a basement”, he thinks to himself. He tries calling out, but not a sound escapes him. His throat is parched, lips dry. He can taste dried blood from where two of his teeth used to be.
He tries to call out again, managing a tiny whisper. Enough to catch the attention of something behind the stairs. A deep, slow growl emanates from the depths of the darkest part of the room; the creature it comes from starts stirring. The growling beast approaches him, and he can feel nothing but fear.
As if an answer to his sudden prayer for help, the door at the top of the stairs swings open with a bang, revealing a solitary figure. Tall, thin. Lots of ragged and wiry hair atop a head that seemed a little too small for the body it sat on. Something about this person sent a chill up his spine.
The figure moves, and the creature growls deeper. The climb down to the floor is a slow, almost painful one – the figure approaching has a bad leg, he notes despite the violent fear that has now gripped him. All of a sudden, he’s blinded by the almost sun-like glare from a bulb that’s illuminated right in front of his face. When his eyes adjust to the light, he wishes it never came on.
In front of him stands the most grotesque face he’s ever seen in his life. It’s barely human. The nose is half missing, seemingly torn off by an animal. The right eye is missing entirely, and the eyelids have been sewn shut in a gruesome and haphazard manner. Both ears sliced down to nothing more than the ear lobes. The hair is everywhere, frayed and white, but dirty and smelling of sweat and bile. The mouth is a horror worse than all the other monstrous features. The lips have been replaced by scars that run up the sides of the face to the earlobes, creating a disgustingly creepy permanent smile of morbid joy.
This is no man, he screams in his brain, nearly swallowing his own tongue in fright. His body starts shaking as the figure beckons the creature closer, silencing its eerie growls. The figure kneels and unlocks the manacles, then pushes the iron weights aside. His raw, bleeding ankles welcome the freedom they’ve just been awarded. The rest of the body tenses in preparation for something worse.
The creature begins to lick the blood on his ankles as the figure walks around him and starts to untie his hands and waist. The ropes have burned into his flesh, taking the skin off his wrists. He massages them gingerly, but this startles the creature, causing it to growl louder than before, and to bare its razor sharp fangs.
The figure raises a disfigured hand, silencing the creature once more. It sulks off to a corner while the figure fills a cup with water from the rusty tap over the ceramic basin. He takes the offered cup gratefully, the fear slowly sliding away. “It’s just an old man and his dog. They could be my way out of here if I behave”, he thinks.
“Come, boy. Can you stand?” the figure whispers at him. He nods, still unable to speak properly. He slowly rises to his feet, using the figure for support. He walks gingerly to the stairs, ignoring the growls coming from the corner of the room.
They climb together, the figure and he. One step at a time. The light goes out behind him as they reach the doorway. He’s led down a corridor into a poorly lit dining room, littered with napkins and cutlery. The table is set beautifully, but only for one person. He’s sat at the head of the table, with gleaming plates lined with gold and spoons of Sterling silver laid out in front of him. The figure pours out a shining red liquid into a goblet with the crest of a fork on it, and places it next to him.
“You must be hungry, boy. Would you like to eat now?”
‘Yes’, he nods, and reaches for a slice of bread and some roasted chicken. He was famished. He’d probably eat the creature that was growling at him in that basement if it were put on his plate at this point. He starts to chew, but he can’t taste anything. He tries to swallow, and chokes. He grabs the goblet and gulps down the shining red liquid, which slowly coagulates in his throat, choking him further. He falls off the chair, grabbing at his throat as things start to go black. He can hear a voice calling his name, he can see figures appear by his side. The room disappears in a sea of blackness, his throat now hurting as though something’s poking at it from within like a piece of cactus with all its spines covered in spines is lodged in there.
He tries to cough it up. Nothing.
He tries again. It moves.
He tries again with all his might. It flies up and out, along with all the sticky, coagulated blood he thought he’d been drinking as wine.
He’s fully awake now, and completely in shock.
The tooth file lies on the floor of the dentist’s office, covered in bile and blood. The dentist grabs him and asks if he’s alright, removing the protective mask with a smile on it from his face, as the nurse thrusts a glass of water into his hands growling at him for the mess he’s caused.
His ankles and wrists were bleeding from hitting the dentist’s chair while flailing under anaesthesia, his extracted teeth on the floor with the tray they were sitting on earlier lying next to them now.
Oh, how he hated going to the dentist.