The dark room smelled like muddy, rusty iron. It was hot in the room despite how cold the darkness made her feel inside. Her space had a small room with a working toilet and a simple shower stall. At first the dripping shower head was annoying but over time she began humming to its rhythm. She hoped someday it would be less of a drip and more of a flood and she would be discovered. There were no mirrors so she had long ago forgotten what she looked like. She knew she was blonde because normally the room had a small lamp lighting her space but it burned out some time ago. Nowadays these are the kind of things she prayed for, a new light bulb so she could read again. She knew from experience it would be an unanswered prayer.
She spent most of her days listening to the family that lived upstairs. They were a lively bunch. Their family fun nights were her favorite because they were a comedic family. She often wondered if they even knew she could hear them. Apparently the brick wall that replaced the only door in or out of the room allowed her to hear them but kept them from hearing her.
She remembered her dad used to work hours in this basement. He used to clean the game he brought home after his hunting trips and sometimes he let her help. She could clean pretty much anything he ended up bringing home. Her brother often got jealous of the time dad spent with her. He didn’t like hunting or blood. He was several years younger and spent more of his time in the kitchen helping mom.
She loved this room and the bond she shared with her dad. For her 10th birthday he built a bookshelf and filled it with books he got from and old school. She spent hours sitting in a make shift fort reading books listening to her dad hum. In those days there was a window that lit the room in natural light but it was long ago hidden along with the door.
The screams and mournful cries are long ago a memory. She used to spend most of her time in this room remembering that one day. After some loving hugs, some medicine and a kiss on the forehead she was left in bed with a high fever. Her dad went hunting and her mom and brother went out to harvest the garden. She doesn’t remember getting up or the walk down the stairs to the basement but she remembers standing in the middle of her daddy’s workbench. She was always fascinated with the gut hook knife he kept in a can hanging above the workspace. She loved seeing the natural light glisten off the blade her dad kept so clean. The next moment her mom screams from the doorway knocking her off-balance.
She remembers her mom screaming, her dad crying, her body being taken away and the room being blocked off. Sometimes she found herself getting angry that her dad closed off the room and stopped coming down to work…to keep her company. She spent years piecing together those last moments but in time she learned to remember it as if it was a movie that was fading from memory. Now she was just a ghost bound to the place she will always know as home.