The prompt at Writer's Island this week is Secret.
As a child, I was drawn as if by an invisible thread down to the cellar which was a place of secrets. Cold stone walls with damp dripping down, dim light and silence, just a single bare bulb hanging from the ceiling… cobwebs of course, and the smell of mushrooms musty with age and decay. My skinny arms struggled to lift the button cover I found high up on of the walls, for I knew with my child’s perception that the cover must hide a secret. I laid the cover down on the floor, and stared into the dark space behind it… what was inside the space? I had to find out - there was no two ways about it. Searching round the cellar I found a small ladder, which I used to climb up and enter into the Black Hole… I wasn’t frightened, just intrigued to know what secrets the space held.
There was no room to stand or even sit up - I was forced to wriggle on my belly into the darkness… there was a brick roof immediately above my head and as I stretched my fingers, I could feel more bricks separating the space into different areas. It was all very strange… especially because I couldn’t see a thing… only feel the bricks and the soft cobwebby substance which covered the bottom of this space along which I wriggled… my greatest fear was that my groping fingers would make contact with a dead rat or some other horrible corpse, perhaps even human. As I wriggled further and further away from the opening, deeper into the foundations of the house I became a little anxious that I would be unable to breathe in such an atmosphere of decay and secrets, for the cobwebby substance began to fill my lungs. This place, this dark space of secrets … I began to panic, though at the same time I just wanted to go on, to go further and stay down there forever, to stay far away from the old mundane life at school. I wanted to stay down there where there was always a secret to be found… I didn’t want to return. Yet at the same time I knew that I had to, I had to turn round if I wanted to stay alive and breathe.
So eventually I retraced my wriggling movements back to the dark opening back into the cellar. It was impossible to tell exactly how long I had been inside the foundations, for time had ceased to have any real meaning since I’d entered the Black Hole. As I climbed carefully down the ladder and stood there, brushing the cobwebby substance from my T-shirt and jeans I knew that the secret in the cellar would have to remain. With my skinny arms I lifted the wooden cover reluctantly and replaced it over the entrance to the foundations. I turned away, leaving the secret safely stored away from prying eyes.