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I never liked living in this house.

It's an old, run-down "fixer-upper" that my foster parents bought for a couple grand on Craigslist. My older sister and I used to live in an upscale apartment when our biological parents were still in the picture, although I don't remember much of it. I only recall that it was pretty high up in the building, and that it was much more hospitable than the glorified shack we live in now. I was five back then, so it's not exactly fresh in my head. (I'm 15, by the way.)

Let me put it to you in the most accurate way possible:

It looks totally abandoned, for one thing. Picture a haunted house on the top of a hill, and you've pretty much got it. There's a reason we don't get any mail, and it's because nobody else knows we're here.

Once, when my sister and I were playing tag on the front porch, a neighbor called the cops on us because she thought we were trespassing. I doubt anyone in town realizes we live on this property.

The floorboards are completely warped, and they either creak loud enough to shatter glass or give out altogether when you step on them. Half the wooden pillars that make up the structural integrity of the house are either rotten or infested with termites, or both.

And then there's the house's foundation, which has thousands of gaping holes in it and is slowly sinking into the ground.

If there's one benefit to being here, it's that our foster parents spent all their money on expensive furniture and appliances. We've got a flatscreen TV in here, and we even have one of those Google Home things. So at least they care enough to do that.

But that's about the extent of their caring. They go out every other day to do some sort of business in the city, which probably involves something illegal. So my sister and I are alone almost all the time.

Which brings me to today. You see, my sister is 18, and I think teenage hormones have been a bit unkind with her. She's completely and utterly unbearable to be around. She's arrogant and impulsive, and she resorts to violence whenever I step over my boundaries in the household. I mean, sometimes she's nice, but only if I'm really, REALLY submissive. Compared to the happy little girl that used to play tag with me on the porch, she's a completely different person.

And I think the hormones have also been affecting her eating habits, because she's pretty overweight for her age. Which leads me onto the events of this evening.

We were in the backyard, roasting hot dogs over a bonfire that we'd constructed when she was in a more lighthearted mood. The mosquitoes were just beginning to come out, and the sky was darkened with gray clouds. My sister was lying on the ground, texting with a friend, and I suggested we go inside for the night before it started to rain. I was walking towards the back door of the house when I noticed a large hole in the concrete foundation, just below the stairs. It was about a foot and a half in diameter, and it was just visible above where the foundation was sunken into the ground. I'd never noticed it before. I'm not even sure it had been there before that day. Of course, I was plenty familiar with the numerous cracks that riddled the outside walls, but this one seemed... off.

I peered inside, looking to see if it led to our cellar. However, it was completely black, and I couldn't see anything. To be sure, I opened the entrance to the cellar and turned on the lights. As I'd suspected, the walls of our basement didn't border that side of the house. I exited the cellar, leaving the lights on, and, sure enough, the hole was still dark,and showed no sign of a connection to the house.

There was definitely a space behind it. I could feel cool air coming from inside, and I could hear the wind venting into it. Curious, I crouched down and called out, "Hello?". It reverberated eerily across the chamber, and I realized this space was a lot bigger than I'd thought. Chunks of concrete lay on the grass next to the hole, as if something had broken it from the inside. I was about to turn away when I heard, faintly, the skittering of something on gravel. I looked back, but still couldn't make anything out. Maybe it was a groundhog or raccoon, I thought. I hoped.

At this point, my sister had gotten up and seen what I was doing. She strolled over to me, clearly impatient for me to get inside.

"What the fuck are you looking at?" she shouted at me. I cringed. Up until a few years ago, the thought of my sister swearing was as much of an impossibility as the sun setting in the east. She had been one of the friendliest kids in our old neighborhood, and one of the best students in school. Seeing the hulking brute that stood before me made me wish for those times again.

"I found a hole in the house," I replied.

"Big whoop. Our entire house is made up of holes."

"No, but this one leads somewhere." I pointed to the gap, which, looking back on it, was tempting fate.

She approached it, clearly unimpressed. "Wow. Amazing. An old house has a big hole in it." She clutched my wrist. "Now, come on. It's gonna start raining any second now."

Suddenly, a scraping noise rang out from the darkness. We looked at each other, clearly confused.

"Probably some of the floorboards falling in," she said. "Or an animal or something trapped down there."

And then we heard, just barely over the rushing of the wind, a very distinctive, very human sound.

"That's... crying," I whispered. "Someone's crying down there."

"HEY!" my sister yelled into the pitch darkness. "Who's in there? I don't know if you're some hobo or whatever, but you need to go!"

The darkness responded with a deep wail, barely audible. It sent chills down my spine. She had a worried look on her face, the first time I'd seen that from her.

"You sound like a little kid. Are you lost? Did you run away from somewhere?" She shoved me aside and bent down to peer into the gap, her shirt riding up her torso. But, this time, there was complete silence. We looked at each other once more, this time with an obvious sense of trepidation.

"What should we do?" I asked. She got out her phone and turned on its flashlight, turning it towards the darkness. Thunder rumbled in the distance.

The light was able to illuminate a small portion of the space inside. We could see the pipes running through the floor, most of them rusted and dented beyond repair. Insulation covered almost every wall, crawling with insects. Layering the ground below was a thin sheet of gravel, which was peppered with nails and screws from the disintegrating house. It stretched a long way to the left and right, and there was a substantial drop on the right, where the ground descended into an inky black chamber.

Suddenly, thunder boomed from directly overhead. I yelled, startled, and my sister dropped her phone, which skittered across the gravel and into the hole.

"Son of a bitch!" she shouted. "You asshole, you scared the shit out of me!" She turned away, looking at her phone, which had its flashlight facing upwards, light shining on the ceiling space. I could tell where this was going, but before I could react, she had already crawled forward into the small gap. Inevitably, her girth soon prevented her from moving forward. The opening was completely swallowed by her figure. I could see her legs trying to grasp for leverage on the muddy ground, but it was hopeless, and soon she had stopped trying.

"Want me to pull you out?" I yelled through my cupped hands. There was no response.

"I SAID, do you want me to pull you out?" If she had responded, I couldn't have heard.

"Okay, I'm pulling you out." I grabbed her leg and prepared to tug, but was met with a swift kick in the jaw. "Kick the ground with both feet if you can hear me!" I shouted into the wall. After a minute of no movement, I could tell the insulation was preventing sound from traveling through.

I ran into the house and grabbed my phone from my room, and sent a message to her phone, asking whether she was okay. I ran back outside, where it had just begun to rain. A sense of relief washed through me as I received a reply:

am ok was abel to reach phone

I texted back: can u get out?

She responded: no im wedged in here im such a fat fuck

This was the first time I'd heard her mention her weight, much less feel ashamed about it. I was tempted to mock her for all the crap she'd given me, but I realized that I had more important things to focus on. The rain poured down my head as I typed back.

can u still hear whoevrs in there?

ye its comin frm the right side i think

i can try to pull u out

k do it its creepy in here fuck whoever is over ther i want out

I grabbed her legs one more time, flinching instinctively, but then realizing that her kicking me wouldn't help her situation. I tugged as hard as I could, but no matter how hard I strained, she wouldn't budge. I notified her of the situation: not wrking try sucking in & pushing from inside

i WAS sucking in and i cant the gravel is 2 loose

This was beginning to look like a futile effort. I was about to head inside and call our foster parents for help, but then I remembered that they hadn't paid the phone bill in weeks. A boom of thunder rang out, causing me to jump a little. I considered leaving her there, and waiting until she had burned enough off to get out on her own. But then she sent a text:

theres a scraping sound coming closer

Now I was truly scared. What if the person was luring us down there, like some sort of serial killer?

i dont care what u do. break the wall or something just get me out!!!

I didn't know what to do. There was no way she was getting out of there without making the gap larger, but I didn't know if we had anything capable of cracking the concrete. I ran into the cellar and began frantically rummaging through the tool shelf.

its getting louder

As I scavenged the shelf, I cut myself on a rusty screwdriver. The pain was searing, and I knew it was in danger of being infected, but I ignored it and continued searching.

please get me out now

Desperately, I dropped the box I was holding and began typing.

can u see anything if u shine ur lite

Leaving blood smeared on the screen, I lifted away another toolbox and finally found a sledgehammer. I heaved it over my shoulders and ran outside, rain beating down on my face.

no but its getting closer

I ran to my sister's wedged form and thrust the hammer into the wall, cracking it loudly. She kicked the ground, trying desperately to free herself.

pls let me out go to the nieghbrs hous & call 911

I didn't want to leave my sister alone. With a final swing, a chunk of the foundation came off, coming to rest on her back. It allowed a little more room, but not enough to get her out.

PLEASE HELP

Exhausted from lifting the heavy sledgehammer, I strained my arms and swung it over my back once more. However, the rain caused it to slip from my hands, coming down hard into the mud. I texted frantically:

im trying just hold on for a few more mins!!! r u ok?

There was no response.

hello?

Again, no response. Thunder boomed from far away.

r u ok pls ansr

I was just about to pick up the sledgehammer again when I received a reply after an agonizing two minutes:

i can hear crying infront of me

I thrust my arms upward sharply, a blinding pain flowing through my back. I couldn't hold it any longer. I dropped it and began pulling my sister as hard as I possibly could, feet dragging in the mud.

IM TRYING JUST PUSH OUTWARDS

its stopped

I hesitated. Had the person given up? I let go of her legs, wondering if I could make it to a neighbor's house, explain who I was, and convince them to let me use their phone before they changed their mind. I decided it was worth the risk. I stood up, shielding my face from the downpour, and began trudging my way towards the nearest house.

I texted, im going to get help, turning back and looking at her, as if there was a chance she'd gotten out on her own.

And what happened next was horrifying.

I thought it was just my imagination at first, but I realized she had actually begun to inch her way into the hole. But, as I saw her legs kicking as she moved forward, I realized she wasn't doing it. As her figure was squeezed forward, I could see the concrete digging into her stomach, causing streams of blood to pour from the folds. Then, it stopped, reaching a point where she could go no further. Nothing happened for a moment, and I wondered whether I should go back and try to help her further.

And, within that second of hesitation, I watched as my sister's body twisted violently in its prison, sending out a spray of blood and forcing her instantly into the space, disappearing into the blackness.

It happened so quickly I could barely react. One second she was wedged there, and a split-second later she had been pulled into the hole. It was like a cork flying out of a champagne bottle.

And, as I stood, frozen with fear, I could hear her screams echoing from inside the chamber, growing fainter, fainter, fainter... and then fading into nothing.

Nothing but the pitter-patter of the rain on the grass.

This happened one hour ago.

I'm still standing here, in my yard. I think I'm in shock.

And I don't know what to do.

...

Whatever took her wasn't human. I'm sure of that. No person could have pulled her with that ferocity.

I don't want to go back in the house, but I'm dangerously close to getting hypothermia out here.

My back is in too much pain to run to the neighbors'.

I have to go into the house. I have no choice.

And I will.

But I think I'll wait for the storm to stop first.

...

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