The small elevator creaked and shrieked as it continued along its rusty, metal wired path. The stench of rot, mold, and who-knows-what-else on the sides of the interior filled the cabin. The doors were rattling, slightly unbound due to rusting and withering caused by age. Worms crawled along the floor. Dank, foul wallpaper was spread over the cabin, barely covering the walls. Pieces of the ancient wallpaper tumbled down onto the ground, which had long since became nothing but a pile of dirt and leaves. The signal for the selected floor failed to register over a dozen times until Jamie practically smashed the button for the basement. It took what seemed like ages for the decrepit elevator to land in the basement, but eventually, the rusted and ruined doors slid open, emanating a sound like nails and forks on a chalkboard. A nasty smell unlike any other Jamie's experienced flooded into the elevator. Mucus? Excrement? Urine? It was indescribable, but luckily, Jamie was prepared. She slipped a WW1 style gas mask on, and the smell faded away. The gas mask only allowed pure fresh air to enter and discarded the putrid, molecularly larger, scent chemicals. Jamie stepped through, into the basement, which was pitch black. She fumbled around with her hand on the wall, looking for the light switch. She remembered that perfectly well, the two dialed light switch. It’s one of the clearest memories she can recall, messing with that second dial.
She’ll never make that mistake again.
Eventually, after almost cutting her hand clean open on some broken glass encrusted in spiderwebs, Jamie stumbled upon the light switch, and turned the first dial clockwise, illuminating the fetid and feculent lower floor. The yellow wallpaper was identical to that of the elevator’s, and the floor was in the same condition, practically evaporated, with only small wooden boards remaining. Mud, dirt, sand and even a few worms were smashed beneath Jamie’s feet as she took the first few clumsy steps into the now illuminated basement. Rotted and off-white fluorescent lights shone through all but the darkest corners of the rooms. mold and vines and spiders covered everything. Finally, Jamie got her balance and started breezing through the rooms. It was like trying to walk again. The chemistry sets and tables were knocked over and have been that way since the incident. No one ever bothered to lift them back up. There was no reason for it. Nobody but Jamie would ever have to go down here, and even that was uncertain.
“But that was in the past. This is now.” Jamie thought to herself. And now, she had to find him. She needed to.
Jamie stumbled into the small library room in the basement. Worms that coated the floor scurried as soon as Jamie entered. The books were tattered, worn, and destroyed by water damage. Just for fun, Jamie decided to lift one off its shelf, and take a gander at its withered pages. The small leather cover crumbled in her hands as she flipped open the book. The writing was illegible; destroyed and desecrated by mold, rot, fire, and water. Jamie, as not to disturb her environment and run into him prematurely, placed the ruined book back in almost the exact position it was once at rest in.
The books have no meaning now. Every scrap of information they once contained, the answers to some of life’s deepest questions and the culmination of nearly all of human evolution, completely violated and extirpated. But Jamie knew this wasn’t a search for the information he had, it was a search for him. She walked past the tattered and withered bookshelves, and the mold and fungal infection they held, right to a small computer. Jamie pressed her finger against the ‘ON’ button, only for the computer to remain in its deactivated state. Afterward, she went around the backside of the computer and carefully opened it. The screws were removed a long time ago. The back hatch was only holding on by a thread that was once a strip of tape. Out of the compartment in which the circuits and wires were held, a long black rat snake slithered out, frightening Jamie. She jumped back, her weight breaking one of the loose, weak wood boards. The snake hissed and screamed before slithering quickly away into another room. After calming down from the shock she experienced, Jamie slowly crept around back once more, to find that the snake had merely nestled itself into the wires and circuitry, carefully avoiding the delicate, metallic interior of the computer’s tower. Jamie blew on the circuitry, as she used to do with her old game cartridges that her father had bought her. Surprisingly, it worked, and as Jamie pressed her pale, ungloved finger against the ‘ON’ button, the computer jolted to life.
Jamie knew that spending time at the computer was a waste, but she was desperate for any information she could find on him. Jamie scavenged the files and programs of the dilapidated old machine. It was once surprisingly organized, at least on its digital desktop interface. The light blue light pierced Jamie’s eyes as she scrolled through hundreds, if not thousands of random, assorted documents full of nothing but gibberish text. Eventually, she stumbled upon a file with legible text:
“I can't do it anymore. She's left me. She said she'd stay with me. I'm ending this, and if I go in the process, so be it. The worms in my brain...”
Jamie was utterly confused and astonished at the same time, feeling some emotion that beforehand, was never experienced by any human before. What did he mean by ‘I’m ending this’? What was he ending? Who’s left him? What worms in his brain? She couldn’t recall. All memory of him was completely lost. “But, now’s no time to scavenge for what happened to him.” Jamie thought to herself. “No time to search for what happened. We need to find him, himself.”
She brushed aside the computer, leaving it on, and she continued on her way. The few floorboards remaining creaked beneath her bare feet as she slowly trotted her way through the rooms that made up the withered and yellowed basement. She passed by chemistry equipment, now broken and shattered. When Jamie attempted to straighten it, a loud noise startled her, sending her collapsing back before stabilizing herself on the rotted dirt floor. She immediately checked around, for any source of the noise before giving up, and walking into the next room.
The next room turned out to be exactly where she started from. Her whole venture was for nothing. She had only walked in a circle. The elevator made disgusting noises as she passed by. This place was a maze. Jamie could only go in one direction and pray she made it somewhere. Pray to herself, pray to the universe, and pray to The Lord of the Seraphim. She chose to go left this time, as going forward led her back to where she started from. This place was a labyrinth. Without him to guide her, she’d be as lost as she was when the accident happened. It was a miracle she remained unscathed.
It was surprisingly much cleaner going to the left. The vines on the walls reached a point on the left side on which they couldn’t go farther. The fluorescent lights were less yellowed, and the wooden floorboards were more plentiful, no more dirt floor and the worms that once abundant in the rooms before her were now missing. This was not to say the left side was not dirty. It was still incredibly filthy and hadn’t been treated in years. It was also much colder, and the air reeked of blood. Jamie didn’t come prepared for what was to come either. She was wearing not but a gas mask, a t-shirt and a pair of jeans. Her feet and hands were bare. The hallway emanated dread. Dread not felt in the previous hallways. Dread of an unknown and unbeforeseen atmosphere. A faint memory reminded her why she was here. Jamie fought the urge to turn around, and eventually won the battle, continuing through the yellowed hallway. This just seemed like the right path. But, after what seemed like ages, she reached the end of the hall.
Her left foot indented the withered floorboards slightly, as she used her right foot to crush a worm that was pestering her.
“Something’s off…” she thought to herself, and she would be correct, as when she turned around, a thousand eyes glared back at her.
Jamie spiraled backward. “What… what is this thing?” Piles upon piles of bone and flesh, adorned with shards of broken glass and fragments of wood sewn on to it, like the aftermath of a reckless child playing with power tools. Hands and limbs jutted out of the flesh-coated mess, frenziedly twitching and leaping all over the walls, searching for something to grab or take hold of. A mouth, as wide as Jamie’s entire body snarled and slobbered strange blue mucus. The abomination slowly dragged its pathetic body across the ground, in the direction of Jamie. It’s thousand eyes dilated, as the eyes slowly popped out of their sockets, one by one, leaking copious amounts of blood and that strange blue mucus. A walking (or in this case) crawling and creeping, wall of segmented flesh. Strange, garbled words emanated from the creature’s multiple randomly oriented orifices.
A monstrous worm.
“Ex ten ebbras, et pree uehat tamm luch iss. Illuminans cere ah spire a menta lie nunt altiss immis tenn ebbras, et umbra terga dat secretorum scrute attores.”
Jamie slowly backed up against the wall as the amalgamation of limbs and sinew twitched and creeped toward her. This was her end. This was it…
A low growl emerged from the maws of the beast as it slowly shambled its way to Jamie, slow tendrils of sinew, muscle and veins slinked across the walls, encircling her, like worms crawling across rocks. Even looking at the creature in question was agonizing torture of the highest degree. A pool of blood flooded the floor below Jamie’s feet. The smell of smoke and of ammonia filled the air. Just then, Jamie slipped and fell down in the blood-soaked floor as the abomination finally touched her extended legs. It was cold. So cold. The monstrosity lowered what could be considered its head, down to Jamie as it opened a mouth, releasing a breath of near-freezing air, blowing off Jamie’s gas mask and revealing rows upon rows of teeth. The world seemed to be spiraling beneath Jamie’s feet. The monster slowly bends down, its teeth clamping down to its gums, and seems to make a kissing motion at Jamie. From there, its mouth opened once more.
“You’re only destroying what you came here to save.”