Speculative Fiction – The Capture

The Milpara Creative Writers weekly theme for this very short story was: the hidden.


The Capture


Down into the depths of the dank, dark dungeon he went, into a void as black as the bottom of a burnt out barbeque.  Rusted sides of rudely formed, crudely formed cement and iron, carved out staircase sloping.  Leading left, then right and coming to a stop. Blank faced wall. At one side an iron ring sitting like a silent sentry, hung from the middle of a splintered, wooden entry.  It turned on its hinges, creaking like a groan from the tortured soul of a gaunt giant;  echoing along the cold, mouldy corridor;  bouncing back, unbidden.

No light, just one feeble ray from the sun fighting its way through dust motes, trying to make entry like fingers exploring, seeking but not finding; barely illuminating ill-filled space.  Rats racing, clinging to corners, hiding in the darkness, searching for crumbs but finding not one.  Squeaking with rage, ribcages wrapping empty stomachs, long tails dragging in defeat they retreat.

Going into the gloomy space of a cell no larger than a cage, barred and bare, but for a bundle in one corner.  It looks like a crowd of creeping cockroaches!  He halts.  How to approach?   The bundle rose slightly, and then slumped to the floor.  No!  Surely this isn’t what I came for! 

As he moves away he hears it: a low murmuring, coming from the beastly bundle in the corner, soft and low at first, then swelling; compelling.  He turns towards the sound.  What is this thing he’s found?  Not what they told him!  A man, I will behold him if I can!  Two steps forward, one back and stumbles, tumbles down to the slimy muck filled floor; face first he falls.  He shakes his head, flicks his hair, droplets flying everywhere.

A dry laugh from the bundle rises into a high pitched cackle.  He speaks a word: beware,the voice rasping with the rattling rale of a dying man.

Chains clink.  A hand from behind grasps his wrist and fits the cold iron shackle.  He’s been bettered, now he’s fettered to the wall.

The bundle subsides, back into its corner slides.


Shirley Chalmers


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