The Outside Light

A trapdoor attached to a redwood floor.
A trapdoor attached to a redwood floor.
Evan Soukup via (Wikimedia)

(Content warning, this story is for mature audiences and contains some implied violence, implied human trafficking, suggestive drug use, depictions of gore, and implied abuse)

The Outside Light

The echo of chains shackle my wrists to the wall in a frigid, forlorn underground chamber. The walls are made up of an impenetrably numbing stone. Red wood planks line the empty foundation of the room. The silence pierces my ears, and blood streams out of my gaping wounds; like a broken faucet flowing down my body, into a puddle of despair. The crimson blood seeps into the once mahogany painted floor. Creaking fills the room, as a dark shadow steps into the faint light. My vision is fuzzy, and I hear heavy thuds against the wood, splashing in the blood that has lightly covered the foundation below me. A voice started to speak to me from outside the room.
“Wake up! Wake up!”
I was awoken by one of my 12 younger siblings; I caressed my wrists to feel nothing there. I leaned up and looked around. I had been still in the basement, Father’s basement. My siblings and I had all lived together in his basement. While he wasn’t our biological dad, he was our caretaker, so we had practically viewed him as such. All we ever knew was that basement, and the scarcely carpeted floors, with walls made of a yellow plaster. From a trapdoor, he gave us food, and toys; watching us with cameras to “ensure our safety”. For our entire lives he never stepped foot in the basement, his face remaining a mystery. He tried raising us the best he could, until he found someone willing to adopt us. We were all fairly young, with my eldest brother just turning 13. His name is Devin, he was like a big brother to us. I was the second oldest, being 11. Despite us not knowing what was out there, we were fairly happy.

I heard the trapdoor opening; as it made a large creaking noise, all of my siblings ran under it, to listen to what Father would say.

“How have you all been?” Father’s voice calmly asked.

Devin spoke up for us in a soft voice, “We’re doing well, thank you. What brings you here today Father?”
“That’s good, I’m glad. But Devin, I’m actually here for you. I found a family willing to adopt you,”. Upon hearing Father, Devin looked as if he was feeling a variety of emotions. “They’ll be coming very soon to pick you up, so say goodbye to all of your siblings before you leave.” Father said abruptly.

The trapdoor closed slowly, as Father’s footsteps drifted away. I looked at Devin, and stepped towards him to try giving some comforting words.

“Congrats, Devin, you can finally live a real life, explore the outside world. I’m happy for you, congratulations” I exclaimed softly.

He looked at me and smiled at me, slightly nodding his head. He turned around and walked to our other siblings.

“Your big brother is going to have to leave soon, but don’t worry. I’ll come back to visit you all.” Devin optimistically proclaims.

I couldn’t help but smile. He always gave off such a bright and cheerful aura, it was hard to be gloomy around him. However, something about him seemed off. He looked as if he was afraid; that his reassuring smile was being forced.
As he stood there saying his goodbyes, I heard Father’s footsteps above us once more. The trapdoor creaked, and a long wooden ladder was lowered to the basement floor.

“They’re here, are you ready for your new home?” Father inquired.

“Of course Father,” Devin looked at us siblings,“Goodbye everyone, I’ll visit someday when I’m an adult.” said Devin nervously.

He turned and faced the ladder, grabbing the first rung he started climbing. I hoped his new family would allow him to visit us. Before he fully finished his climb, his face changed to one of terror; although he continued his climb. The ladder was dragged upwards after Devin finished climbing. We all watched the trapdoor close and some of my siblings started to sob. But I wasn’t really saddened by it. I was more curious about what he had seen, what shook him so much. Some of the older siblings started to console the younger ones, though I still couldn’t help the curiosity of what caused his expression, which festered within me. Suddenly, we heard a loud thud, not too far from the trapdoor. Based on the sound, something heavy fell. Though it greatly startled me, I brushed it off. It was nothing that could have persuaded my concern. I walked over to a large bag of food that we were given to eat, it’s filled with these dry brown pebbles that we ate. They don’t taste very good, but it’s the only widely available food source, according to Father. I ate a bit and decided to write in my diary today about what happened. I started writing about my recurring dream, and Devin finding a family to adopt him. It’s exciting to have these interesting events happen, as it can be quite boring down here. After I finished today’s entry, I decided to head to sleep for the night.

I woke up in the middle of the night, and all my siblings were missing. I looked around in a panic to see the trapdoor had been opened, with the ladder once again lowered. I got up and walked to the ladder that led up to the trapdoor. It was pitch black above the trapdoor, which frightened me but I decided to climb. The moment I climbed out of the trapdoor, onto a wooden floor; the trapdoor disappeared and was replaced by wood. I was so confused, but as soon as I started to think the entire world around me went into a blinding white light. The flash started to slowly fade, and after focusing my eyes, I saw myself in a grassy field. The space seemed limitless as the end of the grass could not be seen by the human eye. I looked up, where the bright outside light was coming from, and saw the sun. Father told us a lot about the outside world and showed us photos, but it was majestic to see it in person. Suddenly though, I heard someone calling my name and that’s when I woke up. It was just a dream. But at least it was different, this time. One of my siblings was calling my name loudly trying to wake me up.

“Wake up! Father has been calling you!” my younger brother exclaimed.

I groggily walked under the trapdoor, curious what Father wanted from me.

“Hello Father, did you need something?” I inquired.

“We found a family for you as well, it’s your lucky day. Bid your siblings farwell, as your new family is already here.” Father happily stated.

I was shocked, I didn’t expect this to happen so soon. I turned around, waving at my siblings with a soft smile on my face. Looking back at the trapdoor, I saw the ladder lowered once more. As I climbed the ladder, nearing the top of the trapdoor I could finally start to see an environment beyond the basement. After fully climbing out of the trapdoor, I took a moment to look around. The floorboards were made of wood, with the walls painted a dark gray. Most importantly, I finally saw my father for the first time in my entire life. He was a tall skinny man, his skin was ashen. He was kneeling down to look at me, with his spine bending in a way that made my skin crawl with goosebumps. His eyes were hazel, but he had a ghostly cold stare. His gaze made me shudder despite how safe he used to make me feel. His obsidian-colored hair was styled into a man bun. He wore a black short-sleeved shirt with black trousers and black boots. He gestured to me to walk in front of him down a hallway that turned left. I complied, although after turning in the hall the front door was visible as well as posters on a board to the right of the hall with a drawer under it. As I got closer, I was able to discern what the posters said. My heart sank, as I froze up out of pure shock. The missing posters were pictures of us, with our names as well. Not another moment seemed to pass when I felt something injected into my side. My vision became blurry, and I fell to the floor making an extremely loud thud. While I lay there rapidly losing consciousness I saw Father looking down on me while counting cash in his hands with a syringe on the floor. After that, I blacked out, waking up in an unfamiliar environment.

The echo of chains shackle my wrists to the wall in a frigid, forlorn underground chamber. The walls are made up of an impenetrably numbing stone. Red wood planks line the empty foundation of the room. The silence pierces my ears, and blood streams out of my gaping wounds; like a broken faucet flowing down my body, into a puddle of despair. The crimson blood seeps into the once mahogany painted floor. I’m often visited by a deranged man, who either hurts me or forces me to sleep with a drug. As for what he does when he forces me to sleep, I still do not know; but I feel that’s for the best that I remain oblivious. I just want to leave this place, I want someone to save me. This basement is my purgatory, and each passing day becomes more difficult to endure than the last. I long to lay hold of the outside light.


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About the Contributor
Ryan Urbina
Ryan Urbina, Staff Writer
My name is Ryan Urbina, and I’m a senior at Golden Valley high school as well as a staff writer on the Community News Team for the Grizzly Gazette. Some extracurricular activities I'm a part of are CSF, literature club, chess club, Asian student union, business club, and mock trial. I’ve gotten a chess trophy in a tournament, and used to be a co-vice president in the SkillsUSA for a semester. My main passion, which I'd like to cover, is creative writing. Creative writing is my favorite form of expression, whether it be short stories or poems. I’m a large fan of both forms of creative writing, and it’s one of my true passions in life. I write to understand myself and my emotions, and I feel like that makes my style unique compared to others. Being a student journalist means a lot to me so I’m able to express my writing to a much larger audience, and I would enjoy building a portfolio of my work. I hope my writing can create a positive impact on this newspaper.