Kenny laid the sledgehammer against the adjacent wall and admired the hole he'd made in the drywall of his house’s guest bedroom. He tugged at the crumbling board, and as the hole widened to the nearest stud, he noticed something quite unexpected underneath. A door. A thin door perfectly positioned between the two studs branded with a bright bleeding X.
“What are you doing here?” Kenny ran his hand along the warped wood of the mysterious door, knocked a few times, and tried the small brass knob. Locked. “This makes no sense. A door in the wall?”
He used the sledgehammer to sever the knob from the door, then jabbed the backside of the doorknob with the butt of its handle. Strangely, the metallic clink of the knob hitting the floor didn't sound.
The door creaked open when Kenny gave it a tap. Standing at the threshold, he peered into the shadows of what appeared to be a narrow, hidden room. A room between rooms? Light from the bedroom streamed in and revealed a circular hole in the floor, approximately three feet in diameter.
Kenny scoured the house for a flashlight so he could get a better look at what he'd found so unexpectedly.
The flashlight beam danced around the room as he explored the musty space. The walls were unfinished and the floor, nothing but dirt. The hole, centered in the barricaded and forgotten closet, was inlaid with redbrick like a well.
Kenny cautiously approached the well and shown his flashlight down into the creepy opening in the floor, which descended fifteen, maybe even twenty feet! And then the light grazed over a hunched figure.
“Lose something?” the man in the well asked, holding the other half of the brass knob in his hand.
Kenny shook with such a fright that he nearly dropped his flashlight into the hole. Now he knew he was crazy.
The man, or boy, looked no older than twenty. His clothes were ragged, his hair knotted and clumpy, and he flashed a smile of black and crooked teeth.
“What are you doing in my...house?” Kenny stuttered.
“It wasn't your house when I was put down here.”
“What are you talking about? I've lived here for ten years. You––”
“And the McKinley's before you. And the Cunningham’s before them. And Old Man Grommet before them. I've been down here a long time. Would you like the other half of your doorknob back?”
“How are you still alive?” Kenny couldn't believe what was happening. He clicked off the flashlight, confident that if he couldn't see the boy, then he would simply disappear.
“That's a good question. How about a little help. It would be nice to feel the warmth of sunlight on my face again. Then I'll tell you why I was placed here before taking my leave.”
“I don't know if that's such a good idea.”
“How can you say that? Do you really want me to remain here, in your house, with you and your wife? Jill, is it?”
Kenny felt a chill surge through his entire body. Turning the flashlight back on, those seemingly innocent eyes remained fixed on him like a helpless puppy. “So, if I let you out, you're just going to leave?”
“Right after telling you my story. You've got my word.”
“Fine,” Kenny said, backing away slowly. “I'll find some rope.”“Very good. I'll just wait here.”