Written By: A. K. Kullerden
The pit, the abyss, it was always there. At least, as far as I can remember. The first time I heard its call, it was subtle, almost unnoticeable. My mother was reading her pick-and-choose verses from the book, looking back up at me after each reading with an expectant look in her eyes. She tried so hard to belittle me, scolding me on how wrong it was to like men, but I was never swayed. Still, the call grew stronger every time she sat me down for her dogmatic ramblings, but it would only show itself to me later on in life.
Not once did I believe she became a Christian in good faith. Way I see it, she only did so as a way to excuse her more toxic behaviours. It’s no wonder I got into my first real relationship during college, since it was the first time I was really free from her endless remarks on my so-called “dirty ways”.
I don’t know exactly what went down in the time I was away, but after dropping out of engineering and coming back home my parents were already living apart with divorce papers in order. And, like a pattern, propagating in time, Eric told me that this – us – wouldn’t work out. My attachment blinded me to how shallow Eric was. He never said anything outright, but it was obvious how he saw me as lesser than himself.
My mum said that if, after finishing my engineering course, I still wanted to pursue carpentry, then I would have the skills required. I guess she hoped I’d set my focus on greater horizons, but it didn’t help me achieve anything.
It was better, living with just my dad. He helped me through it all, but it’s always such a slippery rut I’ve found myself in. I still dreamed of being a carpenter, but even he could see that I wasn’t in the right state of mind to start a whole business. We ended up deciding that I would apply for some bog-standard transient jobs with the aim of saving up money for a carpentry course.
That never really happened. At 19, I started working at an office, spreadsheets, emails, that kind of stuff. Four years later, dad first started showing signs of early-onset dementia. At 54. It’s such a hopeless feeling to watch your father degenerate into a confused mess, and looking back I think it would’ve been better if he was struck by a heart attack.
After two more years, I was up one raise and down everything else. It was January when the pit first revealed itself to me, a late weekend night of remote overtime, the only way I could afford the ever-rocketing living costs.
The work was harsh, mind-numbing, and I kept having to go back to fix mistakes, over and over, my tired mind fucking it up, as it always did. My feet were cold to the point where I could barely feel them, even when I tried moving and wiggling my toes around. I knew I was moving my feet, but there was no feeling.
I looked down to see that, where the navy carpet had been, sat a circular hole in the floor. Almost perfect, but not. A gaping pit, walls of masterfully carved black stone, that descended into thick blankets of darkness. I forcefully pushed myself away from the desk, tumbling off my chair, then crawled over to the edge of the hole. As I peered over the crevice, the only sound was a low breeze. A cold earthen breath I imagined blowing throughout the tunnels of a cave.
You know that feeling? The call of the void? The subtle tug toward one step into nothing. I felt it. Only, the rejection of the idea that usually followed just wasn’t there. It didn’t scare me, only continued to pull me in. Gazing down into it, the knots in my stomach, pulled tight by the years, came loose. An unrestrained warmth took over my body as the pit seemed to strip away the weight on my heart, accepting the burden for itself.
Before the thought of toppling into the abyss took over entirely, my phone buzzed on the desk, breaking my trance. It was Eric.
“Eric? What’s up, man. Why are you calling so la-”
“Stop with the messages, Porter. I get you’re sad and all but can you, like, take it somewhere else? I’m with someone else now and I don’t want you stirring up any shit.”
I looked up to the shelves above my desk for a moment. At the picture I had of Eric and myself at college. It was pathetic, years had passed but I still couldn’t let go.
“Hello? Tell me you understand.”
I brought myself back and replied,
“Yeah. Um, sorry, Eric. Just hoped we might be able to stay friends at least.”
“Well, not if you go on like this. Thanks, I guess.”
He hung up, leaving me standing there like an idiot. Well, that I was. The silence that replaced his voice rang in my ears, mocking me, and when I looked back down to the floor, the hole was gone. It left an emptiness in my chest that could only be made whole again by looking down into that dark abyss.
The gentle breeze from that pit followed me. I heard it inside, outside, day or night, sometimes loud and present, other times so distant I thought it was just the wind. Not really an earworm, though, it felt more like a reminder, making sure I didn’t forget about the tunnel.
Later that week I was in for work. Only half an hour after getting in, Dennis – my manager – called me into his office. Some bullshit about underperforming, I wasn’t really listening to be honest. I rightfully disagreed, not out loud. I’d been giving as much effort to the work as I could at the time. He won’t be reading this, so fuck you Dennis. Your job is to manage, not to call in anyone you can get, and sneer down your nose at them. Asshole.
I nodded to whatever he said, and left his office. My stomach churned, what was I meant to do? Work harder than I already was? I excused myself to the toilet, needing to steady myself. A spiral was already corkscrewing its way down my spine.
I locked myself in one of the stalls and let my forehead rest against the door. Trying to calm your nerves can make things worse when you’re on a tight schedule – how long could I stay here while also making sure my papers for the day would be all done by five?
I turned around to see that, in lieu of a toilet, was the pit. How long had it been there, waiting for me? There was no spike of adrenaline. No, dopamine if anything. It’d come back to see me, like it said it would.
The fluorescent buzz began to fade away as I fell to the floor, and so did the smell of floor cleaner and poorly-masked piss. My hands pressed into the cheap, sticky laminate floor as I lowered my face down into the abyss.
The cold whispering of air had changed. It sounded faintly like a whistle, distant but growing clearer. It was… so alluring. A lullaby crafted for me and no-one else. My arms reached down into the hole, pulling me further and further in. The darkness extended deep, deep down – I was on the fifth floor, yet I could see no end to its depth.
In that thick, heavy shadow, something moved upwards. Pale, angular, limbs too numerous and erratic to count. This would be my guide to wherever the pit led, to somewhere better. Peace and tranquillity. Charon is a misunderstood fellow – he only wishes to lead the dead to where they belong.
The melody was clear now. It was bittersweet, like reminiscing on bad choices, but accepting that the past is the past. The words to the tune came from my own mind, and I found myself whispering,
“One step, into the dark,
Light hides just beyond,
No one will know, even dear old pa,
Here is the peace for which you long.”
It was right. Who would know, and who would care? My mum, wherever she is, would likely be indifferent, and my dad would soon forget all about me. I clearly wasn’t a valuable asset to the company either, and Eric would be happy to never hear from me again.
As the blurry thing in the pit grew closer, the song grew louder, all else falling away. The gentle breeze whipped up into a galeforce tempest of cold air that seemed to wrap around me like tendrils and pull me in further.
I reached out my hand to meet my guide halfway, when the ear-splitting BANG of the bathroom door jolted me back to reality. Did I really want this? Was it really better on the other side? Whatever that thing was, approaching rapidly, I didn’t want to know. I didn’t want to meet it.
“Porter, you in here? Boss says the papers need to be done and signed by four, so hurry the fuck up, yeah?”
I arched my head back to the stall door and replied,
“Yeah Jim, just a minute. Indigestion.”
The door slammed again, leaving me alone. When I looked back down, I flinched as my head bumped into the toilet bowl, coming off slightly wet from the residue. No pit, nothing. I returned to my desk, and saw upon checking my email a message without any named sender.
That’s all it said. The song played over and over in my head while I stared at those two words. Out of my lips tumbled, “I will,” and I clicked off the email. I tried blocking the sender, more out of curiosity than anything, but there was no sender to block. I managed to finish my workload for the rest of the day and handed it in on time, with no particular gratitude from Dennis or anyone else. No surprise there.
I paid dad a visit that weekend, at the hospice. When I entered his room he was staring listlessly out the window while some old songs fit for a gramophone played from the old radio beside him.
His head rolled around to look at me side-on.
“Oh, hello there. What time is it?”
I could tell he was only trying to be polite, that he didn’t really know who was talking to him, and changing the subject for that reason.
“It’s a quarter to three. How are you feeling today? I brought you some custard creams.”
He turned around some more to look at me, down at my hands and then back up with a smile.
“These are my favourite, how’d you know?”
The corners of my brow fell and I brought a hand up to block a potential tear.
“I, uh, it’s me, Porter. I’m your son.”
“I… I don’t…”
The look of confusion on his face told me all I needed to know. I’d been able to remind him who I was before, but now it was no use. I was all but lost to him. Was he even aware he had a son? I don’t know. There was desperation in his eyes, but the dementia won over.
I didn’t say anything more. I pulled up a chair next to him and sat, following his gaze out the window to nothing in particular. At least I could give him some company, even if he had no idea who I was. Looking through the smudge-covered glass I could hear that melody, whistling in my ears, and I knew it called to me again.
“What do you do when it seems the only direction you can go is off the edge of a cliff?” I asked.
“Wait. Look around, far and wide, to see if there’s a bridge across. If there’s no bridge, then you better set about building one. Doesn’t have to be rigid neither, just strong enough for one crossing.”
The lucidity in his answer shocked me for a moment, and I understood what he meant, but I also couldn’t grasp why he’d still think that, when he was so lost and hollow like this.
“What if the bridge collapses halfway across?”
I sighed, “never mind.”
I stood, pulled the chair back to the corner, and left dad with his biscuits. Was that it? Had he forgotten all about me? The questions weren’t answered as I walked out of the room. They say you die a second time – when your name is spoken for the last time. If I died that night, I’d have already died twice. Not figuring in the people at work, because fuck them. Dad wouldn’t be any the wiser, and mum wouldn’t care. Nor Eric.
My sleeve was damp by the time I got home, wiping away tears so I could actually see the road. I don’t know why I cared anymore. Perhaps I didn’t want anyone else to get hurt. I unlocked my front door and went into the house. A cold and empty place that I called home. My whole body ached with anguish as I climbed my way up the dark staircase.
I couldn’t sleep, of course. Why would I be able to? A good night’s rest wouldn’t make dad better. It wouldn’t make Eric come back, and it wouldn’t help me become a carpenter. I couldn’t even cobble the pieces of my life back together, let alone wooden joists or ply sheets.
Slumped in the chair at my desk, I looked up at the shelves above. There was a framed picture of an eight-year-old me with my dad, doing some DIY carpentry on a doorframe, and on the shelf above, a picture of me and Eric at a college party. I loathed the sight of them. They were nothing but painful reminders of what I’d already lost. It was all gone. I pulled out my phone and went to notes, writing a message to send to Eric. I hoped he was happy with the way things turned out, how he let me go over the pettiest of reasons. Life must be so easy for him, huh? Still, I couldn’t break my attachment. I needed someone to guide me.
I gave up a few sentences in, placing my phone face down on the desk. Hope was evacuating my body rapidly, but in truth, it wasn’t a bad feeling. After all, why should I feel anxious or scared if there was nothing left to worry about? No, it was acceptance. This world was never meant for me.
But, I recognised the feeling. I knew instinctively what it meant. I looked down underneath the desk, but only saw the frayed, blue carpeting. I started cackling hysterically. It was funny. Now, I’d even been abandoned by the pit that had called for me. This was it. My emotions, my dreams, leaving me one last time.
A blast of freezing air poured over my head from above with a loud whoosh, and something wrapped around my throat. It was cold, clammy, and powerful. The thing grasping my neck began to pull me up off the chair. My legs thrashed wildly, trying to find a foothold, and as I looked up, I saw it. The pit. It hadn’t abandoned me, but in that moment I didn’t want it anymore. A gaunt, pallid arm was reaching out of the darkness, clamping tighter and tighter around my neck, and it was attached to a mass of writhing limbs that wanted nothing but me.
I scraped animalistically at the arm that I hung from, but it was no use. It was a grip of cold steel. I managed to kick a foot up onto the desk enough to give my body some slack, but it would be no use when I was dragged up further. I looked around frantically for something that could help, but the only thing in reach was the picture frame with me and Eric.
Holding onto the bony wrist above me, I reached out with my free hand and grabbed the picture. I brought it up to my face and slammed it into my forehead. Blood erupted and poured down my face, but the glass was shattered. I felt lightheaded, and my feet totally lost footing on the desk, dangling uselessly. Using my teeth I picked out the largest glass shard still left on the picture, then dropped the broken item to the ground. I grasped the shard and I attacked. Slicing, stabbing, maiming the horrid limb that wanted my end.
But the world was fading, and fast. The howls and screeches of the creature above me sounded like they were underwater. I saw the rim of the black stone tunnel pass in front of me, falling away to reveal only cold and dark.
‘I can’t go. Not yet. There’s things I need to do, god, give me another chance.’
I don’t know how far I was dragged into the abyss, but hand’s grip weakened, and it let go with a rage-filled wail. I didn’t fall back into my room though, I just kept falling. The darkness twisted and swirled, shaping into visions of those taken victim by the pit. Those found dead with no clear motives – at least, none that could be understood by the living. I saw my father lying on his bed, drool leaking from the corner of his mouth, unaware of the gaping hole waiting for him just beneath the bedframe. I screamed, then passed out.
I woke up gasping on the floorboards of my bedroom, lying on top of broken glass and dried blood. I shot up to a sitting position and looked above me. The ceiling was unbroken in its off-white mundanity. The pit was gone, and so was its call.
My body fell back to the floor, sobbing and heaving in exasperation. I was alive, somehow. Face all cut up, neck raw and bruising, palm lacerated messily, but alive. My flame had almost been snuffed out, but there was so much wax left in my candle. It couldn’t go out yet, not until I saw what there was after it all melted away.
I looked down at the broken picture frame. Eric’s face stared back in a sneer, and I stood up and stomped on it until it was nothing more than split wood and torn paper. I needed him as much as he needed me. Dad needed me though. Even if he forgot who I, who he was, I had to stick with him until the end. I couldn’t just leave without him.
I’m looking out the window at the first rays bursting from the horizon. Their warmth spills across my face, and with the warmth is calm. Different to the calm brought on by total loss of hope. Because there is hope. I don’t know what for, but the fact that it’s there is all I need.
If the pit calls to you, please think about what you’re doing. It lies. There’s no light past the shadows. It stays dark, and cold, and there is no salvation. I can’t claim to know what the thing down there wants, truly, but it doesn’t care about you.
Sitting here now, hell… the sunrise looks just a little bit prettier than before.
Read this story and more on Creepypasta at https://www.creepypasta.com/lies-from-the-pit/.