704 words, implied violence
It was all black and terrible in the hole. And ick, Nurian thought. ‘Terrible” was Nurian’s vocabulary word for the week, and he still had a little trouble figuring out what it meant exactly. His sister Kolana said it meant worse than bad. Scarier than scary. Uglier than ugly. If you make it into an adverb, take away the letter E at the end and change it into a Y, it does exactly that, make things worse than they are. The pit was terribly black, Nurian thought. There. That seemed right. It still didn’t mean anything to him, but at least it seemed right.
He wasn’t scared of the dark, of course, not since daddy took him into the basement level and showed him that it was all exactly the same whether the lights were on or not. “I’ll be here, and even when I’m not, just stay put, and I’ll come to get you,“ his daddy had said, carrying him and letting him turn the lights on and off several times, until he was satisfied that the only difference between dark and light was that you just couldn’t see things.
Daddy wasn’t there, but he was pretty sure he’d be there soon. He wasn’t scared, but it was really tight and stuffy in the hole, and there was something terribly slishy-sloshy by his feet. And it smelled bad. Smelled terrible, he corrected himself, just like the bins outside the meat market.
He sat hunched into one little corner, because the other side had the slishy-sloshy gooky things on the floor, and besides, he’d gone number one and number two there earlier. He told the men he needed to go to the bathroom, but they just laughed and said to go right there, the meanies. He had tried to hold it in for as long as he could, but he finally had to, because he was a big boy and big boys don’t go in their pants.
He could hear the meanies laughing outside, making lopsided sounds, and one of them made a loud thud falling while everyone else laughed. A loud creak, and he saw little sliver of yellow, like the tip of a nail where the cover of the pit had been shaken loose by the drunken man’s fall.
“This is no fun, “ one of the men said. “Why doesn’t he cry?”
“ He’ll cry later, “ another voice said. “You’ll have your fun.“
“Maybe he’s dead, “ another one said. “What if he’s dead?”
“It doesn’t matter, “ the first voice said. “He’ll cry later. “
Someone banged on the steel cover overhead and yelled, “Hey, are you dead?”
“No, “ he answered. “Where’s my daddy?”
“He’s not coming,“ one of them said, then laughed. The others laughed too.
He felt like crying, not that he was scared, no, he knew they were lying, daddy would come, he said he would, and daddy always came to get him. But he was a little hungry and really sleepy, and it had been so long and daddy wasn’t there yet. He willed himself not to cry; his daddy would frown if he found Nurian crying when he got there, so he just stared up at the sliver of yellow, trying not to think of the slishy-sloshy gooky things by his feet, or whatever it was that went crunch when he stepped on it, or those things that felt like clammy jelly on the walls.
Staring at the yellow sliver made his eyes tired and sleepy, and he closed his eyes a little, ignoring the rumbling hungry sounds his stomach made.
A loud sound jolted him awake. Something crashed, and he could hear glass breaking overhead. He heard the sound of leathery flapping, and the yellow sliver disappeared, making everything around him black again. He could hear loud screaming, terrible screaming for what seemed to be a long, long timeand then suddenly, everything was quiet.
He heard the grating sound of the steel cover being removed, and he blinked as a leathery claw reached down, the black nails sharp and glistening as they closed around his little arm, pulling him up.
“Daddy, “ Nurian said, holding on tightly. “You took so long! Terribly long!”
"Sorry, " his daddy said. "You weren't scared, were you?"