Bunker

For 2022, I’ve been wanting to write more ‘creature features’ and generally improve my short story writing. My partner got me a Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual for my birthday so I came up with the idea of writing a story every week based on a different creature from that – All There in the (Monster) Manual. Hope you enjoy!

This Week’s Inspiration: Hook Horror

Two young influencers explore rumours of an old nuclear shelter in the basement of a recently raided drug lord. The bunker turns out to be much, much bigger and much stranger than can be believed but when they attempt to leave they can no longer find the exit, and they soon realise something is down there with them.

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CLIP ONE

A young man preens for the camera, standing in a shady, tree-filled area that runs behind a row of houses. This is CASEY GALLAGHER, 19-years-old, tall, lean build with dark hair, wearing jeans and a black hoodie. The area has been identified as a nature strip only a few minutes’ walk from the home of PETER DEGUARA, currently serving 15-20 years in prison on drug-related charges.

“This is insane, this is so stupid,” someone, holding the camera, says. The voice is that of JULIA NOAH, a longtime friend of Casey and aspiring social media influencer.

“This is a great idea!” Casey says.

“Explain where we’re going for the camera.”

“Okay, back when I was in high school there was this house I used to walk past every day. You couldn’t see anything happening inside, it was like this big compound. Turns out, last week, this place got raided and the guy that lives there is some kind of drug kingpin! There were cop cars and even a helicopter flying over the neighbourhood, and everything.”

“So, what’s that got to do with us?

“Rumour is that this guy had some kind of bunker in his basement, like a panic room, but he didn’t get to it in time. It might have even been where he was keeping his drugs, I don’t know. Anyway, my idea is that we break in there and find the entrance to this bunker. We record us going down but then we put up a teaser and say, if you want the full video we need a thousand likes. Or ten thousand, or a million! It doesn’t matter, it’ll go viral for sure.”

It is worth noting a study of Casey’s social media history shows him posting on several internet forums and groups relating to the interest of ‘Urban Exploration’.

“And what about the police?”

“I already climbed over the wall and had a look around, I just didn’t go inside. There’s no police, no cameras, it’ll be fine!”

“Okay, I’m definitely going to have to edit some of that.”

Julia manhandles the phone she’s using to record. There’s a brief glance of trees and the side of her face before the clip ends.

CLIP TWO

A blurry shot of Peter Deguara’s house, taken from a distance. It is a white mansion surrounded by solid, white walls. The shot slips in and out of focus several times before ending.

CLIP THREE

Casey grips the top of the wall surrounding Peter Deguara’s mansion and pulls himself up. He climbs over and disappears.

“I’m okay!”

“Hold this!”

Julia rests her phone, facing upward, on top of the wall. There are several seconds of blue sky on the recording before Casey picks the phone up. He directs it back at the wall as Julia easily pulls herself over. Julia is tall and athletic with long, red hair and is wearing workout clothing. A quick scan of Julia’s social media feeds reveal mostly ‘fitspiration’ and content relating to diet and exercise.

“Wow, check this place out!” Julia says.

Casey scans across the backyard. Manicured gardens surround a large pool in the centre of the yard. Marble statues at either end of the pool depict tigers in mid-leap. Several independent sources have confirmed this is Peter Deguara’s backyard or indistinguishable from it.

“Subtle, right? Drug kingpin? Who could have guessed?” Casey says from behind the camera.

“Here, give it,” Julia says.

“It’s okay, I’ve got it. You want to be the one on camera, right?”

“Do I? This is totally illegal.”

“Filming this crime spree is the best idea we’ve ever had!”

Julia and Casey approach the rear of the house, which again matches descriptions of Peter Deguara’s home in every respect. To one end of a row of floor to ceiling windows is a broken panel covered with police tape and a piece of plywood. According to police reports, this panel was broken during Peter Deguara’s arrest.

“I saw this yesterday. This is how we get inside,” Casey says, as Julia bends over to inspect the plywood.

CLIP FOUR

Julia stands in the middle of a concrete room lit by fluorescent lighting. There is shelving built into the walls but nothing is being stored on them. The ceiling is low and Julia hunches forward, looking uncomfortable.

“I don’t believe this,” Julia says.

“This is perfect, this is exactly what will get people in!” Casey says from behind the camera. “Go on, do it!”

“Okay, okay. So we let ourselves into this house owned by a drug lord who was recently-, hang on, let me start again. So, we’re in this house owned by a recently arrested, bigtime drug dealer. Rumour was there was some kind of bunker under the house where he might have stored drugs.”

Casey sweeps the camera around to take in the emptiness of the room. A set of stairs can be glimpsed briefly behind him.

“Obviously we got here and it’s like, oh, that’s it? There’s nothing here? But then we found this.”

Julia gestures and Casey moves around her to physically zoom in on a metal hatch inset in the floor. It looks heavy and flakes of rust cling to the edges. There’s a latch for a padlock but no lock attached. Casey holds for several seconds before straightening up. The camera continues to point at the ground.

“Okay, so then we put, you know, like and subscribe! Ten thousand likes and we post the thing!” Casey says.

“We don’t even know if there’s anything down there.”

“Well, that’s what we’re about to find out. And it doesn’t matter, unless it’s a total, total bust this will definitely go viral!”

“I don’t know if I want to go down there.”

“Come on, it’s-,” the audio and video abruptly cut out.

CLIP FIVE

The camera descends rung by rung down a rusty ladder. The only light appears to be coming from the phone itself and a second light lower down. Julia appears to be holding the camera again. The top of Casey’s head can be glimpsed below.

“Seriously, can you see the bottom? I can’t see the bottom,” Julia says.

“Hang on. Okay, I’m at the bottom now!”

Julia climbs the rest of the way. Casey is holding another phone now, using it as a flashlight. Despite both lights, little detail can be made out of the blackness surrounding them.

“Oh, my God, Casey, I don’t like this!”

“Hold on.”

Casey finds a doorway and stumbles through it. After a few seconds, lights flicker to life overhead. Julia moves toward Casey, shutting off the light on her phone. The area where the ladder deposited them seems to be nothing but a small chamber, painted black.

“Oh, yes, yeah, this is perfect!” Casey says. “This is definitely what they were talking about!”

Julia pans across another room, not unlike the basement where they were seen in the last clip. This room is larger and better lit with a higher ceiling. Casey points excitedly to another doorway diagonally across the room, leading deeper into some kind of bunker.

“Look at this! Come on, this is crazy! It’s really a bunker, like, one of those old nuclear shelters! Maybe the house was built on top of it?”

“It looks too new.”

“Come on, let’s go!”

“This isn’t setting the right tone, you know. It’s supposed to be super creepy, not you being excited.”

“We’ll take out our voices and put in some creepy music, don’t worry about it! We’ll add some text to explain what’s happening.”

Julia follows Casey deeper into the bunker. Several doorways branch off a short hallway. The rooms look clean but are completely empty, no furnishings or facilities.

“Oh, oh, I don’t believe this. Look at this!” Casey says.

At the end of the hallway, tucked behind a slight turn, is a metal door. It looks older than the rest of the bunker, dull, flaked with rust, with a latch but no padlock.

“It keeps going!”

Behind the camera, Julia sounds hesitant. “Case, I don’t know.”

“Come on, this is amazing! We’ve just got to look!”

Casey cranks the handle open with a rusty squeal. Julia keeps the camera pointed at the doorway as it opens. Behind the door is a dark hallway that must be close to twenty metres long. At the far end is another doorway, fully lit. What happens in this brief second is the topic of considerable online debate. In slow motion, zooming in on the footage, a distorted figure appears to stand briefly in the doorway before sprinting sideways and out of sight. The figure looks humanoid with overly long, thin arms. This moment is indistinct and very brief. Neither Julia nor Casey react in any way to the figure, suggesting they failed to spot them.

“Oh, no,” Julia says.

“Come on!”

“What if we get trapped down here?”

“We’re not going to get trapped! Come on, think of how many views this is going to get!”

Julia and Casey continue down the hallway. Julia can be heard breathing heavily behind the camera. The hallway is unlit and seems to be made of concrete but efforts have been made to tile it in places. Rusty pipes of unknown purposes run across the ceiling. Only through considerable audio analysis can several tapping noises be ‘heard’ at this point in the video.

“Did you hear that?” Julia asks.

“Hear what?”

“Like a knocking sound. Like someone knocking on something! What if there’s someone down here?”

“There’s no one down here, the police would have checked it out. It was probably the pipes or something.”

Julia and Casey reach the end of the hallway without incident. The next area contains another short hallway with open rooms on both sides resembling storage units. At one point, Julia hands the camera back to Casey.

“This place is huge. Maybe it wasn’t a private bunker at all. Maybe it was some kind of government thing,” Casey says.

Another doorway at the end of the hallways leads into absolute blackness. Casey, now holding the camera, moves inside and gropes along the wall for a lightswitch. With an audible hum, more lights gradually illuminate the room over several seconds.

“Holy shit, no way,” Casey says.

Casey scans the camera across what looks to be a false outdoor area. Fake plastic grass forms a lawn underfoot. Green, rolling hills and blue skies are painted on the concrete walls surrounding the ‘yard’. Some very old fashioned lawn furniture is set up on the far side of the ‘lawn’. To the right of screen, what looks like the side of a house separates the yard from another ‘inside’.

“This is incredible,” Casey says.

“It looks like a daycare, with all these paintings on the walls.” Julia points out birds and butterflies flying over the hills on the murals.

“I guess it’s to make it feel bigger, if people had to spend years down here.”

“How could this all be abandoned?”

“It’s got to be some kind of government place, and the drug guy bought it along with his property.”

“How big is it?”

The video cuts out here.

CLIP SIX

Casey holds the camera as he moves from room to room in the bunker’s fake house. It is furnished with old beds, and a couch and armchairs that look as if they’re from the Fifties. A boxy, wood-panelled television sits at the head of the living room. In the kitchen is an old refrigerator and stove, cabinets, table and chairs. There is, however, no artwork or photos or any signs of life.

“It looks like one of those houses, you know, they used to blow up in nuclear bomb tests,” Casey says. “Imagine how creepy it would be if there was a bunch of mannequins or whatever sitting around the living room.”

“It’s creepy enough as it is!” Julia says from behind him. “Did you hear that? Oh, my God, did you hear that?”

It is worth noting nothing has been picked up here by the audio. It is possible the phone’s microphone simply wasn’t powerful enough.

“Hear what?”

“A knocking! I thought I heard a knocking sound.”

“I didn’t hear anything. Check this out, this place just keeps going!”

Casey reaches what appears to be the front rooms of the ‘house’. Windows show painted scenes of a false outside. At the end of a short corridor Casey comes across another heavy door. His hand comes into frame, reaching out to open it.

“Case, don’t! I’m telling you I heard something.”

“Jules, think of the views! This place is crazy!”

Casey opens the door. Beyond the threshold is complete and utter blackness. Casey hovers in the doorway. Suddenly, with a low bang that makes the camera jump, a set of lights power on overheard. Immediately outside the doorway is another fake lawn bordered by a white picket fence. More lights come on, far overheard, in a sequence moving away from the house. They reveal a cavernous warehouse. Rafters cross the roof far overhead, above towering metal shelves. The shelves appear totally empty but there are dozens of them.

“Are you seeing this?” Casey says.

“It’s huge, it’s like the size of a football stadium. Case, how? How is this all underground and we don’t even know about it?”

“This is government, this is definitely government. I don’t think this place could have possibly just been bought by some guy, something else must be going on.”

Something makes a distinct noise, like a knock. It is clearly picked up this time by the phone’s microphone. The warehouse remains largely dark in spite of the lights overhead. The sound is similar to someone rapping a metal bar against metal shelving. It happens again, and again.

“What is that? Something’s down here!” Julia hisses.

“I don’t know, it might just be the electricity.”

“We have to go back, Case!”

“But look at this place!”

“No, no way! I don’t care anymore, no one even knows we’re down here! I’m going back with or without you. Maybe, maybe, we come back with more people, some supplies, I don’t know, but I’m not staying down here right now.”

“Okay, okay, we’ll go back.”

CLIP SEVEN

“This is impossible!” Julia says.

“It’s-, we got turned around.”

The camera moves too fast, in surroundings that are too dark, to make out where they are for several seconds. As it settles, Julia and Casey can be seen in the long, dark hallway from earlier or one that looks just like it. Julia holds the camera, with its flashlight illuminated. Casey feels along the walls as if looking for something.

“It moved! This place changed!” Julia says.

“It can’t have changed, not really. Maybe we missed something?”

“This is the way we came! This hallway is the same but the first rooms, and the ladder, are gone!”

“No, it can’t be.”

“We still don’t have any phone reception.”

“Well, of course not. I mean, we are underground.”

They backtrack to the area with the empty storage rooms and look around. Another doorway leads into a large, dark room but it is clearly not the same as the part of the complex where they walked through originally.

“We missed something,” Casey says. “Maybe, maybe there’s more automated systems, like those lights that came on. Maybe the door is hidden and it automatically slid closed.”

“It was right here, look at the video!”

The phone is fumbled and the video abruptly stops.

CLIP EIGHT

Julia and Casey move through another enormous and windowless space, this one filled with towering machines that resemble hydroelectric generators. The camera is being used as a flashlight but the room is dark and its overall dimensions and total contents remains indistinct throughout. A low level hum persists across the entirety of the recording.

“If you’re watching this, we came down into this crazy bunker,” Julia says, apparently addressing the camera. “We went exploring but when we came back the way out had changed into this room, here.”

“These machines look like generators or something,” Casey says. “But I don’t think they’re turned on.”

“What is that humming noise then?”

“I’m not sure, maybe some kind of standby mode? It kind of sounds further away.”

Julia and Casey reach the far side of the room, and a large window. Inside, through the glare of the flashlight, the camera can make out panels covered in dials and switches and meters, all abandoned. As Julia scans the window, a knocking sound is picked up clearly by the phone. Julia jumps and whips around to scan the nearest machinery.

“Did you hear that? Did you hear that?” Julia says.

“Yeah, yeah, I heard it.”

Nothing can be seen as Julia sweeps the camera across the room. The sound comes again of metal tapping against metal as if someone is knocking against one of the pieces of machinery.

“It’s in the room! Someone is following us!”

“No, it’s-, I don’t know what it is but there’s no one down here!”

“You don’t know! There’s someone following us!”

“Come on.”

The pair move along the wall until they come across a pair of swinging doors. They hurry into another hallway, this one with larger rooms, possibly locker rooms, offices, meeting rooms, etc. Julia sweeps the camera from side to side.

“If we keep going, there’s got to be another exit,” Casey says.

“There’s got to be? Why?”

“Because there’s got to be!”

The two of them reach what looks like some kind of dormitory. Around two dozen cots line the walls, unmade. Julia and Casey hurry past them to another set of doors.

“This has got to be government, got to be. Even if it was abandoned, they built it down here to hold people during the Cold War or something,” Casey says.

Suddenly, Julia screams. The camera whirls around in a blur and settles on the hallway behind them. A humanoid figure appears clearly in the doorway. They are shirtless with a black mask covering their face. From this perspective, their arms cannot be fully seen and details are hard to make out but this is almost certainly the individual known as HOOK HANDS who appears more clearly in CLIP ELEVEN.

“Who are you? What do you want?” Julia screams.

The figure lingers for a few moments more and then slips slowly back into the corridor. Something can be heard knocking against the walls.

“Did you see that? Did you see that?” Julia says to Casey.

“Yeah, uh, yeah. Maybe they could help us?”

“They don’t want to help us, Casey! They were holding a knife or something! Oh, my God, we’re going to die down here!”

CLIP NINE

Julia and Casey move through another area resembling an abandoned hospital or laboratory. The walls, floor and ceiling are a mixture of concrete and tiles and there is no suggestion of natural light, only weak fluorescents. Patches of black mould grow across the walls and ceiling. Casey moves ahead of Julia, who is still holding the camera.

“Okay, I’ve got the video, I’m recording,” Julia says.

“I think we’ve found something. I still don’t know what this place is but I think we’ve found something.”

Through another window, the camera scans a room full of medical equipment. Coffin-shaped pods rest across the room, four of them in total. In spite of considerable research and debate, no recognised purpose or manufacturer of these pods has been uncovered. Tables cluttered with surgical tools are gathered around the pods.

“Is that blood? It looks like really, really old blood,” Casey says.

Casey points to black stains on some of the trays of surgical tools, and on the sides of the pods. More black mould grows around the bases of the pods and tables.

“Case, we have to go! We have to go, I’m stopping this for the battery.”

CLIP TEN

The camera’s flashlight bounces off concrete steps as whoever is holding the camera climbs and climbs. They reach a platform, turn, and continue climbing. Casey can be heard breathing hard. This goes on for over a minute with nothing else of note happening.

“We found these stairs,” Julia says finally, addressing the recording again. “And we thought there’d be a way out but we’ve been climbing and climbing and I still don’t have signal. I don’t know what we’re going to do, and I keep hearing it. I keep hearing the knocking on the walls.”

CLIP ELEVEN

“It’s a wall! It’s a fucking wall!” Casey howls.

The video seems to be in the same stairwell, on the topmost platform. Casey runs his hands across walls that appear to be made of solid cinder blocks, with no doors or other exits in view.

“There’s got to be something here! There’s got to be a hidden door or something!”

“This place isn’t right! We just climbed like thirty stories! How far did we come down that ladder? Three stories at most? We should be way above ground right now but I still don’t have a signal on my phone.”

“Maybe we came up inside a hill, and this entrance was bricked up? Or maybe we’re inside, like, the shell of a fake building, that’s been shielded.” Case hammers his hands against one wall. “Hello? Can anyone hear us? Hello?”

“It’s this place, Case! I’m telling you, the place is changing around us!”

“That’s impossible, this is just some, abandoned, fucked up government place with some homeless people living in it or something. There’s got to be another way out.”

The camera points at the floor for another minute and a half. Casey apparently moves around, feeling for a gap and yelling.

“What do we do now? Just go back down?” Julia asks.

“I guess we don’t have a choice, Jules. Fuck! We’ll find our way out eventually, we have to.”

“There’s someone down there, I heard them!”

“If they’re still following us, I don’t know, they backed off before.”

“I’m going to keep recording.”

“Sure, whatever.”

Casey leads the way again, using his phone as a flashlight. He pays close attention to the walls as if still searching for a hidden door or control. Julia follows, filming him from behind. They quickly descend eight levels with no sign of doors or signage of any kind.

“Oh, shit! Shit!” Casey stops and recoils.

“Oh, God!”

Seen clearly in the beams of their phone flashlights is a humanoid figure who has been nicknamed HOOK HANDS. Male, muscular, extremely pale, he is shirtless and wearing black pants, no shoes, and a featureless black hood. Both of Hook Hands’ arms appear to have been amputated below the elbows. Large hooks emerge from the stumps. Based on video analysis, these hooks appear to be permanently fixed into the stumps for so long that skin has grown back over their bases, rather than being attached like prosthetics.

“Oh, what the fuck? What are you, man?” Casey asks.

Hook Hands appears to regard them for a moment. There are no eye or mouth holes in his mask. He taps one hook against the stairwell’s metal railing, making a ringing sound that echoes through the concrete passage.

“Go away!” Julia screams. “Go away!”

Hook Hands doesn’t react. Julia and Casey back away.

“What are we going to do?” Julia asks.

“There’s nowhere to go,” Casey says. “Jules, Jules, I’m going to hit him. When I do it, you run! Run past him and keep running!”

“What about you?”

“I’m just going to-, I’m just going to knock him down and come after you. Now, go!”

Casey barrels forward, down the steps, and tackles Hook Hands around the shoulders. He manages to avoid the man’s weapons. The next few seconds are too chaotic to make out even in frame by frame analysis. Holding the camera, Julia runs down the stairs, past Casey and Hook Hands, and down the next flight of stairs. Here, however, she hesitates and goes back. Casey appears to be struggling with Hook Hands. Julia joins in, although her actions are difficult to make out, swinging and kicking. As the shot steadies, Julia and Casey can both be seen on their feet, moving down the steps away from Hook Hands.

“Hurry!” Julia says.

The next ten seconds are again chaotic and can only be made out frame by frame, but something clearly hits Casey from behind. One of Hook Hands’ hooks appears over Casey’s shoulder and buries itself in his chest. He drops his phone and is yanked backward.

“Case!” Julia yells.

“Jules!”

Casey reaches for her but Hook Hands’ second hook appears and buries itself in the side of his throat. Spitting blood, Casey is pulled backward into darkness.

“Oh, my God! Oh, God!”

Julia spins and continues to run. Her phone light bounces off the walls. She makes it down several levels but then clearly reacts to hearing or seeing something below. She stops, breathing hard, and more tapping and knocking can be heard.

“Oh, God.”

Julia turns the camera back but only thumping can be heard behind her. Cautiously, she keeps going down the steps. After another couple of levels, two more humanoid figures can be seen on one of the platforms below. Both appear similar to Hook Hands but not identical. Male, muscular, pale, and wearing hoods and pants but no shirts. These two have been nicknamed KNIFE HAND and SPIKE. Knife Hand has, as the name suggests, had his right arm removed below the elbow and replaced by a large blade. The other man appears to have multiple spikes, at least a dozen, inserted into the flesh of his arms, chest, and legs, so that they bristle at various angles. Knife Hand taps his blade against the railing.

“Oh, what the fuck?”

Julia turns to bring into view a dark doorway set into one wall of the stairwell. In the distance, down a dark hallway, fluorescent lighting flickers. Based on analysis of the video, frame by frame, this doorway was not present in the stairwell until this moment.

“This wasn’t here! This wasn’t here a second ago, I swear it! I swear to God!”

Julia moves into the hallway, hurrying away from the stairs. Eventually, the camera is turned back. Knife Hand and Spike can vaguely be discerned in the doorway. Julia turns the light off and keeps moving for another minute, nothing appearing on the recording except some distant tapping and the sound of Julia’s movements.

“This wasn’t here! There’s something wrong with this place, it’s alive!”

The video goes on for another minute and eleven seconds with nothing of significance before cutting off. Frame by frame analysis fails to reveal any more clues as to Julia’s location.

CLIP TWELVE

The camera points backward at Julia’s face. Little can be seen of her surroundings. The wall behind her appears to be concrete and a weak light shines on the right side of her face. Throughout the recording, taps and knocks can be heard distantly on the audio.

“It’s been about an hour since I lost Case. Oh, my God, it’s only, like, one o’clock out there. I’ve only been in here for like two hours. It just keeps going and going. I’ve tried to go in as straight a line as possible, it doesn’t stop, it doesn’t repeat, it just goes on and on!”

Julia stops and listens. Sniffling, she wipes her face.

“I keep having to use my phone for light, my battery won’t last long now. I’m just making this recording in case anyone finds it. I’m sorry, Mom, Dad, I’m sorry, I love you, Leslie, I love you. Oh, God. Casey’s family, I’m so sorry I left him, I’m so sorry. We never should have come down here!”

Julia stops and listens again. The sound of tapping is still distant but registers as closer according to audio analysis.

“They keep coming! I don’t know what they are, I don’t know if they’re-, a part of this place or if they just-, infest it, like some kind of parasites, but they keep coming no matter how far I go. I think they’re-, I think the tapping is like some kind of bat-thing, I think they do it to hunt. I have to go, I’m sorry, I love you all, I’m sorry, I have to go.”

CLIP THIRTEEN

The contents of this final clip are the source of the most fierce debate to surround the ‘Bunker’ video. Given the poor lighting and quality of the recording, without enhancement as it appeared when first released, the video is only a brief jumble of shadows and then a long stretch where nothing happens.

When enhanced by several different sources, in a combination of both watching and viewing frame by frame, the following appears to be seen:

Blackness, something blocks the camera. But there is a sense of motion, and what sounds like movement picked up by the phone’s microphone. It then sounds as if the phone is placed down on a hard surface.

There is a brief shot of a hand pulling away from the camera. The clearest frame appears to show claws growing from the ends of the fingers. Most believe the shape of the claws indicate that these are not claws but scalpel blades that had been inserted into the hand’s fingertips. Some enhancements appear to show dark liquid, possibly blood, on the fingers, as if the implants are still fresh.

The light in whatever room the camera is facing is exceedingly poor and the camera struggles to find a point of focus. A doorway and window can be seen across the room, looking out on a hallway. The only source of light comes from some point down the hallway to the right of screen but it is distant and flickering. Some visual clues indicate this might be part of the ‘hospital’ that Julia Noah and Casey Gallagher passed through in CLIP NINE or a similar area.

A person stands briefly in front of the doorway. They seem to stare directly into the camera. They have been nicknamed, among other things, VENGEANCE. The figure, a woman, appears to be wearing a featureless black mask, black pants and a small black top similar to what was seen worn by the bunker inhabitants in other clips, or, debatably, could match some of the workout clothing worn by Julia Noah. Large spikes, like kitchen knives, jut from their elbows and shoulders and potentially their hips, seen mostly in silhouette.

Vengeance turns and walks quickly out of the room. They are seen briefly but not clearly in the window to the right of the doorway. Close audio analysis has picked up an irregular ‘ticking’ sound that starts shortly after they disappear from frame, like bits of metal being tapped against metal. The camera continues to record the empty room for another two minutes and eight seconds before it suddenly slips and falls over. It records a patch of ceiling for several more seconds before cutting out.

******

This recording was uploaded to various video sharing sites on March 13th, three weeks after the apparent disappearances of Julia Noah and Casey Gallagher. It was widely considered to be a hoax or viral advertising for an upcoming horror movie or series but no one has yet claimed responsibility for the video or its posting.

Independent reports from other urban explorers, and from the current owners of Peter Deguara’s former home, confirm there is a room below the house that looks identical to one the one where Julia and Casey begin their journey – except there is no metal hatch set into the floor, and therefore no ladder and no bunker. No locations have been positively identified to match any of the rooms seen once the pair enter the bunker.

The investigation into Julia Noah and Casey Gallagher’s disappearances have failed to uncover any evidence as to what happened to the pair, or their current location.

======

Sean: Probably inspired a bit by The Backrooms with this story. Honestly, The Backrooms is one of those stories which, as an author, you envy because it is just so perfectly put together. It’s so perfectly crafted with just the right use of language and just the right level of detail, so clean, so unsettling, just enough to build that sensory image in your head and draw the imagination. I honestly consider any attempt to expand on it a failure before it ever starts because it just so much better left unexplained.

I have my own theories as to what the bunker is and what created it, as well as the creatures that roam its halls. But I always like a story that hints at a larger picture and lets the imagination run with it! Obviously this is one of a few experiments with different formats I’ve ventured into over the course of the year and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

Next Week’s Inspiration: Flumph

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