The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. – H. P. Lovecraft
A single flickering bulb burned overhead emanating what one might call light in the loosest of considerations. The dying glow of an ember capable only of making the darkness a palpable, visible, thing. Where shadows, thick and endless, lead to impossible realms where only nightmares dared to dwell.
Where the light provided meager illumination, Morgan cautiously wandered from stack to stack of old dusty boxes filled with the mementos of his youth. A rusted tricycle. A collection of journals long thought discarded. A jar of baby teeth. Photographs. Mixed tapes. Letters. Memories surrendered to time itself.
The sharp scrape of metal and the sudden flick of wheel against flint resounded through the dark as Morgan withdrew and ignited his faithful lighter in a single fluid motion. The flame did little to push back the suffocating darkness, but its humble offering was greater than that of the bulb overhead.
Deep within the darkness, further than his light could reach, came the sound of water slowly trickling down some unseen drain. The concrete floor beneath his feet was damp, and small pools of water collected around him.
The air was moist. Stagnant. Thick with the acrid aroma of mold and sweat. And something else? The faintest hint of festering meat, metal, and shit. He choked back the urge to gag, hesitantly delving deeper into the darkness.
Morgan noted another noise. Something just above the sound of water. Breathing. Struggling. Rasping and wheezing in the throes of death. And painfully he became aware he was not alone in the dark.