I remember the first time I encountered those cynical creatures hiding in the basement of my childhood home. Don’t get me wrong, I was young and my imagination was probably wild as f**k but this is a truth that keeps on creeping in my nightmares.
My Dad loved to read books from Edgar Allan Poe, Kafka, and other writers who write about death, agony, and horror. He particularly loved Frankenstein in a bizarre way, as if he knew that bringing the dead back to life was not fictitious.
One evening, as I was going to the kitchen for a glass of milk, I saw my dad coming out of the basement with a peculiar expression, almost nightmarish for a child my age. It looked like he had found a secret which should remain unknown to man. An eerie smile curved on his face. I stopped to wait for my father to leave before I went to the kitchen for a glass of milk but as I was passing through the stairway to the basement, I heard a muffled scream of agony, almost a shriek from a man whose vocals were torn off.
Out of curiosity, I went down the stairs and slowly approached the door, careful enough not to make a loud footstep noise. I smelled a dull scent of rotten meat and formalin as I peered through the door lock. Before I could see the details of what was inside the room, I heard a cry from inside the room and my mind went blank. I ran upstairs and hid in my room, quivering like a child that had seen a ghost, which I think was close to what I could have seen, and as much as I have tried to forget about it, the cry still haunts me and I never had the courage to ask my dad about it.
When I was 18, when I almost forgot about the dark aura I felt from approaching the basement door, my dad disappeared while running for an errand. He left a key on his messy desk that clearly needed some tidying on a bunch of research papers. I tried to rent the fact that I knew where that key goes but my hunger for knowing what haunted my childhood was stronger so I went to the basement after grabbing a flashlight from my room. I carefully walked down the stairs, making sure that I was not crazy for doing what I was about to, and the childhood trauma gushed in me like a huge wave of tsunami gnawing on my courage bit by bit, but I stood my ground; I knew I had to. I started to hear strange noises from the room but I knew those were just my hallucinations. There was no scent. There was no noise. It was just a door between me and the cause of my nightmares. The door almost looked towering from where I was, as if I was a child again trying to reach for the doorknob.
I slowly unlocked the door, after a few tries because my hands were a little shaky, and I could feel my hand getting cold from the nervousness. I twisted the key which felt heavier than it should, and pushed the door slowly. The room was empty. I turned the lights on and I saw another door with scribbles on it. It was from a familiar language which my dad had taught me when I was a child, but I couldn’t understand it in my state then. I put my foot in front of the other until I reached the second door. Before I could touch it, I tripped on a block and accidentally opened the door harder than I have intended. It swung open wide as I fall on the ground. I put my arms beneath me and got up from the wooden floor as it creaked and while my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I saw a corpse in the middle of the room, already dead from what looked like animal bites. Its flesh were torn apart and it wore… my dad’s lab coat. I knew because of the distinguishable mark on the back of the coat. I turned white as a sheet, basing from what I felt since my heart almost pierced through my chest and ran out the door before I can, trembling before the circumstance I was in. A dead body from beside me rose up and turned its head towards me. It looked at me with one hollow eye with intense hunger that I certainly felt like a prey. I quickly got up my feet, trying not to piss my pants, because I saw more dead bodies stir. They let out a nasty cry, tearing the stitched mouth of some of them but they didn’t seem to feel any pain. I didn’t feel my legs in that moment. As I was running in a dream, my legs felt liquid and wobbly and my brain just had a hard time processing where they were.
When I got out of the room, a hair distance from the grasp of a legless undead, I shut the door and immediately barred it. The room didn’t feel empty after seeing those things and I scanned the room to confirm that I was indeed alone.
As I was processing everything I saw, I read the writings on the door again and now it became clearer that I shouldn’t have opened it. Letter by letter, it translated itself to me. When I made out the words, I gasped before I fainted from the shock of finally understanding what it was that almost killed me. My Dad’s most hidden secret: Dad Ghouls.
(Supposed to be the end- a stupid pun, but I’ll give you closure.)
As soon as I woke up and remembered what happened, I covered the second door with a huge bookshelf and nailed it there. I left my dad’s corpse in there since I couldn’t possibly let anyone know of his experiments. I just hope no one could discover that secret room which should always remain hidden. I burned my dad’s research papers and transferred to a different state. I put my childhood home for sale online and I hope that whoever would buy it wouldn’t have the slightest idea that carnivorous undead are under his or her bedroom at night.