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The Smell in the Basement – Horror Flash Fiction

February 20, 2016

“The Smell in the Basement”
Prompt suggestion from adarkenedhouse


The Smell in the Basement

“Ma’am, I think you should come down here.”

Ellie didn’t like the sound of that. She hated the creepy old basement in her new house. They’d only been living there a month. But that smell. It was putrid and needed to be looked at.

“Maybe I should wait until Charles comes home,” Ellie yelled down at the plumber.

She stood at the top of the stairs and looked down. It was dark and dank. She couldn’t bring herself to go down there alone. Finally, the plumber ascended the stairs. They sat in the kitchen.

“It could be the sewer trap down there, Ma’am, but I won’t be sure until I snake it.”

Ellie nodded at him. She sat with her hands folded in her lap. She was nervous. She glanced at the wall clock. Twenty minutes until Charles came home from work.

“Would you like some coffee while we wait?”

The plumber nodded and Ellie went to the counter to start a pot of coffee. She didn’t like being alone with a stranger this way. She’d always had a fear of strangers. Ever since she was a little girl. She couldn’t remember why, but it always left her panicked.

As the coffee perked, Ellie gather mugs, sugar and cream and sat them on the table. She smiled at the plumber each time she passed him. Hopefully he didn’t notice her nervousness.

They’d just begun sipping the coffee when Charles came through the back door. Ellie stood and greeted him with a kiss on the cheek.

“Charles, this is Mr. Addikin. He’s a plumber who’s come to see about the smell in the basement.”

Charles put his briefcase down on the table. “Shall we go down?” he asked.

The three descended the staircase. Ellie stayed near the stairs as her husband and the plumber went deeper into the basement. A single light-bulb lit the way. Ellie shivered.

“It could be this sewer trap, sir, but I don’t think the smell is coming from here.”

“Where do you think it is coming from?”

“Honestly, sir, I think it is coming from the wall over there,” Mr. Addikin said as he pointed to the far wall to the left. “I sniffed around the whole place earlier.”


“Yes, sir. I have a keen sense of smell. I know, unusual for my line of work, but it has come in handy a few times.”

Charles walked over to the wall and sniffed. The smell did seem stronger there. The wall was bricked up. They would need a pry and sledgehammer to get through the bricks.

“Do you think there is a pipe of some sort behind this wall where the smell could be seeping through?”

“Could be. Or it could be a dead animal trapped back there.”

“Do you have the tools to get through the wall?”

“In the truck, sir.”

“Okay, I will go change and meet you back down here.”

Fifteen minutes later, the three were once again in the basement. Mr. Addikin had a pry, Charles held the sledgehammer and Ellie held two flashlights in her hands to give them extra light. The two men set to work prying and hammering away at the bricks. Ellie tried to keep her hands steady, but they were shaking. She was cold despite the sweater she’d thrown on.

“Keep the lights steady, Ellie,” Charles said to her over and over again.

They finally opened a small hole in the wall. Charles took one of the flashlights and shined it inside. He gasped.

“Good lord!” He began hammering away at the bricks, faster and harder than before.

“What is it?” Ellie kept asking, but Charles ignored her questions and kept hammering.

The plumber pried away loosened bricks until there was a significant gap in the wall.

Ellie screamed as she shown her flashlight into the hole.

Two decaying bodies stood inside. A male and female. They were bound, hands and feet. Embraced. A look of terror on their faces.

©2016 Lori Carlson. All Rights Reserved.

(669 words)

  1. “I’m moving would be my response to the discovery!” she said. “Great building of tension,” she added. “Very well done.”

    • *laughs* my thoughts exactly.. What if who ever killed them came back? OMG! Scary thought. And thank you dear 🙂

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