Flash Writing Prompt: Creepy Crawl Space

Prompt: What has been hidden here?

We’ve had problems with one of the rooms in the house being bitterly cold—and sorry, no. Not haunted. I checked. Despite that disappointment, we did finally figure out why it’s always so cold.

I opened a panel in the wall today and found a strange little crawl space big enough to hide a few people in… and it’s not insulated. Only a a few boards and some siding protects this space from the freezing temperatures. Hence, the cold.

Being the smallest person in the house, I volunteered to go inside and put up some insulation. There were cobwebs hanging everywhere. Nails came through the roof and everything was covered in itchy grime. It was quite creepy.

It was easy to imagine the horror of being imprisoned there in the dark. You would hear the neighborhood noises, but you would be too muffled for anyone to hear you. What could someone hide there? Drugs…bodies…guns… Then I had a thought. The house is 123 years old. What has someone hid there?

I posted a photo of the space on my Facebook and my old friend and former co-worker Zach suggested it be a writing prompt. He’s a smart guy—that’s why we’re friends! So now it’s a prompt.

To keep it simple, just leave a flash fiction as a comment here. The prompt? Take a look at the photo and then tell me in 500 words or less what has been hidden here. I love it best when you are horrible, but I guess nice things may have been hidden here too.

Next week I’ll share all the flash stories and pick one at random to send a prize to. This time it will be the latest copy of Space and Time magazine. Winner will be picked out of a hat, no judging by me.

About Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is an American poet, publisher and author. Her first collection of poetry, In Favor of Pain, was nominated for an 2017 Elgin Award. Her latest novella, Bitter Suites, is a 2018 Bram Stoker Awards® Finalist. Currently, she publishes Space and Time magazine, a 53 year old publication dedicated to fantasy, horror and science fiction. For more information visit SpaceandTimeMagazine.com or AngelaYSmith.com.
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8 Responses to Flash Writing Prompt: Creepy Crawl Space

  1. Laura K Duerrwaechter, AUTHOR says:

    Well, damn you. I was awakened by buzz at midnight to the arrival of this latest post. The story line begs more questions and can t get back to sleep.

    1. What room shares interior wall?

    2. What age are boards? Any materials with writing used? 

    3. Why wasn t room disclosed in sales contract?

    4. What kind of nails, iron, steel or stainless steel?

    Who lived there previously – all the way back to original owners?

    Okay, I’m going back to bed.

    • Hahahaha! Giving someone a sleepless night is a horror writer’s dream! Here are your answers:

      1. What room shares interior wall?
      My bedroom.

      2. What age are boards? Any materials with writing used?
      No idea how old the boards are, but they are rough hewn. There are some bits of old cardboard used with labels for
      asphalt shingles.

      3. Why wasn’t room disclosed in sales contract?
      The realtor probably didn’t know about it, and possibly even the last owner. It’s small and unfinished, so it
      doesn’t officially qualify as a room.

      4. What kind of nails, iron, steel or stainless steel?
      I’d say iron. They are very rusty.

      5. Who lived there previously – all the way back to original owners?
      In the crawlspace room? Probably no one has ever lived there.

  2. Laura k Duerrwaechter says:

    “The Three Day Rule”

    Independence, Missouri – a nice place, or so it seems to the casual observer. Tree lined streets cordon off public spaces where families picnic and walk their dogs. Curb appeal ranks high there, Old houses belie their history.

    The family home was center to all life’s journeys. Babies were born there. The dead were laid in state, sometimes just down stairs where they had lived all their natural days. No welcome mat needed at the front door., Friends and family were always embraced and offered accommodations.

    The problem was, what to do when family was busting at the seams and relatives came for a visit? All available furnishings were already resplendent with blankets and pillows.

    Such is the case of one bewildered woman who just couldn’t refuse a house guest. They didn’t really want to leave her lavish hospitality. Who could blame them? Seems suitcases were coming and going across her front porch all hours into late night. She was exhausted.

    Tea was always served promptly at 2:30. Her guests regaled her generosity. But, soon the larder grew bare, her family and friends began complaining that the food was repetitious and lacking appeal. The woman was embarrassed and resolved to change.

    She found arsenic and began to dilute it in the steeping blackberry tea. What to do with the bodies? How to explain the sudden disappearance of long time guests? Simple.

    “I have decided to enact the “Three Day Rule”, she announced. “Benjamin Franklin said it best – “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days”.

    And decades later, the new home owner investigating a draft upstairs, discovered her secret. All that was left were the cobwebs of the once ravenous spiders.

  3. An excerpt from Crawl Space by Marge Simon…

    …But all that happened a long time ago. Because of my recent and most unpleasant situation, I’ve had to take drastic measures. In exploring my room, I found a loose panel. Pushing it open wasn’t easy. I didn’t want the nurse to find any evidence, so it took some days to establish what lay beyond…

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