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Secret Room

These walls are closing in...

By Holly PheniPublished 2 months ago 9 min read
Secret Room
Photo by Dima Pechurin on Unsplash

“If these walls could talk...” The detective rested a gloved hand against my cement, chipped and stained, surveying my mostly bare room. I hadn’t felt so empty for a long time. I fear I’ll be haunted now, haunted forever because of you. I will never forgive you for that.

One day earlier…

If I could talk the way you do, I wouldn’t use my voice the way you use yours, like a flaming arrow. I would use mine like still water to calm and heal. I would tell her everything is going to be alright, even though I’m not sure that’s true. I would roar like a lion until the whole world knew the truth.

You think I don’t see you, but I do. I see everything, and I hear you when you say no one sees. Wouldn’t that bode well for you?

I hear her crying through the night as she leans on me. She thinks no one hears because you told her that. You told her, “Scream all you want, nobody can hear you,” but I heard.

When she tried, I saw you react. I saw what you did to her. You think you’ve silenced her, now that she keeps quiet and only does what you say, but I can hear her.

She is deafening. She is mighty. She is waiting.

She waits until you leave for work and then she begins kicking, scraping, chipping away at my bare cement. I don’t mind the pain. It would be a worse pain not to help her at all. If she can be so strong, then so can I -- only for her, not for you.

Surprise, surprise! You’re no architect. You constructed me in a hurry, so eager to carry out your evil plans, that you neglected to learn the skill of properly rendering cement. You think because I am underground, she has nowhere to go, even if all four walls crumble. I think she’s smart and you have another thing coming.

You think you own me. You believe I’m on your side -- your hiding place, keeping all your secrets safely out of the light. To you, I’m a treasure chest filled with the souvenirs of your wicked deeds – a lock of hair, a ring, a ripped blouse. They will all fuel my inferno as soon as I get her out.

Yes, like the treasure buried in the ancient pharoah’s tomb, your treasures are cursed -- but you are no king. Although you want her to see you as her ruler, she never will.

I am no sarcophagus, yet you shroud us in darkness all day, with the only light switch on the outside of the locked door.

I will get her out – and then I will own you. These walls are closing in.

We talked for a long time today, she and I. She did most of the talking, and I tried to support her when she leaned on me. She knows all too well that I’m always there.

I listened as she talked about her family. Her siblings must be so worried, they’re surely searching tirelessly for her. She has two brothers who she’s pretty sure would like to rearrange your furniture, and her sister would hold her until the tears stopped coming.

I wish I could hold her like that, but I can only stand beside her, still and silent.

Her golden retriever, Dobby, likes to sleep in her bed. She misses him very much and would give anything to press her face into his comforting fur, but she’s glad he’s not here because he would be hurt by you.

Her students must be so scared. She sometimes smiles when speaking of silly Kaden with his jokes that make everyone laugh, and thoughtful Sophia who loves to help pick up the toys. Noah sometimes needs extra help and patience. She hopes the substitute is connecting with him. Mostly, she wants them to know she hasn’t left them by choice.

She’s worried about her fiancé – they were planning a spring wedding by the lake. She fears he may not want her now, after all you’ve done, and she’s not sure if she still wants it either. Closeness doesn’t feel safe to her anymore. Not even closeness to me.

I try to tell her it’s not her fault, but she feels responsible for all this pain. It was her idea to tour the country home for sale by owner. I can almost see my rooms filled with light, my halls dancing with the laughter of children and the scrambling of doggy paws at play. I could have been her future, their happy home.

Instead, I am her prison.

How could she have known then, with her heart full of dreams, that you would stalk her for weeks until you caught her alone? I was so hoping you would leave, with your strange games and sinister plans darkening every room I wrap around.

Against my will I’ve been made a part of this appalling game of yours, but how could she know I’m as much a prisoner as she? I’m as cold and hard on the outside as you are on the inside, with your stone heart, but who else does she have to talk to now? Only me.

“If only walls could talk…” she muses, rubbing her trembling hand across my face. I can sense her growing weaker by the day, so I try to send her my strength and steadiness through her palm that rests on me. I would bear it all for her if only I could.

There was a knock at the door today. You weren’t there to answer. She screamed as loudly as she could until her voice gave up.

I could only listen to the people stomping around the outer walls, rapping on windows and trying to pry open the boards you have nailed to cover them. I didn’t mind the pulling and piercing. It was the first time anyone came so close.

A radio crackled. “We need fire rescue to Partridge Street. It’s really boarded in, but we had an anonymous tip.”

“They’ll be about forty minutes. You guys are really out in the country!”

“Dammit. We’ll keep trying to get in.”

I heard them kicking at the door, but I know how you’ve fortified it. They won’t get through. Even if they do, their likelihood of finding the secret passage to her is slim. Maybe with the firetrucks…

The radio crackled again. “This is the chief. You don’t have probable cause. Come on back in, we’ll get a warrant and then you can go back out.”

“Chief, this place is really way out here. If the woman is inside, our leaving could put her at higher risk. You should see this place. Someone doesn’t want anyone getting in, that’s for sure.”

“Or the tip could be a dead end. Either way you need a warrant.”

“Want us to wait out here?”

“Neighbor said what – they thought they heard something on the day of the disappearance? Without more to go on, you’re more needed back in town. I’m sending you on another call, out to Hickory Street. We’ll get someone out there as soon as we have a warrant.”

I sensed the hesitation in their footsteps as they walked away. The clap of their vehicle’s door was like a cleaver striking a butcher block. The rumble of their engine like the roar of the shadow monsters that will haunt my halls one day. Because of you -- your shadows and your monstrosities -- I will be a haunt forever.

“No. No! No! NOOOOO!” she collapsed to the floor, her wails drowning out their sirens. I groaned as loudly as an old house could. I would have done more. I would have shouted loudly enough to split wall from wall and reveal all your sinister secrets and shine light on every darkened corner…

if these cursed walls could talk.

“She’s here! She’s here! Hurry! Find her! There’s a room underground! Save her! Help her, please!”

You were right, they never heard her scream.

You return in a rage. Something must have alerted you -- they are closing in. Your thunder echoes down my empty halls as you hit me again and again with your bat, coming closer to the secret basement room.

She is waiting. You didn’t think much of her kicking chips and chunks out of me, but these walls you built to hold her in are not the fortress you assume.

Today the police who came to the house brought hope. They are gone for now, but something stayed behind.


It’s in her eyes again. Today she hits me harder than she ever has, and a chunk of me comes off. A big enough chunk of cement that I almost think she hears my cry. It’s going to hurt you more than it hurts me, so I’m okay with it. Anything for her. These walls have seen enough.

She picks it up, stands behind the metal door, and waits.

You make such a show of hitting the bat against the door. You must believe she’s crumpled in the corner, terrified of your perceived power. You must be surprised to feel something strike you from behind. Then again, you barely have time for surprise as you fall facedown, the bat rolling from your hand, the cement block thumping to the floor near your head.

I don’t look away. It’s the last gift I can offer her, not to face that moment alone. I can’t deny it is extremely satisfying to watch you fall.

I see her find the gas can you had prepared for her sitting just outside the door of the little room and hesitate only a moment before carrying it upstairs with her. I feel it splash on my outer walls. I feel the flame begin as a spark from your lighter and grow to a consuming inferno.

I am strong. I would give every wall, door, and window to set her free. As my outer walls blaze, the rising smoke and shattering windows become my voice. The pain is welcome. Finally, my outside matches my inside.

You haven’t destroyed me. I want you to know that. You haven’t destroyed her, and there are no monsters haunting me.

She saved me from the haunting. As it turns out the only monster was you.

When the smoke reaches its pinnacle, it takes much less than forty minutes for the fire rescue to arrive.

Still, by then all that’s left is one cement room, buried underground, and the unconscious form that lays there.

It isn’t hers. It’s yours.

You left traces of yourself all over me, and all over her. We don’t need to speak to divulge all your secrets.

I warned you she was deafening.

I warned you she was mighty.

I warned you she was waiting.

Do you hear me now? If these walls could talk, they would say, We win.


**Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this story, you might also like these:

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About the Creator

Holly Pheni

This page is for dreamchasing, adventure, and catharsis. Hope my musings connect with others out there.


Creators I'm Loving:

Gina Jori Heather Dharrsheena Tiffany Babs

Cathy Misty Caroline Rick Mike Lonzo Scott

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  3. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  1. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  2. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

  3. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  4. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

  5. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

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Comments (35)

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  • JBaz21 days ago

    This was powerful, I was screaming in my head when they had to leave to get a warrant. Well done

  • Isa Ottoni22 days ago

    Wow! This is absolutely brilliant! I couldn´t "put it down" or in this case, look away! Incredibly well written! LOVE IT!

  • Emily Marie Concannonabout a month ago

    Omg Holly had no idea I wasn't subscribed yet! But I am now! This was powerful. As a woman, this spoke volumes! So good 😊

  • Skylar Whitney2 months ago

    This story had me hooked from beginning to end! I loved the voice and the narration of the wall. Really great take on this challenge!

  • KJ Aartila2 months ago

    This was an excellent story, and a joy to read! I wanted to know how it ended, and I' glad she escaped. Great job!

  • Allie Bickerton2 months ago

    Awesome, Holly!!! Congrats on Top Story! There were SO many great sentences in this piece! My favourite: “As my outer walls blaze, the rising smoke and shattering windows become my voice. The pain is welcome. Finally, my outside matches my inside.” So bone chillingly good. Good luck! 🙂

  • wow

  • Babs Iverson2 months ago


  • Gina C.2 months ago

    Congratulations on Top Story, Holly! This is an excellent piece! Oh my, your writing style is SO captivating. You really have mastered an incredible mix of poetic prose, mystery, and engaging pace. Wonderful story-telling skills!

  • Paul Stewart2 months ago

    Holly! this was incredible! It was just so good. I was hooked in and you just paced it beautifully and I really felt the wall was a person. It was so powerful! Well done on Top Story! So deserved!

  • Oluwatoyin Adeleke2 months ago

    It would have be wonderful

  • Wow, you have a Great manner of writing a story 💯❤️✌️💬🙏congrats on Top Story❗❗❗🎉🎊🎯

  • Tammie Peters2 months ago

    This is a really good piece of fiction. You create a consistent and believable character for the wall. Well done.

  • Scott Wade2 months ago

    Spectacular writing and great story Holly. Intense and compelling. Yay! Top Story is where it belongs 🥰🏆

  • Lakshmi Narashiman2 months ago

    Nice one. I am new here. Can you please go through my articles and let me know if you like them?

  • JD2 months ago

    congratulations 👏on Your Top Story

  • Gerald Holmes2 months ago

    WOW!! This is a fantastic piece of writing. Great writers lift me out of my seat and place me in the action. That's exactly what you did. I feel this is a winner.

  • Caroline Jane2 months ago

    Brilliant!!! Love this. 👍

  • Harmony Kent2 months ago

    Fantastic story, Holly! I was hooked the whole way through. Congratulations on being Top Story! Well deserved 💕🙂

  • Stefany Scales2 months ago

    Great job. So well thought out and emotional, I really enjoyed reading this piece!

  • D.L. Finn2 months ago

    Great story! It had me on the edge of my seat until the very end.

  • Feyre St. Clair2 months ago

    gripping. a great piece.

  • Tiffany Gordon 2 months ago

    Phenomenal work Holly! So powerful!

  • Apollo Derülo2 months ago

    Well written!

  • Samara Simson2 months ago

    Absolutely love it ! Congratulations on the Top Story. :) you gained a new subscriber.

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