PROMPT Plot Challenge: Bones in the Basement

Discussion in 'INSPIRING MUSES' started by Diana, May 25, 2011.


    Plot challenges are designed to help you think quick and be inspired. We often play this game in the cbox, shouting out random words or phrases and see what ideas first pop in to people's heads.

    To Participate: THINK FAST. Don't waste any time. The first idea(s) that comes to mind, write it down and post it!

    NOTE: If you decide to borrow someone's concept for a roleplay, make sure you give credit.

    Challenge Phrase
    Bones in the Basement
  2. Everyone knew the old man was crazy. Yu could hear him always muttering nonsence and he was always carrying an axe. "Fer wood choppin' young 'un" he'd say but he lived in suberbia. We though it would be fun to sneak into his basement. I prank, a dare, I can't remember which.... But inside we found bomes, human bones.. I whole damn butchery. Thats when we heard his footsps on the stair.... thunk... thunk... thunk...
  3. What a beautiful house! And you couldn't believe the great price you got it for! Lush green grass, flower garden, white picket fence... It even had a patio and a pool in the back! The only catch: the neighbors claim someone was murdered in that house and their body buried under the basement concrete floor. You shrug it off of course. Silly wives tales. You think nothing more of it. That is until strange things start happening...
  4. Am...Am I still alive? it seems like it has been so many years since that siren blared... Ma and Pa huddled together and dragged me and sue down into our basement, or as my father called it, the "Fortress of Solitude." They say we were safe as long as we stayed indoor. they said that it would be over in an months time. Pa got fed upafter 3 months in. Left to see if anyone was out there. Haven't seen him since. Ma, a religious woman, convinced herself this was the end quietly tried to put plastic bags over our heads. Believing the wild stories I heard on the radio, I thought she was a mutant from the bomb blast. I slammed my louieville slugger into her skull four times before I realize it was just Ma. Sue saw woke up in the cot next to me and thought I was crazy. She feld upstair, barrciding the door with God knows what. I can't get out anymore. Not that I wanted to. She shares Pa's fate now, as a person who sank into the uncertanty of what was left of the world. And I am still here, Me and the decaying body of Ma. I don't know when the supply is going to run out, but I reck it to be soon. Even though it smells awful, it seems to be a shame to just waste meat by letting mom just to rot on the cold dead cement. The oven seems like such a warmer place, wouldn't you agree?
  5. Anna had lived in the same house for three years, she knew every inch of the house. But suddenly she found a hidden entrance to a basement in the house, she got curious and started to walk down the stairs to the basement. When she came down she couldn't see anything, she searched after the switch to turn on the light and after some time she found it. When the lights got turned on she saw bones laying on the floor, it was bones from a human.

    The house was pretty new and she and her family were the only once that had ever lived there, so one of her family members must be the culprit. Who is the dead person? And who killed him or her? Anna and her friends would figure out this mystery.
  6. Joseph always found it strange that his uncle would never use the term 'Skeletons in the Closet,' replacing it instead with 'Bones in the Basement.' On numerous occasions he had dared to ask about it, contriving all manner of inventive ways to get his relative to explain it. But no matter how hard he tried, there never seemed to be a reason for the slight, twitching smile on old Uncle Bert's face when he said it. At least, not until a few months after he died.

    Unfortunately, the bones in Uncle Bert's basement were quite literal.
    • Nice execution! Nice execution! x 2
  7. Doctor Jameson knocked on the door to the unassuming farmhouse and waited. A woman who appeared to be about sixty or so answered the door and offered a wary smile, "Can i help you young man?"

    "Mrs. Blose?" he asked and she nodded, "Hello. I am Doctor Edward Jameson and I am here to talk to you about the possibility of purchasing your home and the surrounding lands."

    Edna Blose rose both brows and looked at the man like he'd done mad, "You want to buy this house?"

    "Yes Ma'am."

    "You sure?"

    "Yes Ma'am, I'm very sure."

    She opened the door all the way and let him in. She moved a bit slower than he did, somewhat bent over with arthritis or curved spine but she was spritely otherwise. She led him to the kitchen and pointed to the table there, "Let me get you some tea, young man. Not every day I get visitors."

    He nodded not wanting to put the woman off. They'd discovered a sizable oil deposit under this house and he'd been sent to secure the property for his company. He had said he was a doctor, and indeed he was. His doctorate was in geology, but she need not know that. he had planned to tell her he was a professor, which was not a lie since eh did teach adjunct classes for an online university.

    She made a pot of tea and poured him a cup offering him honey and lemon as well. He smiled and accepted the honey. "We are prepared to offer you market value, and a moving stipend to get you situated wherever you want to go, Mrs. Blose."

    Edna smiled, "That is rightly kind of you, and who is we?" she asked.

    "I represent a large company..."

    " you mean to tear the place down?"

    "Well...possibly, but not immediately. Is that a problem? Is there part of the house you'd like us to save from demolition? I can arrange that I believe." He had NO idea if he was lying about that, but he threw it out there anyway.

    "I was born here...lived here my whole life. hard to imagine it gone, you know?"

    "I suppose it would be."

    "Lot of memories here. So many people have come and gone..some stay though. Sometimes they can't leave the place behind." She was staring out the window wistfully as she spoke and he felt almost guilty about stealing this out from under her, when she was more than likely not aware of its true worth. Not guilty enough to tell her, but a little guilty all the same. "before you agree to buy this place I should show you something," she said as she stood and led him to a door at the far end of the room.

    She opened it and flipped on a switch and smiled over her shoulder, "I think you might reconsider after seeing this." she said as she went down the stairs.

    He was expecting to see a crack in the foundation, or some other home buying nightmare. What he saw upon reaching the bottom of the stairs elicited a gasp from his lips. The entire basement was full of bones, full body skeletons lined up like little soldiers some on top of others but all very neatly in rows circling the room.

    There Edna stood with a double barreled shotgun in her hands. "Be a good young man and come over and lie down in your place. Right here atop Mr. Kingston. He might still be warm even, so it won't be uncomfortable at all."

    He held up his hands and smiled, "Now...Mrs. Blose. You don't want to do this..."

    "Oh but I do, Doctor." she smiled back, "See...I started keeping visitors many years ago, and I can't have anyone knowing about it you see. I'm sure you understand my problem." She jabbed him with the rifle to get him moving and when he was in place she put the rifle on his forehead and pulled the trigger. "See there, now you can stay forever too. This is a nice lace to call home...I know you'll be comfortable." She hung the rifle up on the hook and went back up the stairs to finish her tea and wait for the next visitor.
    • Nice execution! Nice execution! x 1
  8. The basement had always been some dark, damp place that no one in their right mind would ever want to be in. Always. Except... This basement seemed different from the ones generally depicted in other homes. It was nicely finished, there weren't any exposed pipes, the walls were plastered and painted a warm, light color. Shelves decorated one wall, stark and impressive. The wood was almost black and lacquered to a beautiful shine, built in square pockets with one or two smaller shelves inside in a geometric pattern that drew the eye. A matching table with a glass middle was there as well, a box of rolled papers and trinkets set on the corner, a smaller pile of rolled paper beside it. It was tall, hip height like a workbench, with a smaller box like table wheeled underneath. Essentially it made a lightbox- likely for tracing maps, blueprints, sketches.

    However, the most impressive portion of the basement was the collection of three skeletons carefully pieced together in animated poses. They were contained in glass cases, meticulously adjusted until each joint lined up perfectly. These creatures each had their own unique features. One... was a bird? But it didn't look like any natural bird on earth. It had a tail, curled around the bottom of the box at least one and a half times, coiling inwardly around its taloned feet. Thin razor-like teeth framed the edges of it's opened beak, and long quill-like spines ran down its vertebrae.

    The other looked like a hulking bear, fingers long with pointed claws and rounded teeth, rows upon rows, shrinking the further they went back into its mouth like pearls. The ribs were... almost fused together, arches of space between them as they came around to the spine, webbing of bone thin and angled in a way to allow the light to pass through.

    The third was barely describable. There were many limbs, each set different from the one before, and the skull was a mash of all types, something about it screamed snake, and human, and the wide sockets with thin orbital bones brought forth the thought of an owl. This one left a sense of unease that grew the longer you examined it. Why these bones were kept in the basement of an old, refurbished Victorian townhouse, no one knew. Why that townhouse was in the center of a dense and otherwise impassable forest, was another unknown factor.
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  9. Tchaw knelt down to the floor of the cellar, feeling through the silt with her fingers. The little boy stood up at the top of the stairs as the saffron-robed monk took the dirt up into her hands and sifted. Small grains of something sharp came up in her palms, and her eyes seemed to glaze over as she peered around her.

    The room went hazy as her third eye opened to the world of spirits, the planes of this reality peeled away to showcase the rips and tears in the walls, the torn fingernails stuck in the dirt, to the ground, in the wooden ceiling, and the general discontent in the air around her tasted like stale woodsmoke. She closed her third eye, as well as both physical eyes, and stood up from the floor with the help of a carved staff.

    "You said this was your grandfather's cellar?" Tchaw asked softly, turning her bald head towards the boy.

    The child, dirty and unkempt, nodded fearfully.

    "Mae and Kun-Paw said not to ever come here, but they got really sick suddenly. The maw pii said he thinks it's ghosts, and this place feels really haunted. I used to hear stuff, like fingernails scratching at the floors," the boy said, glancing up to the wide planks crossing over their heads.

    Tchaw's face remained neutral. Her eyes squinted shut as she smiled kindly at the boy and said, "Could you take me to your grandfather? I think I need to talk to him a little bit."

    Within the folds of her robe, she gripped her bladed plumb line.
    • Like Like x 1


    Hair and fingernails don't grow after death. That's a myth, see. An urban legend. Like sewer gators and the Loch Ness Monster. It's the skin cells around the hair and nails dying and losing moisture, is all, making it look as though they're still growing when they're not.

    When I dumped my sister's body into the well in our basement, she already had long hair. Her proudest feature, I think: she spent hours combing it. As the lifeless chunk of flesh that had been my only sibling plunged down into the darkness her hair seemed to flow after her in a trail, pale as a bridal gown drifting in her wake. It was the last thing I thought I was going to see of her.

    They searched for her, of course. Mum and dad, I mean. The whole town did, big groups of them stomping through fields and over hills in big lines to try and find any sign of where my sister had disappeared to. I think the story even made the national news. But I'd been careful. Very careful. The immediate family are always the ones the police look to for suspects, see. So I'd packed a bag of my sister's clothes and belongings, the things she'd need if she was going away somewhere. The things she treasured. To top it all off I took the ivory hairbrush mum gave her for her birthday, the one thing she valued most of all, and placed it at the top of the bag.

    Then I sealed it all up and dropped it down the hole in her basement after her.

    It was a nice touch, I thought. Like how the Vikings sent their dead off to sea with their most prized possessions. Like how the Egyptians used to bury their pharaohs with their riches.


    For the next month or two the search for my seemingly missing sibling was in full swing. News vans outside the old house we lived in, recording tearful pleas from my mother and my stony-faced father as he did his best to hold himself together. I was a little sorry to see them in such a state, but overall it was for the best. Soon enough the media circus outside our home began to subside, the searches became fewer and smaller. People were losing in the story, moving on with their lives or on to the next tragedy to befall some unfortunate soul living somewhere else. My sister must have run away somewhere, the police eventually began to say. She packed a bag after all, they pointed out. She'd make contact soon enough, they assured my mum and dad. Just teenage girl stuff. It happens. Nothing new here. Give it a bit of time, is all.

    Meanwhile I was hovering in the background, the seemingly grieving sibling of the missing girl, not quite believing my luck.


    It was an old house we lived in, you see. There for a century at least. The sort of place you could imagine screaming maidens in white dresses from a gothic novel fleeing down the corridors with snarling horrors in pursuit. The basement was the most sprawling section of all, stretching out underneath the house like roots and spreading down into the hill it was built on top of. That was where I had found the old well, exploring down in the gloom one day.

    The moment I laid eyes on it, I knew it was perfect for what I had in mind.


    It was maybe three months after I had dropped my sister's lifeless corpse down into the darkness of the well that I awoke one night to see something lying in the middle of my room.

    Something that I knew should not, could not be there.

    The ivory was worn and stained with mould. The bristles were thinning and frail, like the hair on a chemo patient's head. Yet even with such changes, there was no mistaking what I was looking at. Sliding out of bed and trying to fight through the sinking feeling in my chest, I picked up my dead sister's hairbrush and turned it over in my hands. Caught in the grip of the remaining bristles were a few strands of whispy white hair, another unwelcome change from when last I had seen it: my sister had been almost as meticulous with keeping her brush clean as she was with pulling it through her hair.

    My first thought was that I was discovered, that my actions were finally known. But once I steadied my heartbeat and focused my breathing, I knew this couldn't be the case. If my parents or someone else had discovered what I had done, they wouldn't simply be leaving reminders of it. Which meant only one thing.

    Clutching a claw hammer and my dead sister's hairbrush, I stole through the sleeping house and descended down into the labyrinth-like basement. I re-traced the steps I had taken three months before, coming to a stop before the crumbling brickwork of the ancient well that had become the hiding place for my crime. At a passing glance it looked just as it had when I had last stood there, watching my sister vanishing down into the dark.

    Then I looked closer, and I saw something new.

    Something that made even my heart jump.

    It stretched like veins up a stone arm, snaking and trailing up out from the gloom as though reaching for the edge of the well. Pale white and knotted, clumping in places, the hair was more akin to tangled rope. Standing stark against the gloomy stone it gripped, I found myself imagining that it was reaching up after me. My dead sister's prized asset, returning to pull me back down where I had thrown her.

    With a shuddering rush of breath I flung the brush back down to my sister's final resting place. I found the old wooden pallet that had covered the well when I first stumbled across it, pulling it back over the dark chasm stretching down into the earth and covering it with a half-rotten sheet of tarpaulin for good measure.

    Then I turned and fled like a cornered thief, back up into the safety of my family home. Sleep did not come easily that night.


    Hair and nails are some of the strongest parts of the human anatomy, see. Almost as strong and long-lasting as bone. When death comes the rest of us rots away quickly; skin recedes and dries out, organs turn to mush as the bacteria our immune system once held in check run rampant. But the hair and nails, held together by coiled keratin proteins? That lingers on far longer. Longer than two years if conditions are right.

    This is what I found myself thinking about, after the discovery of that brush on my bedroom floor. For weeks afterwards I would pore over medical books from dad's office, trawl through articles online. I'm sure my parents were chalking it up to some aspect of the grieving process: they were already quite certain that my sister was dead. I had been under the same impression as well.

    By then, I was not so certain.


    It was almost a month to the day after my discovery of the brush that I was snapped awake by troubled dreams to find the bag seeping dark, stained water onto my bedroom floor.

    The clothes that I had hastily stuffed into it were hanging from it, the zip broken and falling away from the main material of the canvas. I could see a few waterlogged mementos, photographs and paintings that had once covered the walls of her room, lying around it. The claw hammer was out from under my pillow and in my hands as I lurched out of bed to throw on the lights, searching the bedroom and throwing open closet doors in pursuit of some unseen foe.

    But with every corner I checked, every cupboard I threw open, I found myself staring only at empty space or my own panicked reflection.

    Once more I descended down into the basement, sopping wet bag hanging from my shoulder, a flashlight in one hand and the claw hammer in the other. The passages and underground corridors, once a refuse, felt like foreign territory to me now. Like I had just stepped down into a forest, patrolled and guarded by wolves that lurked just outside my vision.

    My flashlight lit up the white tendrils seeping up from the well before it illuminated the pallet, thrown clear of the mouth and lying in pieces to one side. Hair had given way to something more solid, warping and forming itself into strands of nail that spread up from the abyss of its interior and seeming to clutch at the edges of the brickwork. Before I knew what I was doing I found the hammer swinging down in my hand, a guttural cry escaping my lips as I drove my weapon down onto one of the strands of nail and smashing it into powder.

    Time and meaning seemed to blur and blend into a flurry of rage and destruction, my hammer swinging wildly as I tore into the strands of nail snaking up from the place hiding my darkest secret. When I finally regained my senses I was panting, sweating, my arms shaking with exertion. Shards and scraps of the strange tendrils coated the murky floor, coated the sides and edges of the well. Coated me. Recoiling with horror at the sight of the powdered nail coating my shirt I began to brush myself down furiously, desperately, before finally tearing the shirt off and hurling it down into the well. It took several long minutes before I recovered myself sufficiently to start cleaning up after myself again, shivering all the while.

    Finally, when the powdered nail was kicked and spread across the floor, when the larger shards were hurled down from where they seemed to have spread from, I threw the pallet onto the walls and began to drag it back into place.
    "You're dead," I found myself hissing down into the black abyss looming up at me, "You're dead, sister. Stay that way. Stay down there."

    Yet I knew, even as I dragged the plastic sheeting over the mouth of the well, that she had no intention of obeying my order.


    In the day that followed my discovery of my sister's bag I did not wait quietly. I had not managed to get away with everything I had by simply waiting quietly for whatever fate had in store for me, after all. Instead I busied myself preparing for what I now believed to be an inevitable third confrontation. A final confrontation one way or another, I could not help but suspect.

    Nails burn just as easily as anything else, you see. They're not like bone in that regard. The keratin proteins might be incredibly tough and resilient, but there's very little in the world that can stand up to heat and fire once it gets going. Such was my thinking as I siphoned off fuel from my father's lawnmower, storing it in an old whisky bottle with a rag stuffed into its throat. From the kitchen I retrieved one of the lighters that mother used for her alarmingly large collection of candles: combined with my now well-used hammer, my improvised arsenal was complete.

    Sleep was out of the question, not now that I knew something was growing down in the depths of the house. Instead I spent the day restless, pacing, running things over and over in my head. Trying to make sense of the senseless, to find reason in something that seemed to defy the concept with its very nature. My sister was dead, after all. Dead and buried. Hair and nails don't grow after death.

    That's a myth, see. An urban legend.

    As night fell and my parents drifted like mourners at a funeral to their bedroom, I wrapped myself in my jacket and descended down into the basement one final time. I wielded the hammer in one hand and flashlight in the other, my improvised incendiary and lighter stuffed into the pockets of my jacket. Keeping my breathing as steady as I could muster, I drew ever closer to the place I had sought to bury my crime. The place that I truly believed would never be found, that would allow me to escape from what I had done to my only sibling.

    The flashlight lit up the hair and nail as I drew in towards the well. No longer tendrils and branches but roots, thick and gleaming in the harsh light I projected onto it, gripping the edges of the stonework like vices. Hair wound its way around the nail trunks like razorwire, pale and sharp, pulsing and contracting with a life of its own. From the centre of the well two more trunk-like nail protrusions had made their way up from the dark, combining together with the others to form a stark white canopy that spread over the mouth of the well.

    She hung from them, my sister, water still running down her sodden, waterclogged frame. In the gloom of the basement it was hard to tell where she ended and her new apendages began, but as I stepped closer into the empty space that the well was hidden within I knew her attention was locked upon me. My flashlight and hammer hit the floor with a sound that was lost amidst the sight before me. Swallowing, I held aloft the whisky bottle as I raised the lighter up towards it.

    The wire-like hair contracted and twisted like pulleys and an echoing, crunching groan echoed through the darkness as the bones I had thought to hide away in the basement began to reach for me.
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  11. An ancient being resides in a normal suburban family's basement- but the dragon is practically a skeleton by now, and too weak to do anything but make sarcastic remarks and leave scorch marks on the ceiling. How did it fit in the basement, you ask? Simple! The dragon is tiny, and lives on one of the shelves among a horde of stolen coins and various shiny objects. Avoiding mouse traps is an adventure.
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