Why did it have to happen like this? All he wanted was to get his best friend back. He had no further desire to explore the mysteries of his basement and the secret tunnel. He didn't really care about where it led, what else was in it, or who used it for what. It didn't matter and it didn't concern him. But Shmee, well that was a different story. Shmee had been his best friend since he was a baby. Shmee was a "gift" given to him when he was a newborn from his parents, hoping that by giving him a toy, he'd shut up for five minutes. He was a surprisingly gentle baby and that's why he had lasted so long without falling apart at the seams. In fact, that only happened because Nny stabbed him for information.
In any case, Todd decided to be brave and go to any lengths necessary to retrieve his stuffed companion. When he got home that day from school, he scurried around his house, gathering tools like flashlights, bandanas, jackets, hats, etc. He bundled himself up, throwing on jeans in place of his shorts, his thick winter boots, a form-fitting jacket, and a simple black beanie that he found randomly in the closet. He grabbed the bandana and tied it up so it was covering his mouth and nose. About the only thing he was missing was a pair of goggles to protect his eyes. He went outside and grabbed a broken piece of a kitchen chair from his other neighbor's garbage before he even though about opening his basement door. He figured he'd either be too scared to use it or too scared and overuse it. He brought it anyway.
He twisted the door knob and quickly forced it open, clicking on the flashlight and shinning it down the narrow stairway. Had it always been this long and creepy? He took a few steps down, getting himself used to how the stairs creaked under his feet. The sound disturbed him, but he swallowed the lump in his throat and kept moving. He hurried the rest of the way down, shinning his light back up the stairs now and confirming that the door was still open. He wanted a quick escape if it was needed.
Finding himself already halfway there, Todd turned and walked over to the crawlspace that he knew led to the tunnel. He got down on his knees and shinned his light, looking for any signs of bugs or other scary things before he crawled into the tight space. His light caught something that he could just barely see, but he gasped when he took a closer look. He was practically crawling in after it, sticking his head in for a better look. The thing appeared to be one of Shmee's limbs. So, being overly excited, Todd squirmed the rest of the way in, only to have his heart sink when he reached the other side.
There in front of him lay the tattered remains of an incomplete Shmee. Todd recognized the extremely dirty brown fabric as one of Shmee's arms and a whole lot of stuffing. Remaining on his knees, Todd stared at the ground, refusing to look at his friend's broken pieces, and choked out a quick sob. Tears formed at the brim of his eyes, but he wouldn't allow himself to sit there and cry. The rest of Shmee was down there with him and he had to keep going. So he reached out, still not looking, and grabbed his arm and some stuffing and shoved them in his pocket. He'd find a way to fix him later.
After about a minute, he finally decided to rise to his feet. His legs were shaking and his eyes were still glistening from the tears, but Todd refused to go back. He set out with a purpose: find Shmee and bring him back. He wasn't going anywhere, no matter how much he desperately wanted to, without his buddy.
So he held out his flashlight, best as he could considering that his entire body was an unstable mess. He took baby steps down the tunnel, taking careful notice of the corpses around him. He held his bandana closer to his face, pathetically trying to block out the ungodly smell. It did little for him. He kept his distance from either side of the tunnel walls, really not wanting a corpse to fall and bump into him, and clung tightly to the stick he was carrying. The last thing he needed to do was panic (even more than he already was) and run away.
And much to Todd's surprise, the tunnel was extremely short. It wasn't long before he reached the other side and saw another small crawlspace. He concluded that it must lead to Nny's basement and the thought horrified him further. If his own basement scared him to death, what would Nny's basement be like? But shaking the awful thoughts out of his head, Todd got on his knees and quickly crawled through the equally tight space and popped out unharmed on the other end.
Unharmed, but… wet. He shined his light down at his hand and saw that he had stuck it in a puddle of liquidy stuff. It was too thick and cloudy to be water, and when he brought his hand up, it clung to his skin. His hair stood on end and a shiver rocketed up his spine. He was about ready to scream until something else caught his eye. Moving his flashlight, he caught sight of what looked like both of Shmee's legs and some more stuffing. Completely forgetting about the unknown substance stuck to his hand, he wiped it on his pants and got up.
Walking over to the other body parts, Todd couldn't help but feel like breaking. He let some silent tears fall, finding himself unable to sob like he did last time. He knew that it was only going to get worse. Pretty soon he'd find his other arm, his body, and eventually… his head. So swallowing another lump, he shoved more pieces into his pockets, and moved on. He was starting to feel really sick and uneasy, but he was too far along to run away.
He walked around, finding himself hugging the wall, though it was rough and uneven. He felt around it, shinning his flashlight all over. He just couldn't get a good look at anything without more light. So it was his lucky day when he ran into the light switch after his foot collided with some hard wooden object. He flipped it on quickly, dying to be able to see clearly again. Although, he soon changed his mind and wished that he had never come in the first place.
This tiny basement room was completely destroyed. The walls were scratched to Hell, the floor was stained with God only knows what. The blood everywhere was a given and there were even obvious drag marks where someone had pulled the victims' bodies across the floor and into the crawlspace. Todd looked down and saw that he had managed to kick the bottom step of the severely shaky and old staircase. This thing was crooked, missing steps, the railing looked like it was being supported by thin air, and it just screamed 'death trap.'
Todd's eyes were frozen wide open. His heart had sped up so much that it felt like it was going to leap from his chest and commit suicide at such an awful sight. This was somehow worse than the tunnel full of dead bodies. But the straw that broke the camel's back was when he felt something moist and goopy hit his head. He reached up and pulled off his beanie, still unsure of where it came from, and examined it. It looked like the exact same wet stuff he stuck his hand in just a moment ago. So he looked up, trying to locate its source, and was terrified beyond his wildest dreams when he saw it just dripping from the ceiling like water dripping from a leaky pipe.
Unable to control himself any longer, Todd let out an Earth shattering scream. He bounded up the stairs as fast as he could, skillfully and mindlessly avoiding the missing steps, and clinging to the wall as the railing veered and broke off. He rammed his body into the door at the top, not bothering to just turn the knob. He easily ripped the old rickety thing off its hinges, but he grabbed it and thrust it back up, trying to at least block the opening he had created.
Which leads us to where we are now. After Todd had entered that room at the top of the stairs, he sealed his fate. He went snooping around too early, without any help or company from anyone. Had he waited and asked for Pepito to go with him, or even tried to weasel Devi into it (yeah, right), he wouldn't be in his current predicament. Yes, fate – something unavoidably befalling on a person, determining the rest of their lives. It was cruel and harsh, unfair and unrelenting, and it knew nothing of kindness or compassion. It was whatever it was.
And unfortunately for Todd, fate was rather bitchy today. On the wall before him, he found old chains and ropes, nails and blades… just things in general that were used to hold things to the wall. And by the looks of it, people were hung up there. Everything was rusted, tattered, and covered in some sort of vile substance. Blood, dirt, saliva, snot… lots of things. And at the very top of the wall hung a very worn Shmee. His arm was tied up with a rope, casually swinging back and forth. His body was hung up by a chain, the stuffing being squeezed out of it because it was on so tight. And his head was viciously nailed in the middle of it all. His eyes had been ripped off, he only had one ear intact, and his teddy bear smile was slit and stuffing poured out from the opening.
Todd took a few steps back, still not believing what he was seeing. Dropping his wooden stick, he let the tears fell down his face for a third time as he tripped over his own two feet and fell backwards. He did nothing to brace himself, only curling up into a tight ball and putting his hands over his eyes. His body wracked with heartbreaking sobs as he spiraled out of control on the floor. He dropped his flashlight and his hat flew off his head. He was now a broken mess, lost in unfamiliar territory, and ripe for the picking.
Another door creaked open, but Todd didn't hear it. All anyone could hear was his cries of despair. A long, crimson-ish colored tentacle reached in and snaked its way around his body. He hadn't noticed it until it finally tightened its grip. It clamped down on his body like a boa constrictor and hoisted him up in the air, effortlessly dragging his stiff form up a new flight of stairs and into an entirely different room. And this was his fate.
"A/N: I'm really sorry that I haven't updated this in such a long time. I've been busy with school, and the time that I have had to write, I just didn't feel like writing for this. I wanted to write more romance type stuff, so I wrote some other one-shots to let it out. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this chapter. One day I'll get back to Devi's point of view, but I think I'm going to run with what happens to Todd for a little while longer. Anyway, please enjoy this update and reviews are always loved."