In today's Tuesday Tease we have some excellent horror from British horror author Kit Tinsley's novel 'Beneath':
Excerpt from chapter five of ‘Beneath’ by Kit Tinsley
I shimmied slowly down the rope. In the darkness I had no awareness of the space around me or how big it was. I couldn’t shake the irrational feeling that, somehow, the dog had dug a hole straight out of the reality of our dimension and had fallen into the emptiness between worlds, and here I was dangling into eternity. This was not completely irrational. Though I was a biochemist, I had house-shared with two physicists at university. Many nights had been spent with Jim and Mark discussing inter-dimensional theories, how our reality was only one in an infinite number of realities. They often discussed whether our laws of physics would only apply in our universe. Theories suggested there were points where the different dimensions met; these were called wormholes. As I slowly descended on that rope, I wondered if one of those wormholes existed in my garden. Though Jim and Mark had always said that they most likely existed in deep space, there was theoretically no reason why they could not exist here on earth.
Eventually I reached the bottom. The floor at the bottom was much more even and solid than I had expected. I felt something warm nudge against my leg. I let out a little scream. I tugged the torch from my belt and switched it on. I should have known that my assailant in the dark was none other than Mojo. I looked down at him. He was still shaking, but upon me reaching down and stroking his head I saw his tail begin to wag, though not as vigourously as usual. He was covered in dust from down here, but on initial assessment, he didn’t appear to be bleeding.
‘Are you okay?’ Rachel shouted from above. ‘Have you found Mojo?’
‘Yeah,’ I shouted back, again my voice echoing. ‘He looks all right.’
I picked the dog up. I felt his back and ribs. They seemed fine. His only reaction was to try to lick me to death. I felt his front legs again. They seemed fine. When I squeezed his back left leg, though, he let out a little yelp.
‘I’m sorry, mate,’ I said to settle him. I looked up to the hole I had come through. ‘His back leg seems to be hurting him a little. I don’t think it’s broken but it might be an idea to take him to the vet.’
‘You coming back up with him?’ Bill shouted in response. I thought about it, but I really didn’t like the idea of being pulled up.
‘No, I’ll tie him onto the rope and you can pull him up, then throw the rope back down for me.’
‘Okay, make sure it’s a secure knot you use. Wouldn’t want the little bugger falling down again,’ Bill replied.
I tied the rope tightly around Mojo’s chest. As he got pulled up the loop around him would pull up against his front legs, stopping him from slipping.
‘Alright. Pull him up.’
‘Okay,’ Bill responded. He must have begun to slowly pull the rope out because Mojo began to rise. He looked confused but didn’t struggle to get free too much. I stood below him as he rose up through the air, keeping him in the torch’s beam. If he did manage to wriggle out of the rope, at least I would be able to catch him. It was amazing he had survived a fall like that once with only minor injuries. I didn’t want to risk him doing it again.
As I saw him disappear out of the hole I heard Rachel shout ecstatically.
‘Mojo!’ I imagined her running over to him and showering him with kisses, which he would accept and return in spades.
Suddenly I realised that I had not even had a look around. I still didn’t know where I was. Bill’s initial idea that it was a cave now seemed unlikely due to the smoothness of the floor and the stone work I could see above me when I was watching Mojo rise up. At first, I thought that maybe it was the remains of the hospital basement. Most hospitals built in the last sixty years had cavernous underground areas. They contained all the pipes that worked hard to heat the large buildings. Then I remembered that the larger, more recent hospital buildings had been further into the estate. We were near where the mental ward had stood. That building had been built in the 1800s as a workhouse. It was unlikely that it would have had a basement at all, let alone one this large.
I shone the torch around. It was an enormous space, the size of at least two football pitches, maybe even three. The stonework was all sandstone, not red brick, suggesting to me that it was old. There was a series of carved arches that went up on either side, meeting in the vaulted ceiling. Above my head crudely carved faces were staring down. It was like being in a church.
‘Heads up!’ came a shout from above, making me jump. The rope came down, hitting the floor with a hard thud. ‘Ready to come back up?’
I realised that for the first time since I had climbed down through the hole I wasn’t thinking about going back up. The place had me curious.
‘Can you hold on a minute?’ I shouted back, finally getting used to the way my voice reverberated. ‘I want to check this place out.’
‘Okay, Indy,’ Bill shouted down, laughing.
‘Dan,’ Rachel joined in. ‘Get back up here.’
‘It’s all right, baby,’ I said. ‘It’s safe enough down here.’
‘Be careful,’ she said. ‘I can’t feel a break on Mojo’s leg, by the way, and he seems to be walking okay on it. I think it’s just bruised.’
‘That’s good,’ I said. ‘Better take him to the vet on Monday just to check it out, though.’
‘Just give us a shout when you wanna come up,’ Bill said. ‘Don’t just grab the rope. I’m not holding it at the minute.’
I continued exploring the space below. The vast chamber stretched up to about level with the front of our house in one direction and well into the field in the other. I couldn’t tell exactly how far, as my torch beam didn’t reach far enough to light that end up. I headed in that direction.
The sheer size and grandeur blew me away. It was like I was walking through an underground church, except there were no pews. I remembered the rumours I had heard about the mad doctor in the asylum before Bill had told me the true horror that had happened. In those exaggerated tales I had heard before, people said that the evil Dr Richards was in league with the Devil. They said he was some kind of Satan worshipper. It occurred to me that maybe there had been some truth in those stories and that this was the scene of some kind of evil worship and ritual.
I pushed this thought to the back of my mind. There was, of course, no truth in those stories. Bill had been one of the police officers who had investigated the case. He said that Richards had never said anything about devil worship. He had confessed to everything. He offered no reason. He said that the idea had just come to him when he had started working at the hospital.
Ahead of me I saw the end of the room. It opened up into three concave arches. The two on either side were shorter and thinner than the central arch which went almost to the ceiling. I had seen similar structures in many churches in the past. The word chancel popped into my head, though I was not sure that it was exactly the right description.
In front of the central arch stood a squat stone structure. At first I thought it was an altar. This brought the idea of Satan worship back to the front of my mind. What if this had been the altar used for human sacrifices?
Then I realised that the main structure was round. I estimated it had a diameter of about six or seven feet. On top of it was placed a large, smooth stone. It must have been at least a foot thick and, I presumed, weighed a tonne.
The stones that made up the circular structure were darker rock than any of the other stone work down here. Whereas everything else was made of smoothly carved sandstone, this was made of various kinds of stone, that were all irregular sizes and shapes. It reminded me of the dry stone walls I had seen when walking around the Yorkshire dales and moors. I don’t know why, but I got the feeling that this structure was older than anything else down here.
I reached out my hand to touch it. I had barely grazed the surface with my finger when I jerked my hand away. It was freezing, the kind of cold that hurts. Pain shot up from my fingertips like an electric shock jumping up my arm. The air down here certainly was cooler than it had been back up in the garden, but these stones were unnaturally cold.
A wave of nausea came over me. Years ago Rachel and I had taken a ferry over to Ireland. On the way out the weather had been fine and so had I. On the way back, though, a storm had hit and the waves were vicious. The boat rocked violently. Rachel had taken it in her stride. I, on the other hand, had turned green and spent the rest of the trip throwing up. The feeling I felt now in my stomach was exactly the same. I turned to head back to the rope. Panic grabbed hold of me. At that moment the only thing I wanted was to get away from there and never return. There was no reason for this, but I felt in a state of pure terror. I took no more than two steps before I dropped onto my knees. I started to wretch. Nothing would come. It was just that dry heaving that pulls your stomach and chest muscles so much they hurt for days.
I began to crawl back to the rope, the hole, the real world. When I was a few feet away from the stone structure the feelings were gone, both the nausea and the pain. The panic faded. Perhaps the whole incident had been my imagination. I looked back at the circular stone structure. I felt compelled to touch it again.
‘Dan? Are you okay?’ came Rachel’s voice from above. ‘You’ve been down there ages.’
The thought of touching the stones again was gone. It was time to leave. I started heading back to the rope.
‘I’m fine,’ I shouted. ‘Just coming back now if you wanna get hold of the rope, Bill.’
‘Will do, mate,’ Bill shouted in reply.
I virtually ran back to the rope and grabbed hold of it. I kicked off my shoes and took off my socks. I tucked the socks into the shoes and then tied them to my belt by the laces. I climbed up the rope as quickly as I could.
Kit Tinsley is an English horror author. He is a fan of all things horror. He graduated form DMU Leicester in 2002 with a BA (hons) in Media Studies and English. Since then he has spent time teaching both subjects in secondary and further education.
He has also worked on several independent films, Writing a film called 'Red Route' in 2007. Unfortunately the film, which Kit also acted in, has been lost in post production hell since completion.
Most recently he has worked on production of a film called 'Shadows of a Stranger', working with actors from the popular T.V shows Doctor Who, Rainbow and Torchwood, as well as an actor who appeared in both 'Batman Begins' and 'The Dark Knight'. The film is being prepared for its release as we speak.
Kit is also a musician, He is lead vocalist/guitarist for a punk/folk/rock band called Dog Goblins.
He was born in Shropshire in 1978, but has lived in Lincolnshire since 1985.
He lives with his wife and their young son.
For more information visit
Books by Kit Tinsley on Amazon: