The Basement (Part One), by Kevin Lazarus

Kevin Lazarus on the streets of Carthage Falls

Kevin Lazarus in Carthage Falls

(From: The Dark Side of Carthage Falls, the Anthology – by Kevin Lazarus)

Somewhere between the silence of my bedroom and the darkness, I found myself staring at the ceiling. Disoriented, my eyes followed it across and down to my closet door, sitting slightly ajar. The long slender opening was apparent only because it was darker than the night in my room. I half expected to see the door move all by itself, opening further. With that image in my head, a chill flowed through me as I rolled over in my bed and hid my face. I’d been asleep for awhile, yet for some unknown reason I was now awake. Though being awakened in the middle of the night was not an uncommon experience for me. Often it would happen when my mother and my stepfather were having one of their many arguments, screaming and yelling at each other late at night.

Unable to sleep, I rolled back over and looked around my room carefully. The street light shining through my bedroom window gave me some light to see by, but it was of little comfort. Memories of that night and the shadow from that window were still fresh in my mind. I tried shrugging it off as I continued looking over my room. Everything was right where I had left it; my clothes hanging on the chair in the corner; my dresser–with several of the drawer’s partially open–untouched.

It seemed that there wasn’t much in my room or my life, for that matter, that didn’t have disturbing memories attached to it. I pulled the blankets closer grateful for the warmth–and buried my face in my pillow trying to hide my eyes.

I had no idea why I was awake. And though I couldn’t put my finger on it, there was something off about my surroundings. It was almost as if in the twilight everything in my room had a strange shine to it. It was then that I realized that this was one of those times, when weird stuff would happen.

I glanced back at the closet door and cringed. The words quietly slipped out of my mouth. “Please don’t move.”

At that my eyes darted back to the chair and then the dresser–and then at that stupid troll sitting on my shelf. The darkness made its grotesque grin and spastic looking hair an unwelcome sight. At that moment I felt a twinge of regret at having accepted Brett’s peculiar birthday present. If it had moved I wouldn’t have been surprised in the least. Disturbed maybe, but not surprised. Way too many strange things had happened to me since we’d moved to this screwy little town.

Struggling and unable to fall back to sleep, my mind seemed obsessed with the memories from the day when the storm hit–when I was all alone in the house. Unwanted sounds plagued my thoughts. I could almost hear the eerie voices whispering and calling to me. Sadness swelled inside of me when I remembered huddling beneath the throw rugs as the storm formed drifts of snow around me. A gnawing feeling at the pit of my stomach turned until it began to ach. I tossed back and forth several more times in my bed trying to make the thoughts go away, until–I heard something–a noise! My body stiffened. Still nestled beneath my blankets, I listened more carefully.

From all of my rustling beneath the covers, I couldn’t be sure what I had heard or–if I had heard anything. I knew the sound could’ve come from me. Perhaps when I’d moved I had bumped against something. In an attempt to recreate the noise I tried moving around. There was nothing unusual, but the sound of my blankets rustling. A moment of solace hit me as I felt the sheets brush against me. They felt good–safe. For some reason their scent was more appealing than ever before.

And then it happened again–another sound! The same as I’d heard a moment earlier! I was sure of it. It was faint and distant. And then it was gone! Where it was coming from was unknown to me.

Once again, a familiar uneasiness washed over me as I slowly sat up, continuing to listen. If it were possible for silence to have weight, I was feeling every bit of it at this very moment. I slowed my breathing, drawing in the air with faint shallow breaths. I had to be sure that it wasn’t me I was hearing. But before I could exhale, a disturbing thought hit me–could it be him? Could it be my stepfather making those noises? I suddenly felt ill.

My eyes were drawn to my bedroom door, half expecting to see him standing there in the doorway; hiding in the shadows as he’d done before–staring at me. Fortunately, from the streetlight I could see that my bedroom door was still closed. I let out a quiet sigh, grateful to know that he wasn’t there. Though my relief would be short lived, instantly obliterated–by another sound.

A loud thud startled me! As if someone had thrown a baseball against the wall, and then like before, it ended. I slid back into the corner of my bed and waited. It didn’t take long before another one happened, a little louder than the last. I cringed. It was quickly followed by more strange noises. I pressed myself into the corner a little further. One noise in particular sounded as if something metal was being pushed across a floor.

At that moment I realized where they were coming from–the basement! Crawling back to the front of my bed, I cautiously hung my head over the edge and listened. Somewhat troubled by the fact that I was no longer wrapped in the safety of my bedding, I still couldn’t resist the temptation to discover more about the curious racket. I could feel the blood rushing to my head as I hung there in the dark listening, attempting to figure out as much as I could. I was now sure that it wasn’t my imagination. I could actually hear something. A little more boldly, I slipped out of my bed and as quietly as possible laid on the floor, placing my ear against the floorboards.

For the longest time, I laid there listening to a myriad of curious noises coming from the basement. Once more, I heard something large being scooted across the floor, but this time as if it was being moved directly under me. The sound was erratic, moving in spurts. There were other noises that sounded like scratching and clawing against metal, as if some large animal was gnawing at its own cage. There was also a banging noise coming from my stepfather’s work bench.

I quietly sat up stunned. Was it possible that he was up–at this hour of the night–working in the basement? He’d never done anything like that before. Right then I realized there was only one way I was going to know. I looked up at my bedroom door and then at the doorknob.


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Copyright 2011 Kevin Lazarus/DreamStream Productions Inc.

For earlier chapters from The Dark Side of Carthage Falls, the Anthology, check out “Categories: Creepy Books”

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By Kevin Lazarus

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