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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Dark · #2293005
Who's afraid of being trapped in the darkness of the crowded basement? Definitely Melanie.
The stairwell crawled into darkness, where a small child cried. Melanie stood at the top, staring into the depths.

She asked, “Who’s there?”

No one should answer. Her parents were at work. She was supposed to be alone.

Yet, the pathetic mewling continued.

It’s not real.

The mantra didn’t change the sound. What if one of her neighbor’s kids had gotten trapped down there? It wouldn’t be the first time one of the young’uns hid where they weren’t supposed to.

Two steps down, the door slammed shut behind her. She spun with a horrified squeal. She jiggled the doorknob.

Somewhere between panic and accepted doom, she said, “The door is locked.”

Of course. No wonder the stupid kid cried.

Inky blackness swallowed her sight, the only light straining from the edges of the shut door. She turned back around, and hung onto the bannister, groping with her feet for the next stair.

When she touched the concrete floor, she mouthed a small prayer of gratitude. Now, the real challenge had begun, find the light bulb without knocking into the stacks of her parents hoard.

The wailing echoed around her, desperate bellows. She said, “Hang on, I’m gonna get the light on. Then we can leave.”

The child either couldn’t hear her or was too hysterical. Her fingers grazed piles of magazines, precariously balanced shelves, trashbags of junk, and then a miracle. They wrapped around the thin chain and pulled.

A click. A dull blaze of illumination. The crying stopped and the door opened at the top of the stairs.

The yellow light revealed no one but her. She swallowed the lump of fear and ran up the stairs.

Even lit, she didn’t like the basement but now she could relate, whatever lurked down there didn’t like the dark either.
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