by Dreamy Wood
Cameron's mom tells him to go down to the cellar. What he finds was not what he expected.
Mama said the lock was tough, iron. The door, heavy and stuck. Maybe in her time it was, but no longer. The worn steel door slid open smoothly, as if it had been oiled only moments before, and none of the wooden steps creaked as I made my way down the dark stairwell. I ran my fingers over the walls to my left, finding it soft and damp. Dirt.
I counted fifteen steps, skipping over the final two, before the ground leveled out. Through my shoes I could feel a slight change in texture, from wet wood to... something harder. Concrete, maybe?
There was a peculiar smell to the air. It was very musty, yes, but underneath that there was a faint scent of ash and oranges. My hands felt against the walls for the light switch, to no avail.
"Need some help with that?"
My shoes left the ground as I fell to the ground, simultaneously letting out an eep!
"Oh, sorry! My bad." A flickering light was lit somewhere to my right and I felt rough skin touch my hand, pulling me to my feet. "I'm Katie! And you are?"
I stared at her for a few moments, taking in her bright smile and dark locks of hair. Why are you down here?, I wanted to ask, but I figured that be too weird, considering we had just met and all.
"Um, C-Cameron," I responded, blanking out for a moment. I wasn't prepared for anyone to be down here! My feet shifted, creating a soft scratching sound against the floor. "What's up?"
"Nothing much," Katie responded cheerfully, a singsong lilt to her voice. "What're you doing down here anyway? No one comes down here." She finishes her statement with a finality that only spurs off of complete confidence. Why're you down here then?
"N-no reason," I said as nonchalantly as possible, though I was always an atrocious liar. "Just curious. I had never been down here before." Mama hid something down here. Something special, secret. Something just for me to see. "Is the light really that dim? I can't see anything down here!"
"Oh, okay!" Katie giggled awkwardly and I wondered how old she was. With her optimistic disposition, you would think she was five, but the little of her face I could see in the dim light, she was at least a decade older.
The cool cellar air got warmer with an accompanying whoosh of wind. The light in front of me grew larger, but it's flickering quality remains. With another startled yelp I fell to the floor, banging the back of my head against the wall as I did so.
Katie had a couple of inches on me, and was dressed in a shapeless lilac nightgown with gold embroidery on the sleeves and skirt. Her dark skin seemed to glow radiantly in the light. For some strange reason, there were no shoes upon her feet, not even slippers, and her hair was just long enough for the tips to grace her shoulders.
But it wasn't her appearance that had me startled.
It was the fiery ball of flames that she was cradling in her hands.