by Ms. Penguin
Entry in Daily Flash Fiction contest for 7/5/19
|"What was that noise?"
"What noise? I didn't hear anything."
"There it is again. You had to hear it that time!"
"You're losing it. I didn't hear a thing."
"I'm not crazy! It sounded like someone moaning. We should try to find them, they might need help."
"It's probably just the neighbors fooling around. Relax."
"It wasn't that kind of moaning, Martha. I may be getting old, but I know the difference!"
"Fine. Where was it coming from?"
"I'm not sure, maybe the basement."
"I'm not going down there! It's creepy."
"There it is again!"
"I don't hear anything, but if it'll shut you up,let's go."
Caroline opened the basement door and peered into the darkness. "The light doesn't work,but, there it is again. Someone's hurt down there!"
"We can't go down the steps in the dark you daft fool," Martha snapped. "We could break a hip!"
The moaning grew louder as the two women hesitated at the top of the steps.
"The railing is sturdy, I'm going down," Caroline insisted. As she disappeared into the darkness, Martha hung back,
"Caroline? Are you okay? Who's down there?"
"Martha? Martha? Are you coming? I can't see anything. See if you can find a flash..."
"Martha," an unfamiliar voice croaked. "Join us, Martha. Come down and keep us company."
Martha let out a shrill scream and turned to run back to the safety of the well-lit kitchen, but her cardigan caught on a nail protruding from the handrail.
"Let go! Let me go!" she screamed. "Please, please let go!"
The last thing she heard as she toppled backwards down the stairs was, "Join us, Martha. It's lonely down here in the dark."