Something in the Basement
I heard it before I felt it. A low whistling sound it was, like knives slicing air swiftly. Gut reaction and reflexes made me move without thinking, to avoid it. Still, knifelike claws fiercely scraped against my ribcage and liquid started running. I began leaping up the basement stairs. Something savage in the dark was at my heels. I couldn’t risk looking for fear It would slow me down. Pure terror clutched my heart now pumping at breakneck speed.
I jumped two and three steps at a time. The foul stench of its breath singed the hairs on the back of my neck. I could feel the adrenaline being pumped at almost terminal velocity thru my veins. Bloody liquid was running down my leg. I didn’t care. I could see it, the door at the top of the stairs – only 7 steps to go. Claws screeched against a wall and startled my ears – only 5 steps to go. Something grabbed at my ankles. It missed – only 3 steps to go.
I lunged for the doorknob, turned, opened and closed it all in one motion. With my back riveted against the door, I gasped for breath. The terror behind me pounded and pounded, snarling in frustration. Each pounding lifted me off the door. Pieces of wood flew to the floor. Ejected like bullets were door hinge screws. Wood began crumbling. It was coming through pounding and pounding and pounding!
Then unexpectedly, it stopped! Frighteningly, it stopped! It stopped with an abruptness that left me shivering, sweating and waiting in the silence. What happened? Confused thoughts raced thru my head as the breath slowly returned to my drenched body. I could hear a low whistling sound like knives slicing air going down, fading and melting into the basement darkness. It was leaving. I had escaped. I took a breath. I smiled self-satisfied thinking that I’m of a species who is at its best when things are at their worst. You know! I was starting to feel a lot better.
Then…Boom!...the floor beneath me caved in! Wood splintered. Beams shattered. Metal twisted. I was falling. One hand grabbed the doorknob just in time and held on. My legs dangled, swinging above the emptiness below. The sweat was making my hand slip. I squeezed harder but couldn’t hold on anymore. I plunged screaming into the nothingness beneath. I hit the floor with the impact of a bomb going off. Pain shot up my arm. Wood scraped across my back. I was in the basement again! Oh no, no, no! Then I heard it and I froze. That breathing. Those breaths. Those knifeclaws whistling nearer! And nearer! And nearer!
Then I remembered something! Odd time to remember something. I remembered chuckling at my kids telling me “Watch out for the monster in the basement Dad.” Somehow I don’t think I’m going to get a second chance to forget it or even chuckle again.
Then, the lights snapped on. I heard my wife’s voice upstairs. She said “Honey, are you okay? There’s a big hole in the floor”. I looked around. The monster was gone. Where did it go? Was it the lights? What happened? Enough with the questions. On your feet! Again I raced up those stairs. Grabbed the wife. Grabbed the kids. Grabbed the car keys and bolted from the house into the night. You can bet we won’t be back anytime soon. Whew! I need a drink, maybe two. Somedays you just never know. And that’s when one of my kids in the back seat said “Told ya Dad”.
I smirked and started the car, threw it into gear and let off the brakes. The side view mirror showed like a small TV and it stopped me cold. I could see the flashing lights of police cars and the neighbors who must have called them. Then my house door flew open with a bang! A frightful silhouette stood in the doorway. Nobody moved. Its mouth opened. Flames blasted out. The lawn started burning. Cops began firing. Neighbors ran scattering. The silhouette started running. It looked mad. Suddenly it turned and galloped towards me. Whoa! I told the family to strap in and I gunned the engine.
At first, it was just a cloud of dust in my rear view mirror. I was already doing 45. In the cloud, I saw hooves and claws. I shot to 55. It was like a hound after us. I hit 65 and it was gaining, gaining. I could see its eyes. I saw the fire from its nostrils. I hit 75 and the next thing I knew, it was looking at me through my driver's window. I saw flames. I smelled burning paint peeling off the car. Smoke filled the inside. The kids were screaming. The wife was screaming. I was screaming. The car was screaming. What in the hell was it! I was doing 80 and it was running right alongside me. Looking at us! Looking at me! By the heavens! Is this what chased me out of my own house?? Whoa!
I panicked, grit my teeth and slammed the accelerator, punching it. We lunged forward and swerved. I recorrected and hit over 100 miles an hour. I looked thru my window. The thing was gone. I looked in the rear view. Nothing there either. I could see the dimly lit town just up ahead. I’m racing straight thru it non-stop. I don’t know what that thing was and I don’t want to know. One thing I do know is that I’m not stopping until our screaming stops…or the gas runs out…or my heart gives up!