Good Foundations Make A Happy Home
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 1043
John could not understand why nobody else could feel it. Every time he went downstairs, he dreaded it. His parents moved into the house a month ago and he already hated it. He could feel the evil oozing out of the dark, isolated space under the patio. There was only a small crawl space in the brickwork in the middle of the wall half way up and dead bang in the centre. John wished that whoever built the house just bricked the whole wall in and did not leave this scary opening to the pits of hell.
There was only one light switch in the dungeon as his friends and he called it. You had to crouch down to get through the small doorway in the laundry and then quickly maneuver down one-step and across one meter of concrete floor to the light switch, located on the beam on the ceiling. Why the builder did not put this on the wall near the door was another question John would like to ask the builders. Just what were they thinking when they made this split-level house. Three bedrooms, bathroom and toilet on the top level, then down six stairs to the lounge room, kitchen and dining room. A long stairwell down to the garage and laundry was the next level of the house, with the dungeon another step down into the ground beneath the house.
John walked down the stairs to the laundry slowly, hoping that his mother would call him back upstairs, telling him not to worry about getting her the stepladder from the dungeon. Although John’s parents didn’t call this area the dungeon, they knew John and his friends did. They actually thought it was funny and could understand why they named it the dungeon. The area was cold, damp and constructed entirely of concrete, concrete floor, pillars, foundations and stair. The only non-concrete part of the room was the wall beneath the patio. Inside this area the floor was just dirt and never used for anything at all. Cobwebs hung from wall to floor and floor to ceiling and the dirt stank of moisture.
John entered the laundry, still hopeful of a last minute reprise from going into the dungeon. He hoped that his dad would get home before he went through the small doorway and into the feared spot beneath the house. It was four o clock and the sun was just beginning to make it’s decent from the sky for the evening. His father should be home by now, but he wasn’t. So John was going to have to go in.
He stuck his head in the doorway and looked towards the daunting hole in the brick way to his right. He turned to the left and stared at the light switch on the beam on the ceiling. He could reach it by standing on his toes, but this meant he would be vulnerable and off balance for a second. John looked back to the right, stepped quickly into the dungeon, and ran to the light switch. The hum of the fluorescent light sounded like a ghost moaning to John’s overactive imagination. He stood stationary until the single tube kicked on, faintly lighting the large concrete sepulchre.
“There’s nothing there, there’s nothing there,” John kept repeating to himself softly as he looked around for the stepladder.
“No, not there,” he said, spying the small, wooden ladder leaning against the brick wall a few feet to the left of the opening in the wall.
John eyeballed the most direct route from the light switch to the stepladder against the wall. He whimpered, realising he would have to walk in front of the opening to get past it and retrieve the stepladder. No two ways about it, the path against the furtherest wall was blocked off by the old mattress and wheelbarrows.
John took five deep breaths, and then ran to the first support pole. He hide behind it for a second before peering around the corner at the brick wall. He took another five deep breaths, and then ran to the brick wall. There was no way he would touch it so he stood in front of it, building up his strength to fly past the opening.
“You can do it, you can do it.” He said softly to himself. John built himself up and took a step towards the opening.
“Johnnie...Johnnie...” a soft whisper floated across the chill in the air to John’s tingling ears.
“Just my imagination, just my imagination,” he said to himself again.
“No, I’m not,” the voice whispered to him softly. “I am right here, Johnnie.”
John put his hands over his ears and forced himself to walk across the space in front of the opening. He grabbed the wooden stepladder and swung back around. Inside the opening, John saw the faint, Smokey face of a small boy floating in the dark background. The boy smiled at John with tiny, but razor sharp teeth and big pitch black eyes. Those eyes, John thought. He had never seen anything as horrific in his life. There were no whites to the eyes and they were solid, not like the opaque face surrounding them.
“Come here, Johnnie,” The voice said in a whisper as harsh and coarse as a lifelong smoker.
John felt his strength seeping from his body, as though he sprang a leak and his very essence oozed out of his pores. He was petrified, but could not help but be drawn towards the face and the entrance to hell.
* * * *
John’s father came home half an hour later. He kissed his wife and put his brief case down next to the front door. He walked up the stairs, past the two single bedrooms and into the master bedroom, stopping briefly at the bedroom filled with John’s toys and books.
“I think we should seriously pack up the kids stuff the last owners left behind,” he shouted down the hall to his wife.
John’s mother walked up the hall and looked into her son’s bedroom, with a distant feeling of familiarity.
“I suppose you’re right, honey,” she said softly. “It’s not like we are going to have children any time soon.”
Good Foundations Make A Happy Home
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