It was dark down there and we often thought about the dark descent.
We weren’t allowed to go there and really didn’t want to—it was damp and cold and smelled really awful.
The steps leading down into it were rickety and there was no light to see where you were going. The railing next to the stairs was no better. It felt wobbly and worn, making the dark descent seem even more dangerous.
Whenever we tried to go down, we could only make it a few steps at a time when we would get too scared and have to go back up again. There was always a cold breeze coming up from below and we weren’t brave enough.
It was so dark and so terrifying.
In the dark were noises—growling noises. And one day there was a thumping sound.
We wanted to see what was down there, to know what was there no matter how much it meant we would be harmed or even die. We wanted to know. But it was so cold and so dark and we were afraid.
We tried and tried yet each time the fear would sweep over us, sending us flying back up in a terrified escape.
Then one day, someone made it. She strutted so bravely down and around the corner that we became encouraged. There were no screams when she met the bottom and disappeared into the darkness. We didn’t hear the vicious sounds we expected. We were inspired.
So we followed behind, very scared. Step by step we went into the darkness holding hands and praying we would not be gobbled up by whatever it was that growled and thumped down there.
We descended into the darkness, our hearts beating wildly, whispering to each other that we were still there and it was okay.
As we made it to the very bottom, we paused and held each other, arms wrapped around so tight we could barely breathe.
Out of the corner of our eye, we saw it. It was big and it was moving very rapidly, shaking and muttering.
We moved closer, we couldn’t breathe . . .
It was our MOM standing at the washing machine shaking out the sheets and throwing them in the drier.
“I wish your dad would let us fix this place up. This basement is SO gloomy! Have you girls had lunch?”