The floorboards creaked while Angela tiptoed through the abandoned house. There were decayed shelving units built into the walls casting shadows that danced on the edge of her vision. She didn’t use her cell phone to light her way for fear of drawing too much attention to herself, so she made her way towards the kitchen with only the glow of the moonlight to guide her through the house. Each footfall was accompanied by the moan of the floorboards and the dust floating into her nose.
Her face crinkled as she almost coughed. She stopped, collected herself, pinched her nose, and resisted the oncoming sneeze. After she was sure that there would be no errant evacuation of dust particles from her nostrils, she continued through the house towards the kitchen. A tingle went up her arm as she brushed up against a spider web. She could feel the strands on her arm like tiny bugs crawling on her skin.
There was an abandoned oak table in the dining room adjacent to the living room. Its chairs had disappeared in ages past leaving the table to stay abandoned and forgotten. It had an ornate pattern on the trim that was faded and scratched with age. The remnants of a chandelier hovered over the table like shards locked in a fall from a crumbling tower. She carefully made her way around the table towards the kitchen.
Angela was in the science club at Roosevelt High school. Since she dressed like a pseudo punk pop star with platinum wavy blonde hair, every guy in the science club sputtered like cretins around her. However, she didn’t care about boys, at least not in the way they cared about her. People thought that she cared more about science and school then everyone else. Which was true in some context. She’d rather dive into the source code of a robot that she had been constructing than talk with some drooling boy any day. When she had a goal in mind, she was singularly focused and didn’t stop until she achieved that goal.
That’s why when she crossed the threshold of the dining room to the kitchen, she didn’t let what she saw stop her. The kitchen was old with appliances that looked like they hadn’t been used since the fifties. The decrepit popcorn painted ceiling had a large black grease spot directly over the ancient stove. It had coil burners and big clunky knobs. A dusty pack of matches stood as reminder that igniters didn’t always come with the stove.
There were bones on the floor. Most were gnawed T-bones that looked like the previous owner left each bone to rot after giving it to their dog. A fridge with a round top stood in the corner with a smell emanating from it that made Angela cringe. The kitchen was filthy with stains from who knows what marking the counter tops. Angela quickly made her way through the mess to the door at the other end, the door to the basement.
She opened the door. The hinges cried from neglect. The stairs disappeared into an abyss. She wanted desperately to use her phone to light the way, but she knew that she couldn’t. Angela sucked in her breath and looked back towards the dining room. The shadows danced around the table seeming to warn her “go back.” She turned to the darkness awaiting below.
Angela breathed out a long slow sigh and stepped into the basement, one footfall at a time.