Both Angela and Luther turned toward each other and then looked back at the stone arch. There was a passageway beyond that seemed to angle downward and was obscured by inky darkness. Angela walked towards the phenomena, when Luther held her back. “Wait! You don’t know what’s down there!”
“That’s exactly what I intend to find out,” Angela broke free from his grasp.
“I’m not even going to pretend to know what is going on here, but that thing wasn’t here a second ago. What if it disappears the moment you step inside?”
“There is only one way to find out.”
Angela walked towards the archway. She touched the stones with her hands. They were cool, nothing out of the ordinary for a basement in October. Heeding some of Luther’s caution, she decided to test the portal. She tossed a stone inside and heard the clatter of it down the passage. The next test involved poking one of the metal fence posts past the threshold. Nothing happened. After they exhausted all the other options, Angela had no choice but to go inside.
Before she went, she turned to Luther, “You don’t need to follow me. If it does disappear, tell Brenda that I love her, and my parents too.”
“Um… OK.” Luther said.
Before he could devise another reason why she shouldn’t go, she crossed the threshold. She turned towards Luther who was dumbly shaking in his boots. She stepped back out again and smiled, “See. It’s not trapping me in some other world.”
Angela turned back down the passageway. After some deliberation, Luther rushed forward to follow her. The passageway was a narrow stone tunnel with an arched ceiling. It seemed to have an infinite blackness beyond the reach of light generated by Angela’s phone. Luther kept making glances back to make sure the entrance to the basement was still there.
They walked for what seemed like hours, but in reality was only about thirty minutes when they finally saw light up ahead. The basement had disappeared into the darkness, so Luther pushed them forward towards the exit. When they finally got close to the end, they could see that there was definitely a room up ahead. By the time they could make out the details of the room, they were almost upon it.
They stepped out of a stone arch similar to the one they had entered. The room looked like the basement they had just left with the exception that everything looked new. The octopus furnace had gleaming metal like it was freshly installed. All the farming equipment looked new like it had yet to collect the rust from the ages. There was even fresh soil on some of it. The basement was clean and well organized, and there were no witch marks on the beam in the ceiling.
While Angela was exploring the surroundings, awed by the change the basement had gone through, Luther tugged her sleeve. “Look,” he said. She could hear the fear in his voice.
She turned toward the wall where the archway should have been. It was no longer there. It was a wall like any other part of the basement. She turned to Luther and saw that his gaze was not fixed on the wall, but rather the top of the stairs. He didn’t seem to notice the missing archway or else that would have surely sent him into a panic. Whatever was at the top of the stairs was making her uncomfortable as she could see him begin to shake.
Angela turned her gaze to the top of the stairs, and there was a little girl of no more than nine-years-old. She had blond ringlets and was wearing an early 1900’s dress. Both Luther and the girl screamed. Angela was so startled that she began to scream too. Their voices blended into a cacophony of terror that was punctuated by Luther passing out.
Author’s Note: I thought I’d be done with this story by Halloween, but it’s taken a life of its own and went in a way unexpected to even me. Please follow for more installments.