Dead Space

“What are you doing? You know I don’t want you down there!” Shirley exclaimed after seeing Brett, her 13 year old son, approach the basement door.  “You know you’re not supposed to go down there, Brett. Remember our agreement?”


Brett withdrew his hand from the door,  muttering grumpily, “This is so annoying. We’re the biggest losers in the world. We’ve got a perfectly good basement, but can’t use it. Geez! You won’t even let me  look at it!”


Curiosity  had been a potent allure in the past, but each time, attempts to enter were thwarted. After living in the house for over two months, Brett still didn’t know what was in the basement.

Shirley acquired the house with her single-parent salary. It wasn’t much to brag about, but Brett did have a pretty awesome room and his mom had let him do whatever he wanted with it.  Otherwise, the place was ordinary. An ordinary two-bedroom house in an ordinary neighborhood, except this house had a mystery basement. From Day 1, Shirley forbade him to go downstairs which drove Brett absolutely nuts. Tell a teenager they can’t do something and they only want it more.


Since it was an older house, the basement was outfitted with small casement windows.  Not enough room for someone to climb through, not even someone Brett’s size and they definitely weren’t transparent enough to see through. Between the locks on the door and the crummy windows, there was no way Brett could find out what was inside. So he resigned himself to that fact, for the most part.


Then one day, someone began chiding him about his place of residence. “Bodies in the basement!” they said. “Brett’s got skeletons in the closet!” Brett hated those snot-nosed bully types who went out of their way  to harass everyone else, so he ignored them quite conspicuously and pretended they weren’t even there. But his best friend Steve insisted there was truth to the story. His best friend was someone Brett couldn’t ignore.


One night, Steve and Brett sneaked downstairs after Brett’s mom had gone to the store. She would be gone for a few hours so there was time to break through the lock and steal their way inside. Mom would never know.



It took about 15 minutes for Steve to pick the lock. He’d been elected for the job because his dad was ex-military and knew a lot about such things. Taught his son everything he knew just about. After a few gyrations, the knob turned, and they were in. Brett started down the steps, pulling the cord overhead for  light.


Lightning struck the backyard and they jumped nervously. The placed smelled damp and in the murky darkness, it wasn’t difficult to imagine that the place could be full of dead bodies.


When they made it down the stairs and their eyes had adjusted to the darkness, they saw it. Lined up against the wall were caskets of various sizes, most large but some small enough to fit young children.  The odd thing was, they didn’t look new.


“Holy crap! These are used caskets!” cried Brett.


“Brett honey, how did you think I got this house so cheap? I’m renting back the space as storage to Mr.  Black, the undertaker,” said Shirley from the bottom of the steps.  The boys spun around, stunned at her presence. They hadn’t heard her come home. “Now get out of here like I asked you to.  We mustn’t disturb the bodies.”

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