Basement Door

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Yet more; the diff'rence is as great between
The optics seeing, as the objects seen.
All manners take a tincture from our own;
Or come discolour'd through our passions shown.
Or fancy's beam enlarges, multiplies,
Contracts, inverts, and gives ten thousand dyes.
     Nor will life's stream for observation stay,
It hurries all too fast to mark their way:
In vain sedate reflections we would make,
When half our knowledge we must snatch, not take.

Alexander Pope

________________________________

It was eleven p.m. when twelve year old Benjamin Mills rested his head on the living room coffee table. His brown hair hung limply to the side and his left cheek scrunched against the wooden surface. As the television behind him droned lowly, he burbled incoherently in his sleep. The clock on the wall ticked the minutes away.

He had spent the day mentally exhausting himself with musings about a looming and inescapable adulthood drawing ever so near. Adulthood, and all the negative things he'd seen come from it, wasn't something he was excited about.

It was the twenty-second of September. While this might seem inconsequential, it was a very important day. Not only was it the Fall Equinox, but also Benjamin's thirteenth birthday. At the stroke of midnight, he would be a teenager.

Little did he know, that would be the least of his worries ...

The basement door opened with a loud bang that startled him from his slumber. Squinting away the sleep, he looked around and reached for the cellphone beside him. Before he could look at the time, a message notification displayed on the screen:

Happy Birthday sweetie!
Sorry I couldn't be there, I have a double shift.

Love you!

Mom

Though he expected to receive his mother's usual apologetic text, he couldn't help the feelings of sadness and anger that accompanied them. It was something he would have to deal with later.

He set the phone down and walked into the corridor. Many thoughts raced through his mind as the floor beneath him creaked with every step he took. The possibility that there could be an intruder currently hiding in his basement was the most frightening one of them all. Curiosity and the need to find answers trumped the fear that resided in the pit of his stomach.

"Hello?" He asked as he stood in front of the doorway.

It echoed throughout the house.

"Hello? Is anyone there?" He crept forward, but was momentarily startled by a sound.

The clock chimed on the wall, announcing the beginning of a new day. While it played its annoying "It's a Small World" jingle, a peculiar feeling overcame him as he peered into the darkness. The sound of the jingle seemed to amplify within the basement.

Cautiously stepping through the doorway, he flipped the light switch and descended the steps. His brown eyes nervously inspected the area for any sign of what could have caused the door to open the way it did.

Several boxes filled with items that belonged to his father laid scattered on the floor. The undisturbed film of dust that had settled on top of them during the last couple of years, let him know that they hadn't been moved. A work bench in the middle had several other items piled onto it.

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