Amy was afraid of the basement in her newly rented house.
The cold and the dark and the cave crickets gave her the creeps, but there was more. Something bad filled that place, some negative energy she felt but did not see. Her meager income would not allow for another move, so she kept the basement locked and told her daughter never, ever, under any circumstances to go down there.
Amy woke one morning to the sound of thunder and rain. Her alarm clock dead, she got out of bed and tried the light switch. Nothing. She slipped into her robe and went to check on her daughter. She discovered Lily’s room empty, the bed covers pulled back.
In the kitchen, a half-eaten bowl of cereal sat on the table.
“Lil,” she called.
She started for the living room when her eyes caught sight of the basement door, cracked open.
Amy raced to the door, pulled it wide open and peered below. Lightning flashed. Thunder crashed. The lights flickered and for a moment her daughter’s form appeared at the bottom of the steps.
“Lily,” she shouted. “Stop.”
She held onto the handrail and groped her way down, grabbed Lily’s arm, and started back up, to safety. A cave cricket jumped into Amy’s hair and she screamed. She let go of her daughter and smacked at the creature. When she reached for her daughter’s hand again, she found empty space.
She spun, almost slipping on the edge of a step, and spotted Lily walking back down the staircase.
“Lily, no,” she screamed.
“Mommy, why are you in the basement?”
Amy froze. Her breath caught in her chest. She turned, her skin tingling, and raised her head toward the opening. The lights came on. Lily peered at her from the top.
Amy bolted, climbing the steps two at a time. Footsteps came from behind, right on her, closing in. She reached the door and something grabbed her robe, pulled her down a step. She jumped to her feet and threw her body through the opening. She pushed her daughter out of the way, slammed the door and locked it. Something heavy thudded against the other side.
Amy wrapped her arms around Lily and they backed away. Thunder shattered the silence, followed by banging on the door.
“Mommy,” her daughter’s voice shrieked from the other side. “Mommy, let me out. They’re gonna get me, Mommy.”
Amy’s blood curdled. She looked at the child in her arms.
The girl’s eyes were wide with terror and her lips quivered. “Mommy?”
©2014 R.L. Black
R.L. Black lives in Tennessee and loves to write flash fiction and short stories. Most of her work has some sort of dark or strange theme. You can visit the author on her website at rlblack.weebly.com.