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There Are Monsters in the Basement

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I hated the basement.

It was another lovely Tuesday morning. As per usual, Mom and Dad locked us out of the house until noon. My brothers were sitting on the porch talking about sports. Or bugs? Cars maybe? I don’t actually know what they always talked about, seeing that they never once invited me. Here’s something I have never told anyone, but I’m pretty sure my family doesn’t like me. I know it might seem like something all six-years-old would say, but I have proof. For one, Bruno just threw a pebble at my head. Ouch.

But it didn’t matter if they didn’t like me because I had a robot. I named him Timmy, and I have been building him for the last week. Every morning we got locked out of the house, I would scramble all over our junk-covered yard and find any bits and pieces for Timmy. I’m proud to say that after a week, Timmy is almost done. Except for his eyes, I can’t find another identical button for him. I scoured high and low for another button or knob or whatever for Timmy’s eyes, but to no avail. Maybe there are just not enough junk in the world.

“Come back in for lunch, Harry”.

That was mum. A half-lit cigarette hanging from her mouth, her hair tie holding on for dear life as her bun slipped further and further down her head, and only one slipper on her foot. Because she threw the other one at my head. There was another reason why I think no one likes me. She called my brothers adoringly for lunch, and I have a flying slipper greeting my sunburned cheeks. How nice.

Lunch was terrible, as usual. Mum always cooked the same old gloop, and it tasted like paint. I call in gloop because it rhymes with food, and what I am eating right now definitely isn’t food. The afternoon went on like always. Mum and Dad left with Bruno, Will went back to his room, and so did I. That is yet another proof I have of being unloved in this family. Everyone gets their own spacious rooms with windows, and I get a shoebox with a curtain for a door and no window. Sometimes I wonder why did Mum and Dad even have me when they treated me like…gloop. At least I have Timmy still, and tomorrow I’m going to find him another eye.

“Don’t waste your food, Bruno.”

Dinnertime rolled around, and no one was enjoying it. It was exactly what we ate for lunch, just colder. I think the reason Bruno treats me so terribly is because of the inedible food. He is always on his worse behaviour during dinner, and for tonight he punched my arm.

“A mosquito was there”.

I knew there was no mosquito, but I wasn’t going to talk back. Every time I do, I get sent to the basement, and it is never pleasant.

“Hey, there is another mosquito on your arm”.

“Oh look, here is another”.

“Man, mosquitos just love you, don’t they?”

And now, I’m in the basement again. There’s another reason. Bruno punches me repeatedly, but because I threw gloop in his face, I get punished. Are mum and dad blind?

The basement is dark. There is a lightbulb, but it is hung so high up I couldn’t reach it. I have never seen the basement before. I don’t know how big it is, what is in there, and why it always smelled so bad. The rotten eggs and cheese smell makes mum’s cooking smell like heaven. It was cold too. I went into my usual corner, huddled up and tried to fall asleep as soon as possible so that I can wake up soon and finish building Timmy.

Crash.

That was new. I jolted up in alert, and I could hear my heart pounding a thousand times a minute. Add one more reason to the list of why I hated the basement.

“…hello?”

I didn’t know what I was waiting for, but I don’t think I could go back to sleep now.

The basement was silent. Nothing happened for minutes, just my breathing slowly getting back to normal. I think everything is fine. It was probably just the wind, even though there are no windows here.

No, it’s fine.

I covered my eyes with my shaky hands and went back to sleep.

One sheep, two sheep, three sheep…

And then another crash sounded. That definitely wasn’t the wind. I stared into the darkness, trying to make sense of the sound and trying to make out what crashed. It was silent again for another few minutes before I heard a croak.

“Help…me…”

Yup, there are monsters in the basement.

I ran up the stairs and rabidly banged on the doors.

please wake up…please wake up…please wake up…

I have no idea how long I screamed for, but there was enough time for a third crash to happen. My short life started playing in my head. The times where I got scolded for Bruno’s mistake, Will always ignoring me, my parents rolling their eyes at me every time I got injured while playing in the yard. My family hates me. I’m the junk they didn’t want, and now they sent me to the monsters in the basement to get rid of me. Tears were rolling down my face in streams, and my voice started wavering so much, and soon I was just making sounds.

“What is it, Harry? Why are you making so much noise?”

My mum shouted as she unlocked the door.

“Seriously what is it- “

I saw the light and ran straight into her. I wrapped my hands around her waist and told her what happened while gasping for air.

“There…are…noises…in…there…”

“Nonsense Harry. You can’t get out of your punishment by crying. Now go back in there.”

Mum forcefully pushed me back into the basement despite me begging.

“No, mum, there is something in there. Mum…mum!”

The door was almost closed when the basement sounded again.

“…help…”

I helplessly glanced at the closed door before it slowly started to open.

“Get out, Harry. Now.”

“I told you there were monsters in the basement.”

© 2021 Alison Lian

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