The Basement (A Short Story)

in fiction •  last month 

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The Basement
by Jaundré van Breda

Susan went to the basement to fetch the last stack of old books. She would try to sell most of them in a yard sale on Saturday, and donate the rest of the paperbacks to libraries and schools.

She went to the bathroom and washed her hands. Susan looked up into the mirror. For a moment she thought she heard footsteps down in the basement. She returned to the basement and saw one of the dusty books lying face down on the floor. Susan picked up the book and frowned. Susan turned it over in her hands. “Weird,” she whispered when she saw the title on the cover. It was The Basement by Carl Sanders. She couldn’t remember reading this one before.

She placed the book on a stack of other books in the living room. She decided to call it a day, and went to bed.

Even though she was exhausted, Susan tossed and turned in her sleep. She dreamed of the ghost of a man in the basement. “Get out!,” he yelled at her.

The next morning Susan came into the living room. She looked for the strange paperback everywhere but couldn’t find it. Then, after taking the last sip of her coffee, she decided to go down to the basement.

“What the hell?,” she said. Susan found the book, face down, in exactly the same spot where she noticed it the day before. After a moment of hesitation, she picked it up. She opened The Basement on page one. She read the first two lines: ‘“What the hell?,” she said. Susan found the book, face down, in exactly the same spot where she first noticed it the day before.’

Susan gasped, and the book fell to the floor, sending up a cloud of dust. She left it there and hurried up to her study.

Opening her laptop, she searched the author of The Basement, Carl Sanders. That’s when she felt an ice-cold hand resting on her shoulder, and that’s the exact moment she knew who he was.

Jaundré van Breda © 2019

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