Jeremy recalls the searching of a rubber ball to play a game with that day in the basement of the house. Brown paper boxes littered the basement, and were filled with vestiges of the Corbin’s past. He pulled down on the chain that would flicker on the electrical light, but as soon as he did, the light flashed and dimmed out. “Crap. The bulb went out,” Jeremy exclaimed. He fumbled on the wooden steps leading down into the dark room. “There must be a flashlight around here somewhere.” Carl, waiting at the door of the basement, heard Jeremy’s request and disappeared from the doorframe, returning and calling to Jeremy as he tossed a flashlight. “Thanks,” said Jeremy. He clicked the light on and swung the orange beam around in the dark, lighting up the shadowy boxes layered with undisturbed dust. It took him quite a while to find what he was looking for as he rummaged through the boxes. Carl joined him down the stairs. The beam from the flashlight silhouetted his long dark hair. “You sure you’ve got a basketball down here?” he asked. “I’m sure. I saw it down here a couple days ago,” Jeremy said. Carl shook his head. “Hey, I could just run over to my house and get one.”
The filled box Jeremy was digging through burst with hasty clashes. “No, wait, here it is!” Jeremy stumbled in the darkness, and a spherical shape of the ball flew in the air and bounced. Jeremy quickly pointed the light at the ball, and caught it just in time as it clashed into a tall, corroded metal frame holding five shelves. Upon impact they rattled and then came crashing to the ground. Boxed plumbing parts and cans fell and created a ruckus. “Damnit!” Jeremy said, rushing over to the broken shelf. He kneeled down, setting the flashlight on the ground, and picking up the scattered materials. He looked and ran his hand against a familiar object. He fiddled and switched the florescent bulbs of a portable lamp on. The basement was dimly illuminated into a place of jagged shadows. Carl kneeled down as well to help, after grabbing the basketball and putting it aside. “Mom’s not going to like this. Gotta’ fix the shelf now, rusted old thing.” Jeremy said, fingering the snapped supports of the frame. It was that instant which he saw that the shelf was bent and the back had fallen into the behind wall. The shelf was mutilated, and beyond repair. The wall had a huge chunk of plaster and thin concrete torn out of it. “Damnit,” Jeremy Repeated. He ran his hand against the surface of the damaged wall, and brushed away some of the peeling plaster. His hand rubbed up against a worn nub of metal. “I’m going to need to replace that bulb. I’ll go get one from the kitchen, hang on.” Jeremy got up and ran up the stairs, returning when he had retrieved a light bulb. He unscrewed the bad one and screwed in the good one.
The basement lit up with that familiar orange light. “That’s better.” Jeremy said. Carl laughed, now seeing the detail of the broken shelf. “It was bound to happen sooner or later, it was barely supporting anything at all.” Carl said. He then took observation of the damaged wall, and his brows narrowed. “Hey, Jeremy, take a look at this…”
“Eh?” Jeremy went down on his knees again and looked at the damaged wall. Underneath the paper thin layer of concrete and thick plaster was a wooden surface tainted with what looked to be bronze metal bolts, securing into place a metal plate. “Woah,” Jeremy exclaimed. “What the heck is behind the wall?” Carl took his fingers and brushed away dust and grime. “It’s like an older wall behind it. It could be really ancient.” Jeremy got to his feet. “Help me move the shelf,” he said. Carl did as told and helped Jeremy pull the shelf away from the wall. The broken frame dwindled and creaked, and concrete shards sprinkled on the ground out from behind the shelf. As they pulled the shelf away and to the side, the area of the wall it covered started to crack and peel away. A large portion of concrete fell to the floor. Jeremy pressed against the surface and the concrete and plaster fell away more in small chunks. He backed away to see the shelf’s wall area completely fall to the ground, though the layers of rotted plaster still covering here and there. “I’m sure glad my mom’s not home right now,” Jeremy muttered. He went to his knees and pulled away the last dilapidated layer of plaster from the wall carefully. More metal bolts were uncovered; dust encrusted and worn, and the old wood became water rotted and black in some spots. Carl joined in and peeled away, letting the crumbling wall create the outline of the six-foot tall, four-foot wide rectangle. It was wood, with metal clamps on the top left side and lower left side, and in the middle of the right side of the rectangle was a bronze plate bolted to the door with a large keyhole.
“It’s a door.” Jeremy said.
“It’s really old.” Carl said.
“Lets go inside…” Jeremy said.
Carl shook his head and stuck his finger inside the large keyhole, pulling out some bits of plaster. “It might just be something that looks like a door. Maybe the lock doesn’t work and its just part of the wall. It is locked anyway, with no knob. We’d need a key.” As he reached his finger back into the hole, he felt the many complex nooks and metal parts inside. “You wouldn’t happen to have an enormously big key on you by any chance?” Carl said with a smirk. Jeremy, having stepped back to admire the ancient door walked forward himself to explore the keyhole. In doing so, his right foot suddenly struck through the ground, the concrete crumbling away and his foot becoming stuck in a hole. He let out a flabbergasted yell, completely shocked, and twisted his foot around, trying to get it out. He tore it out of the ground with a spray of dust and fell on his back. “Damnit!” Jeremy exclaimed.
“That must be your favorite word,” Carl said. Jeremy sneered at Carl jokingly for his sarcasm and got to his feet once more. He was okay, just a bit surprised. All eyes fell upon the hole. As the dust settled, they saw that in the hole rested a large, rusted metal key. It was plain and simple, with a complex face of grooves. Jeremy reached down and picked it up. The cold rough steel weighted heavily in his hand as he handled the key, and he suddenly looked up at the keyhole in the door. Carl’s gaze followed Jeremy’s. “Is it just me, or does it seem that we were suppose to open this door?” Carl said.
“I think we’d better do it.” Jeremy said. “This is too cool to ignore.”
“Ouch, what time is it? I totally forgot.” Carl said.
Jeremy referenced his wristwatch. “Quarter to three.”
Carl sighed. “I’ve got to get to work in an hour, man.”
“Dam-,” Jeremy caught himself. “Shoot. We’ve got to open this door.”
“We can do it tomorrow morning. Don’t open it without me.” Carl said, pointing to the key.
“It is tempting. But there’s no telling what we’ll find. If there’s a monster I want it to eat you first.” Jeremy said.
“Thanks, buddy.” Carl said. “And when the vampire wakes up, I’ll tell him there’s a party in your room and that he’s invited.”
Jeremy put the key in his pant pocket. “My mom doesn’t get home until late tonight, so she won’t notice the mess down here. She hardly comes in here anyway. She usually sleeps in on her days off too, Saturday tomorrow. Come over around 9:00 and we’ll open the door.”
Carl nodded and they both went up the stairs. Jeremy pulled on the light’s chain and the basement went dark. He closed the door.
After Carl had left, Jeremy studied the key they had found and called up his friend Ian to tell him about it. Ian said on the other end of the wire that he wanted to see inside sometime, but didn’t care otherwise. Yeah, go play with yourself, Ian. Jeremy thought. Later that night, he thawed himself out a frozen sausage and cooked it, putting it in a bun and eating it while watching a horror movie. He forgot about the door for the rest of the day until he went to sleep. All he could think about then was the excitement of opening the door and seeing where it led. As he contemplated these thoughts in his mind, he rustled in his bed. Gazing out the window, he saw the twirled gray clouds above, darkened in the night, and floating gracefully across the sky. The moon was large and bright in the heavens, and peaked briefly behind the rolling clouds. Jeremy fell into a restless sleep.