THE LIGHT BULB shined a dim light down the stairwell, unable to pierce the thick black veil at the bottom. Whether it was a weak bulb or if the darkness was simply that dark, Allison couldn’t say. All she knew was that she wasn’t going down there. It’s always dark in the basement.
“I’m not going down there,” Allie said, arms crossed.
“Allie.” Randy sighed, exasperated. “It’s a basement. It’s where people store things.”
Like bodies. Allison pulled her sweater tightly around her and shook her head. “I don’t care. I’m not going.”
“You are such a wuss.” Randy pushed her aside and headed into the darkness. “It’s fine, you’ll see… wait, what’s that? Oh my God – ”
“Randy?” Allison ventured down a step. “Are you okay?”
A sharp scream rose from the darkness. “Randy!” Allison flew down the rest of the steps. “Randy, are you – ”
The lights flipped on. “Boo!” he grinned. “Gotcha down here, didn’t I?”
“You’re a dick – ” Allison tried to slap him, but he ducked ” – seriously, Randy, not cool.”
“Sure it is.” He grabbed her hand and kissed it. “I want you to be okay with it here. It’s all just stupid stories. Nothing bad happened here. And if it did, so what? We’ll make it good again.”
Allison fought back a smile. Randy’s optimism was contagious. “Don’t do that again.”
“Cross my heart. Now let’s see what we got down here.” He turned and headed deeper into the basement. “Hey, look at that… I think it’s a Chesterfield!”
Allison stood rooted in place. In front of her was a portrait of a young girl in a white dress.