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Hit the Lights

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It started out as a compulsion when he was a little boy. The need to do it every time. The basement is a scary place at night, after all.

The stair light was broken. He would have to go to the bottom and turn on the lights from the darkness. The top of the stairs was well lit from the kitchen, obviously. The brightness reflected off of the white patterned tiles, hugged the walls, and just barely clutched the top of the staircase. However, it died there and the bottom half was encompassed in a thick blackness. So what did he do? It was routine now, he had it all planned out. He would quietly tip toe down the steps, then run towards the light switch across the room. It took a few seconds to go through the darkness blind, but he knew exactly where it was. Then he just flicked it on and a comforting, but somewhat unflattering light filled the basement.

Every time he had to go downstairs at night it was the same thing. He loathed doing it until those lights were on. The race to the other end was the most repetitive and suspenseful moment of his life. He didn't know what he was running from, he just felt like something was there. He was open about it to others, being just a talkative child by nature. His parents told him there was nothing down there to be afraid of. The doctor said it might be obsessive compulsive reactions. It didn't matter to him. He still did it. If you asked him why, he couldn't tell you though.

The years passed and he continued to do it. However, as he got older he could swear he heard something follow from behind him. Something trying to cut him off halfway through the dark path so familiar. Maybe it was his imagination, but he wasn't one to imagine things. This made him go faster and hit the lights. Suddenly, he was safe again, nothing in sight. Time passed and this noise continued every time. But that doesn't make sense. Why wouldn't whatever is stalking him learn its lesson and just cut him off? Was it playing with him? Maybe it just couldn't. That was when it happened, the next time he went down he heard the chuckle that made his heart skip a beat and almost freeze. But you never freeze when you have to hit the lights. Then when he hit the lights he heard a low sigh, as if something was disappointed that it lost its catch.

Unfortunately this continued. The boy couldn't just avoid going downstairs. He had errands to do and his parents wanted him to get things stored down there, stocked up during the day. The chuckle at the chase and the sigh at the failure. They both continued. He also now heard the pitter patter of footsteps, and each time he went down, they got faster. But this boy was a brave boy, and he had a job to do, so he quickened his pace, braced himself and ran as fast as possible to hit those lights, and he always made it on time. He was confident in himself that he would never get caught.

But this day was different. The boy was old enough to be left alone, and the parents went out. He had his chores to do, and they required going into the basement, as they always do. It was night time. But he done it a thousand times before. What could go wrong?

So he was alone that night. He slowly glanced down the steps. He looked at the darkness and felt it looking back. He kept the top floor bright. He walked down a flight. He ran with might. But he received a fright. When he reached for the switch of light. And there was none in sight.

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