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The Box in the Basement

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As a kid, many disturbing and creepy things had happened to me. One of these events still haunts me; the day of my grandfather’s funeral. I never really knew him, but my mother still insisted that I go. I don’t remember much of it, but what happened during it is not important. When we got back home, we were welcomed by the sight of our front door wide opened. While my mom was concerned for any furniture that may have been stolen, I was more concerned about finding my cat, Buttons, because I loved her.

Unfortunately, my mom and I searched the entire house, but we couldn't find her. My mom tried to comfort me by telling me that she would be found by the Humane Society and returned to us. How wrong she was...

Before I say more, I should talk about how I hated the basement in our house. First off, it’s a basement, and I was six at the time, so that should explain itself. Secondly, it’s because of my sister. She made me watch horror movies with her from time to time, and I was a very gullible kid back then. Eventually she told me about “The Boogeyman”. That was what stopped me from ever going back down.

Anyway, a week after the funeral, I started having a recurring nightmare about a coffin in the corner of the basement, and in it was my grandfather. In the nightmare, I was moving towards the coffin against my will and stopped a few feet away from it. Suddenly, my grandfather would sit up, like how Michael Myers would in the movie, and begin to climb out of the coffin. Then, he would make his figure bend and snap at unnatural angles and then charge at me like an athletic sprinter.

I never told anyone about this, until now. I had this nightmare for about two months in a row, and about three times a week. I swear one time that I actually heard my grandfather calling my name through the air vents. I was terrified at the thought that my nightmare may actually be true, but that was impossible, I thought to myself. I don’t know why, but I had grabbed my board game die and used them to make a decision for me. If both dice equaled either 1-6, I would go down to the basement and if I rolled a 7-12, I wouldn’t.

I rolled a 2 and a 3.

Building up my courage and holding onto the only weapon I could find, a plastic pirate sword, I opened the door to the basement and began to creep down the old, creaky stairs. I turned on the light and turned the corner, with my toy weapon ready by my side. I was relieved to find that my grandfather’s coffin was not in the corner of the room. There was something else in its place.

What I saw when I came off the stairs was confusing to me at first. I had seen a small box with a thick layer of dust on it, and a hole in the side of it. The hole looked as though it had been clawed open. When I walked over to the box, I tapped it with my toy sword. It didn’t move. That was a good sign, because that meant that there wasn’t an animal in it. At least, not a live one.

When I opened the box, I found my pet cat, Buttons. Except she didn’t look how she should have looked. Her fur was covered in mud and a red liquid. At the time, I didn’t know about death and blood and all that. I touched the corpse of my beloved pet, hoping that she was okay. I was confused, because my mom had assured me that she had ran away. I picked up the box with my friend in it and brought it upstairs. I remember it having a horrible odour to it, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to show my mom. As I climbed up the stairs, I heard her talking to my aunt, who visited her from time to time. I guess she heard me close the basement door, because she called me over.

I will never forget her face when I turned the corner into the living room, holding the box. When I entered the living room, she asked what exactly what was in the box. I told her it was our cat. She looked confused, and I told her simply, ”Buttons.” Then all the color from her face disappeared, and my aunt looked over to her with a confused look on her face. She asked me to hand her the box, so I handed it to her.

She hesitantly opened the box’s lid and screamed. My aunt looked over into the box, and looked like she was going to throw up. I was confused, because my innocent child mind had thought she was sleeping, and had been walking in mud. My mom then tried to explain how all things die when they get too old, using my grandfather as an example.

I hadn’t noticed it until then, but my cat had a long cut across her side and her throat. My mom said she didn’t know how long she was there. She said that it was possible that she was in the basement the entire time, found the box and died in it. This was strange. I specifically remember going down to the basement to check if she was down there. And why was there a hole in the side of the box? It didn’t make sense.

Eventually, we just forgot about it. Or at least, my mom forgot about it. The memory of Buttons kept haunting me as a child. In fact, it haunted me so much that I started having more nightmares, similar to the one with my grandfather. Except my cat was in the nightmare, too. My grandfather would sit up, like he usually did, but holding Buttons in his arms, instead of getting out. He then proceeded to put two fingers in my cat’s mouth and tear the top half of it's face right off.

After waking up from this nightmare, I began to cry. I didn’t want this to be how I remember my pet. I had to tell this to my mom, but I still kept it bottled up inside of me. And so I kept another secret from her.

A couple of years later, when I was eight, I slept over at my friends house who lived a block or two away from me. He didn’t know about my cat, or any of my nightmares. He was about the same height as me, about three feet tall. He had blonde, wavy hair and I had brown, straight hair. He was more athletic than me, but I could keep up with him.

I’m rambling. Anyway, I went to his house for a sleepover because he had told me he got a new cat and wanted me to see it. Since I adored cats, I agreed. My mom packed up my PJ’s, a movie if we got bored and a package of gummy worms, to share of course. Once I got there, his dad opened the door and he was behind him, holding the new cat. He wasn’t a kitten, but he wasn’t that old, either. He explained to me that his name was Socks, because of his white feet. Socks was full of energy, and never seemed to run out of it. Eventually he trotted off to the kitchen, and I pulled the movie out of my backpack.

My mom knew exactly which movie I liked the most. Power Rangers: The Curse of the Wolf was the title, I believe. I’m pretty sure that was the title, anyway… something like that. Well, I assume we both fell asleep during the movie, because I woke up in a sleeping bag on the ground. I checked the time on his Superman clock. 4:30 AM. Why had I woke up so early? I wasn’t a morning person, and even most morning people didn’t wake up that early. Suddenly, I heard a loud screeching coming from the kitchen. Being the nice friend I am, I let my friend sleep while I investigated. I took his flashlight and opened the door slowly. It was a good thing his floor was sturdy, because I didn’t have cat-like steps. I passed his parents door, and listened to see if they were awake. I heard his dad snore, and that was the answer. I continued onward to the kitchen, to investigate the noise. The kitchen was completely empty. The sound was coming from their basement door.

Why, oh why, did it have to be coming from the basement? I thought about getting my friend to go down with me, but that would be rude since he was sleeping. Gathering my courage, I reached for the door and flicked the light on. At least I didn’t have to worry about the flashlight. Slowly, but surely, I climbed down the stairs to the basement. I swore I had to be dreaming, because his basement looked exactly like ours. The walls were solid concrete, the left window had a slight crack in it and the furnace looked identical. Something in the corner of the room caught my eye.

It was the exact same box that was in our basement. With the same hole clawed into it and the same smell. I was afraid to open it at first, fearing I was having another nightmare. Hesitantly, I lifted the top off the box. Inside, I expected to see my pet exactly how I had found her the first time, but in its place was another animal. It also had a cut across its throat and its side.

Its four paws were white, like it was wearing socks.

I had to hold back my vomit. I screamed, closed the box and ran back upstairs. I ran into my friends room, and then his parents room, and lead them down to the basement. This time, however, Socks was gone, and the box was empty. Even the basement looked how it should have when I went down. The odour remained, however. His parents were mad at me for waking them up, because they had to work that day. My friend had no idea what was going on, and passed out on the couch. I was still terrified at what I had seen, and I was confused. Where had Socks gone? I swore I had seen him in the box.

I didn’t sleep for the rest of the night. I just kept watching the Power Rangers over and over. I didn't want to go back to sleep, fearing that I might have another nightmare. As soon as I saw the sun come up, I walked back to my house. My friend was still sleeping, so I left as quiet as I could. Once I sat down on the couch, I passed out slightly after. Fortunately, I didn’t have another nightmare. But something else troubled me. I fell asleep on the couch at six in the morning and woke up at lunchtime, but I woke up in my bed. I didn’t really pay attention to it until now. Then I leaned over to get a drink of water. But something else caught my eye. I was looking at a note that said “Sweet Dreams” written on it very crudely, like it had been written in a hurry. Under the note was what looked like a rabbit’s foot.

I later found out that it was Socks' foot.

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