Garrett Johnson


I took the first step, then the second. My heart was beating faster than the flapping of a hummingbird’s wings. The fourth. The fifth. My imagination took over. I found myself hearing horrible noises coming from the bottom. What should I do? Should I turn back? Do I keep going? Another crazy sound and I jump up the stairs and go looking for my mother. The basement was the scariest place in the world for me when I was younger.

The noises that came from down there were not of this world. Who knew what lurked beyond that final step. I was not willing to stay around to find out. When I was young, any time I went to make my descent down the stairs, I fell well short. What did I believe was down there? Monsters? Aliens? Horrid creatures that only subside in the murky depths of the underground? I could hear them moving, talking to each other in their covert code. Their slimy selves moving, leaving a trail of gruesome slop behind them. Creatures of all shapes and sizes get along in their secretive society. They all existed for one purpose, to get me. Even when I turned on all the lights available to me, I still couldn’t muster up the courage to take what would be my final plunge into unknown territory.

My fear came from me not being alone much as a child. My sister, brother, mom or dad was always by my side. So when it came to going into a place that I didn’t know anything about, I was very hesitant. The fact that I was going to be alone in the basement with no one around to comfort or protect me was a bad thought. I was so scared that I would ask someone else in my family to go get whatever I wanted from the basement, with me watching from the top of the stairs. My parents didn’t allow this. In time, I had to face my darkest fear. I shared a room with my brother so even when I went to bed at night I wasn’t alone. In the basement I would be truly alone, the perfect target for any of the numerous monsters waiting for some action. Now that I look back on the experience it is obvious that the furnace was making the sounds and that my imagination was distorting them and using them against me, making the noises sound like roaring, flesh chomping monsters and aliens that were ready to kill me the second my foot left that final step. Now that nine years have passed, I have matured a good bit, and realize that my fears were indeed childish.


Copyright 2002-2008 Student Publishing Program (SPP). Poetry and prose 2002-2008 by individual authors. Reprinted with permission. SPP developed and designed by Strong Bat Productions.