The stairs that led to the basement of the house always had a creepy feel to them. I didn’t dare go down with out a light on and I never walked back up. I always ran. Maybe it was my over active imagination, but I could never shake the feeling that something was trying to grab me. I forced myself to turn and face it more than once but became paralyzed with fear very time. The door at the top opened to a hallway and a subsequent feeling of safety. My feet would only touch every other stair on the way up; reaching for a knob that I was sure was going to be locked and thankfully never was.
I found myself confused. I had been here before. I could have sworn I left the door open but looking up now I can see it was clearly closed. The light was on but I was in a strange silence. No hum of the dehumidifier, no TV upstairs, nothing. I guess I must have fallen down the stairs. I was laying on the floor, that much I knew, but there was more to it than that. It felt like time had passed. Maybe I was knocked out, or maybe I just hit my head and jarred something loose.
I saw my brother open the door. As far as I remembered I was home alone. He paid no attention to me. I was obviously there; I could feel myself, see him. It took recollection for me to even realize that at the time I couldn’t hear him. As he opened the door he was turned around, probably finishing a conversation with someone down the hall. It all happened so fast I had to re-think the whole thing. He took a few steps and his feet came out from under him. He slipped but he didn’t fall. It was more like he was whisked away. He just seemed to fly over the stairs, and even though he was coming down feet first right at me, it seemed as if he flew right past. It was almost like a TV genie getting sucked back into the bottle, except there was no bottle, only stones. I took notice of dozens of them, scattered around the linoleum landing at the bottom of the stairs. It was an old leaky basement; they probably were swept in on a wave of seeping rain water. I looked back up the stairs. Now they seemed larger. The metal edge on every tread was covered with ice. The door opened again. This time it was my sister. I yelled for her to stop but I couldn’t hear my own voice. I could feel it but neither one of us could hear it. She took a few steps and again, flew past me and was gone. I tried desperately to move. I felt like my body was in wet cement. I finally managed to pull myself up past my center of gravity and leaned forward towards the stairs.
I saw my mother opening the door. I screamed in horror as she took her first step but again I felt the vibrations of my screams and heard nothing. The ice was thicker now, building an overhang on every edge, dripping meltwater but not leaving a puddle. She joined the others.
My frustration had peaked. Screaming, crying, pounding my fists against…what? I should be lying on the stairs but I find myself standing, looking up. There was something separating me from the scene. It wasn’t glass but I could see through it. Nor was it flat, like a wall or partition. Instead it seemed to curve around me. I stepped back, panicked. The wall behind me loomed large. As if I was lying on my back, the ceiling looked so far away, but I was still standing.
The door opened again. My ability to think was now shattered. I couldn’t watch. I didn’t want to know. I was afraid for whoever it may have been. I turned to the side, to hide my face in shame. I noticed the stones; they were more like pebbles really. Each one perfectly round like a pea. There was more than before. Then, suddenly there was another. I looked back towards the stairs. They dominated my view like mountains. All at once I realized where and what we were, trapped forever. I thought about my life so far, everything I had seen, and I tried to remember all the stones.