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Stories from Members
Ralph Keele

The Monster in the Basement

Do you know who lives in there?”

Unh, no, who?”

A Monster.”

A Monster?”

Yeah, a Monster, and do you know what he likes to eat?”

GULP, NO, What?”

Little kids, just like you guys.”

Let’s get out of here.” Said Dussy

Yeah, I agreed.”

No, don’t leave.” Said Stanley. “I don’t think he’s there now.”

When is he there?” I cried.

Only when he’s hungry.” Replied Stanley.

It was a Saturday, Dussy and I were at the school grounds playing, when my cousin Stanley came by and asked what we were doing.

Playing army, you want to play?”

Sure,” he replied. “But I don’t have a gun.”

You can use one of mine.” I said. I had an old B-B-gun that didn’t work and a pistol and holster, so I let him use the B-B-gun. We played army for an hour or so, then played hit the bat for a while. Then Stanley said he had to go home.

Ok, see ya later.” I yelled as he took off running. Me and Dussy sat on the back steps of the school house and talked for a while. The back steps came right out of the bathrooms, girls on the right, and boys on the left. They were locked up on the week-end as were all the doors to the school. Between the rest rooms doors was a stair well that went down to a door that was always locked, even on school days. I had never seen anyone go in or out of that door. I had no idea what it was there for and never thought about it much. During school days when it was cold, you could hear funny noises coming from below your classroom, like creaking and banging and other noises once in a while. But I never once thought that there was a basement under the school. I didn’t know it at the time, but all those funny sounds came from the steam boiler in the basement. It was how the school was heated. In each class room there was a steam heater along the outside wall. And it would hiss and screech once in a while, but I never knew what those sounds were at the time. Later when I went to middle school, it had the same steam heaters and made the same funny noises. Then I realized what the strange noises were and where they were coming from.

The South Side School was right by my house. And it was the meeting place for all the kids on that end of town. After I started in the middle school, at the Harding School, we would still gather at the south side school to play. What ever sport season it was, we played it there. A few weeks later Dussy and I were at the school grounds playing when Stanley came by. Stanley was a few years older than me. After playing awhile we went to sit on the back school steps to rest and that’s when Stanley said.

Let’s see if we can get into the basement.”

What basement?” I asked.

That one, right there.” He said pointing to the stair well. We went down the stairwell to the door, it was locked. We shook the door knob and pushed on the door, but it wouldn’t open. And that’s when Stanley told us about the Monster that lived in the basement. Dussy and I couldn’t get away fast enough, when he told us that. That gave out little minds something to worry about when playing at the school grounds, Dussy and I was just gullible enough to believe Stanley’s story.

After that when I heard the funny noises coming from the basement, I knew it was the Monster. When I heard the screech or the hiss I would jump and get real nervous. And Dussy said he did the same thing.

It was October, a week or so before Halloween. There was Halloween decorations in all the class rooms. Black cats, ghosts, witches…. Real spooky. It was a Saturday, Dussy and I were at the school grounds, there was a chill in the air. The black smoke was pouring out of the chimney at the school. They used coal to heat the water for the steam boiler. You could smell the stinky ole coal smoke. Me and Dussy were playing cops and robbers, when here came Stanley.

What ya doing?” he asked.

Playing cops and robbers.”

Can I play?”

Sure.”

So we played that for awhile, then Stanley said.

Let’s see if the basement door is open today.”

Instant fear from me and Dussy.

I don’t think I want to.” Dussy moaned.

Me either.” I cried.

Whatsa matter? Are you chicken?”

Stanley started flapping his arms like a chicken. “Pock, Pock, Pock, chicken, chicken, chicken.”

Am not.”

Are too. Pock, pock, pock.”

Ok, let’s go see.” I sighed,

We followed Stanley down the stairwell to the basement door.

You see if it opens.” Said Stanley.

No.”

Pock, pock, pock.”

Oh, okay, I’ll see.” I didn’t want to do this, but I had too. Stanley would have told everyone that I was a chicken. My hand reached out slowly and touched the door knob, it was ice cold. I gave it a twist. It was locked. “Whew,” I said to myself.

It’s locked.” I screamed, “Let’s get out of here.” Up the stairs Dussy and I ran, almost knocking Stanley down, we were in such a hurry.

Then Stanley said. “See that smoke coming from the chimney?”

Yeah.”

You know what that means, don’t ya?”

No.”

That means the Monster has a fire going so he can cook the little kids he catches today.”

I have to go home.”

Me too.” Cried Dussy.

Pock, pock, pock,”

And more arm flapping. “Let’s see if we can get in through the coal Shute.” Stanley laughed.

We went over to the small middle door on the side of the school. It was about 2 feet by 2 feet square. Stanley grabbed the Shute door and tried to open it, but it wouldn’t open.

Come help Me.” he said. “I think two of us can open it.”

Ok,” I said.

We pulled as hard as we could, but it wouldn’t open.

Lift up and then pull out.” Stanley said. Then the door came open. We swung the door up so it would stay open. We looked down into the coal bin; it was really dark down there. But there was lights shinning through the cracks between the boards of the wood wall that held the coal back. Then we could see the outline of a door in the middle of the wall. The slack coal tapered from the Shute door to the bottom of the door in the wall.

Let’s go down there and see if we can open the door.” Said Stanley excitedly.

You go see, I ain’t going down there. even if you call me chicken, I ain’t going.”

I ain’t going either.” Whispered Dussy.

Stanley tried to shame us into going down there, but it didn’t work.

Alright.” Stanley said. “You guys stay here, I might need help getting back out of here.”

Okay.” I said, my voice quivering.

Stanley crawled through the Shute door and slid slowly down the coal to the wood door. He pushed on it, but it wouldn’t open. Then he put his feet against it and started kicking. All of a sudden the door came open and two big arms grabbed Stanley. Stanley was hollow ring and screaming and then the door went shut. We could still hear Stanley hollering. Dussy and I did a about face and was running ninety, in about three steps. We stopped when we got on my front porch. We stood there shaken in our shoes, trying to catch our breath.

What are we going to do?” cried Dussy.

I don’t know.”

We have to tell someone.” He said.

Yeah.” I know.

Your mother.”

No, she won’t believe us.” I yelled.

Well, who then?” asked Dussy.

I don’t know; let’s just think about it for a minute.”

We finally stopped shaking and got our breath back.

Ok.” I said, “Let’s tell my mother.”

We went into the house, but mom wasn’t there. So we went out back and there she was, making soap.

The Monster got Stanley.” Dussy and I shouted at the same time.

What?” She said.

The Monster got Stanley, and he going to eat him.”

She got a puzzled look on her face. “What Monster?” she laughed.

The one in the school basement, down in the coal bin.” She still looked puzzled. So we proceeded to tell her the whole story, as fast as we could talk.

You got to do something.” I said. She smiled and then said. “There’s no Monster.”

Oh yes there is.” We both shouted.

Did you see him?” she asked.

Well no, but we seen his arms.”

You did huh. What does Monster arms look like? Are they all hairy and green with long fingernails?”

No, they were… they were… like dad’s arms, big.”

Yeah, like your dad’s arms.” Dussy agreed. Mom laughed,

I think Stanley’s alright; I bet he’s out there playing by the school house right now. You two go back down there and see.”
“But the Monster?”

There’s no such thing as a Monster. So go get Stanley and have him come here with you.”

But the Mons…..”

There’s no such thing as a Monster.”

It took us a long time to get back to the school and around back by the coal Shute door. We couldn’t see Stanley anywhere, and the coal Shute door was closed. Back to my house we went on the fly.

Stanley’s not there and the Monster ate him.”

Oh, I’m sure Stanley’s alright, he just went home.”

But mom, the Monster ate him.”

There’s no such thing as a Monster.” She yelled at me again.

I worried all week about Stanley. Stanley was going to the middle school, so I would only see him on the week-ends. It was Saturday again. Mom asked me if I was going to the school yard to play.

No.” I said. “I’m never going to play at that schoolyard again.

I bet Stanley’s down there.” She said.

No he’s not. The Monster ate him.

There’s no such thing as a Monster, so get that silly notion out of your head.” She said angrily. I knew there was a Monster, I had seen him. WELL, his arms anyway.

I was playing out in the back yard and some one said to me.

Whats ya doing?”

Playing trucks. You want to play?” I said, as I turned my head to see who it was.

STANLEY.” I gasped. “The Monster didn’t eat you?”

Does it look like I have been eaten by a Monster?” He laughed.

No…. But how did you get away?”

Stanley couldn’t hold it back any longer. He started laughing so hard he was crying. He fell on the ground, rolling over and laughing and laughing. He finally calmed down enough to tell me the rest of the story. He had been setting me and Dussy up for weeks, to pull this trick on us. You see the Monster/janitor was Stanley’s uncle Ed.


THE END



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