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Shirlee Keele

The Monster in the Basement

Timmy and Tommy (not twins), nine and ten years old, gave their parents a lot of grief. They were full of mischief and what one didn’t think of, the other one did. They were fun loving and liked to tease, maybe too much for their own good.

One day while playing downstairs in their bedroom, Tommy was sitting on the floor with his legs crossed. He was sorting out his marbles, when a white streak whizzed past him. He looked up at Timmy who was lying on the bed reading a comic book.

Okay, what are you doing?” He yelled at Timmy. Timmy didn’t even answer him.

So he yelled again, only this time a little louder.

What do you think you are doing?”

That caught Timmy’s attention. “What does it look like, doodle brain, I’m standing in the corner on my head counting your marbles.”

Don’t be funny.” Tommy snapped back at him. “Did you throw something at me?”

Did you see me throw something at you?”


Did you feel something hit you?”


Well if I had thrown something at you, you would have felt it, I wouldn’t have missed.”

Still not convinced, Tommy went back to the job at hand. But he kept looking at Timmy; what ever he was up to, he was going to get caught. After a while mother called for them to come eat dinner. Later they went out and threw a few hoops and then went next door to Sam’s house.

When Tommy went into his room later that evening, there were his marbles scattered all over the floor. “Oh that rotten Timmy, I’ll get him for this.” He thought to himself as he ran up the steps, his face getting redder by the minute.

Okay Timmy, I want an explanation, what did I do to you?”

By the sound of his voice, Timmy immediately defended himself.

What did you do to me? Well I just wonder.” He answered as snotty as he could.

By now Tommy was really mad. “Why did you have to throw my marbles all around the room?”

I didn’t even touch your stupid marbles.”

Well, they’re all over everywhere.”

So that means I did it?”

So who else would?”

You know what? I’m not the only person who lives in this house.” He snapped as he turned around and left.

Tommy was upset, but he went back into his room and spent the next little while cleaning up the mess he knew Timmy had made. But that was Ok, he would get even with him, he always did.

Then things started happening. First of all, Tommy’s marbles disappeared completely. Then other things seemed to come up missing. And then funny little things started happening that he couldn’t quite put his finger on. He went to his mother and told her Timmy was hiding his stuff. His mother wasn’t very sympathetic, she said she didn’t have time to settle all their arguments; he would have to figure it out for himself.

As he lay on his bed brooding, he could almost feel something moving. He couldn’t see anything, but he knew someone was there. He could hear something “quite” in the laundry room. He just knew Timmy was up to something. He got up from his bed really quiet and tip toed to the door and opened it so careful that even He couldn’t hear it. He looked around trying to see where Timmy was. There were just enough shadows that he wasn’t sure, he moved slowly along the wall and quickly jumped around the corner, ready to grab him. But much to his surprise, no one was there. But he could still feel it. He flipped on all the lights and checked out every room, but discovered no one else was down there. “Now this is really weird.” He thought. “I know something is going on. He’s here somewhere.”

As Tommy walked back into the laundry room, he noticed a crack in the floor. He had never noticed it before so he went up and told his mother, asking her about it. That surprised her too, she hadn’t seen it. But she said not to worry, cement does that.

Every day Tommy noticed the crack getting bigger. Now it was wide enough that he could drop marbles into the crack. He asked Timmy if he had seen it. Timmy was kinda quite when he was being questioned. Tommy noticed how funny he was acting, and asked him if he had done something to cause the crack.

I didn’t do anything to make the crack.” He said in a low voice. “But I seen something come out of it.”

What kind of something?” He asked very doubtful.

Some kind of black slimy thing, it looked like black oil only it was thick and it seemed like something was pouring it out. Then it made a funny shape.”

What kind of a shape?”

I don’t know, it was weird; then it turned white and then almost clear and dove back into the crack really fast.”

Tommy started laughing, “And you think I am going to believe that. What kind of a fool do you take me for?”

It’s been here for a while. I’ve seen it before.”


No, it really has.” Timmy sounded nervous, and almost had Tommy convinced, but he wasn’t sure.

Why didn’t you tell me?”

I knew you wouldn’t believe me.”

In the next few days Tommy found out more about the “Monster,” as they started calling it. They would see it as it was diving back into the crack in the floor, which was getting bigger every time they seen it. Then they started seeing it more and more often. Pretty soon the monster would come out of the crack when they were down there. One night it came into their room. The boys were getting ready for bed and as Timmy turned around, there the monster was, sitting on his bed. He let out a cry, but the monster stayed there this time. Both boys just stood there looking at him so scared they didn’t dare move. And then he startled them even more when he started speaking.

Hey guys, don’t be afraid of me, I won’t hurt you. I want to be friends.” Timmy and Tommy looked at each other with big wide eyes, neither one dared say a word.

My name’s Humphrey. I already know yours.” He laughed. “I’ve been watching you for a quite a while, and finally decided this is the place I want to live. I like your pad.”

Humphrey came to see the boys all the time now, and they had a lot of fun with him. He could change colors, sizes and shapes; he could be what ever he wanted to be. He turned himself black and threw himself against the mirror.

Look.” He laughed. “I’m an ink spot.” He laughed by himself, the boys didn’t laugh with him. “I can be white lightening too.” He volunteered.

You know what guys, I’m a little hungry. How about rounding me up a little grub?”

All there is to eat is in the kitchen.” Timmy said.

Well!” He grunted, “Go get it.”

But we’re not allowed to bring food into our room.” Timmy said.

Oh you big boob, do I have to do everything by myself?”

And off he went. They didn’t see him the rest of the evening. They wondered what had happened to him, but thought he was upset and just went back into his hole.

The next day when they came home from school, their mother was waiting to talk to them. And she didn’t look happy.

I know you’ve been told not to eat in your room.” She said very sternly. “What do you have to say for yourself?”

We didn’t eat down there.” They both said at once.

Come on boys, your room was a complete disaster. You had food all over the place, and milk spilled on the desk and the floor.”

They both looked at each other in surprise. But they knew who had done it. But how could they tell her? So they didn’t. Every day something else would happen, and they would get blamed for Humphrey’s shenanigans. At first they started denying every thing, and that just made their mother more upset with them. And she grounded them for a couple of days. That was when they finally decided there was only one thing to do, and that was to tell her about the monster. But how? They would discuss it every day, and couldn’t really come up with a good way of going about it. So the next time mother got mad at them for something Humphrey had done they told her.

We didn’t do that.”

And just who do you think did?” She almost screamed.


She started laughing. “And who is Humphrey?”

He’s a Monster.” Tommy told her.

A Monster! You’re telling me that a Monster is getting you in trouble. You don’t really think I believe that do you, you know all too well there is no such thing as Monsters.”

But there is.” said Tommy, “He lives in the hole in the basement.”

What hole?” asked mother?

The crack by the washer.”

That did it, that really made her mad. “Okay, she said, I don’t want to hear another word about a monster, and if I do you’ll be grounded for a week.”

It was only a few hours and mother was after them again. “Which one of you took my blue blanket? I found it on the floor in the laundry room, it was wet and dirty. You know it’s my favorite blanket, and now it is all dirty.”

We have to have a talk with Humphrey,” Timmy said, and down to the basement they went. Humphrey didn’t want to come out of the crack. “You better get up here or else.” Timmy yelled.

Or else what?” he said as he popped out of the crack, all dressed in his purple and green robe.

Why did you take my mother’s blanket?”

I wanted it. It was nice…. nice and soft. She took it away and I want it back and I want it back NOW!

You’re not getting it back, and another thing, you better quite taking things. Nothing here belongs to you.”

You better get that blanket back for me.” Humphrey Threatened in a low mean voice and make this big ugly face at them.

You’re not getting anything again.” Tommy told him. “And not only that, we want you out of this house, and we want you out now. Get out and don’t come back.”

Don’t talk to me like that.” Humphrey Smirked. As he made another face, this time his mouth was big and he had big sharp gold teeth.

Those teeth are big enough they could eat you.” Thought Timmy, and he felt himself go weak.

You just heard us. You’ve been warned and this is your last minute here, now get out.”

Humphrey went back into his hole, but that wouldn’t be the last they would hear of him. The next day, the cord on mothers iron was all cut to pieces. Then the drain on the washer was plugged up and water was all over the floor. Everything went from bad to worse. The boys were getting awfully scared about what was happening. They didn’t know what else Humphrey would do. But one thing they knew, they were going to get blamed.

We have to do something,” Tommy told his brother. “Let’s have a talk with dad.”

Well, dad didn’t like the talk. He accused them of lying. He was going to take all their privileges away from them if this stupid Monster thing didn’t end. He said they couldn’t have anything to do with their friends for a whole week. And if they hadn’t learned from that, they would be grounded until they did learn. Boy, this was something they hadn’t expected. They thought dad would understand about these things and help them out. Now what were they going to do.

Humphrey had something else to tell them when they came down, and he said it with all the vengeance he could blast out.

I don’t want your mother coming down here anymore. Make sure she stays up stairs. I don’t want her around here again.”

Don’t threaten us.” Tommy screamed at him. “This is my mom’s house and she is going to stay here, and you can’t do anything about it.

You’ll see what I can do about it,” He screeched.

We’ve already told you to get out and we mean it, get out right now.”

Well, I’m not going, she is.” He sneered, “And YOU make sure she doesn’t come down here again.” And back in the hole he dove.

The next day mom fell down the bottom three steps as she was carrying a load of laundry down stairs. She was crying when the boys came home from school. Dad was there and told them they had gone too far this time and it was going to stop.

Which one of you strung the string across the step?”

They were surprised to find some fishing line tied across one of the steps. They looked at each other with fear in their eyes.

She could have been hurt really bad.” Tommy said, as he tried to hold back the tears. Of course, Humphrey could have cared less.

I told you not to let her come down here. What do I have to do to convince you?” Humphrey yelled at them.

We have to get rid of him.” Tommy Said. They sat up and plotted part of the night about what they should do. At first he seemed to be so harmless and now they were so afraid. But they still didn’t know what they should do. They told their mother she better not come downstairs anymore, until they could get rid of Humphrey. All that did was make her mad and she started screaming that Monsters were only make believe, and what were they trying to do to her. She couldn’t understand what had happened to her sons. They hadn’t always been like this. They used to be good boys, but now they had changed and were very rebellious. They felt bad about the things mom was saying.

When the week-end came, they were very careful to watch that Humphrey didn’t do anything bad. But as soon as they turned their back, things started happening. While they were eating dinner, some one smelled smoke. They ran down into the basement and there in the corner of the laundry room was mother’s favorite blanket, burning up. She fell to her knees, crying uncontrollably.

Why are you doing this to me?” She begged for an answer.

Mom, what can we do to convince you that there really is a Monster?” Timmy Replied.

Stop it, stop it,” she said hysterically, “I can’t take it anymore.” She jumped up, and stumbled up the stairs. Dad told them to get in their room and not come out; he would deal with them later. They were so scared, none of this was their doing, and they didn’t know what to do.

Later as dad came down stairs to deal with the boys, there on the floor was a big long glob, it was hot pink with orange, black and bright yellow strips, and it was spread in a funny shape along the floor. Dad didn’t know it was Humphrey, and it took Humphrey quiet by surprise. It startled him and he hurriedly dove back in through the crack. Dad was as much surprised as Humphrey was; he hadn’t expected to ever see this. He went into the boy’s room; they were sitting on the floor really feeling blue. Dad was as white as a ghost. And Tommy spoke up and asked him if he had seen a ghost. He was just joking of course, but dad said yes, he thought he had seen a ghost. He described what he had seen. For once the boys were glad to hear what he said.

That was Humphrey. We’ve been trying to tell you about him, but you wouldn’t listen.” Dad was in shock, he started in with a lot of questions.

When, where, but how?” He didn’t know what to say, but he wanted to know all about it. So the boys started from when they had first seen Humphrey.

He was fun at first.” Timmy told dad. “But then he wanted everything his way. We told him to get out, but he wouldn’t leave. We didn’t know what to do and you and mom wouldn’t believe us.”

I’m glad you finally saw him,” Tommy continued. “Now you can help us get rid of him, you’ll know what to do.”

Well I don’t know if I know or not. But we will see what can be done.” Then they all went up to tell mom, it took a while to convince her. She accused dad of taking their side and going along with them about this stupid Monster. When she finally decided that they were telling her the truth, she was relieved. She confessed that she was really worried about the boys and didn’t know what she was going to do with them. But she still wanted to see the Monster just to make sure he was real.

Oh believe me.” Dad answered, “It’s real alright.”

They all went back down stairs and looked around, but they didn’t see him. Then they went into the boy’s room, thinking maybe he had gone in there.

He’s in his hole.” Surmised Timmy, he sat down on the bed and mom sat at the computer desk, and they tried to think of some way to get Humphrey out of there. They all threw out suggestions. But no one could come up with an idea they thought would really work.

Alright! Knock it off.” Came the voice of Humphrey. They all looked up to see where the voice was coming from. He had stuck himself on the ceiling. Mom almost passed out when she looked up and saw him. This time he had his long flowing robe that was bright orange with black and gold squares, and he was leaning on one elbow. All spread out across half of the ceiling.

I’ve been up here listening to you, your all trying to get rid of me. Well you know what? I’m not going anywhere. But I’m telling you right now. You’re going, and I want you out within the hour.” And just that quick he was gone.

Then dad said they all had to work together, everyone had to do what they could to get rid of Humphrey. And dad said they had to be careful when they were talking because he could probably hear everything they said.

I CAN hear everything you say.” The loud voice came again from inside the crack. “And I want you out of here NOW!”

Everyone looked at each other, trying not to show the fear on their own face, for the sake of the rest.

Dad whispered to the rest that he would think about it during the night and at work tomorrow and see what he could come up with.

The next evening, dad was out in the garage mixing some thing up in a bucket. When mom and the boys came out to see what he was doing, he had wrote a note saying he had cement in the bucket and was going to seal up the crack. He didn’t say anything out loud for fear that Humphrey could hear him. In the note he told the boys to make sure Humphrey was in the hole. When they were sure he was, Tommy went out and motioned him inside. Very quietly dad went down the stairs and with the help of the others they quickly poured the cement into the crack and all around it, making sure they had it sealed up good.

Hey what do you think your doing? Let me out of here.” He was screaming at the top of his voice. Let me out of here.”

They all held their breath, almost thinking he was going to come up through the crack again. But after a while Humphrey settled down and quit screaming. Boy, were they relieved. Every day they would check to see if the crack was still sealed. Finally they started feeling better about it, and pretty soon everything was getting back to normal.

Then their worst fears came true. One day there was another crack in the floor in the basement. Timmy ran as fast as he could to let dad know about it. Dad ran down stairs and sure enough, there was another crack, only this one was much bigger. Out he ran and mixed up some more cement and come poured it down in the crack and all around and sealed it up good. This kept happening day after day and they could hear Humphrey laughing, but they never did see him.

Finally mom said she couldn’t take it any longer, she thought she was loosing her mind.

I’m scared all the time.” She told them. “He’s won, he can have the house, I’m afraid of every thing I do, I keep expecting him to jump up somewhere, I just can’t take it anymore, we have to move.” So they decided that’s what they would do. They would move. Of course, all this was decided while they were away from home, so Humphrey couldn’t hear.

From then on they wrote notes to each other and didn’t say anything for fear that Humphrey would know their plans. When they finished packing a box, they would take it out and put it in the truck. Not a word about moving was ever mentioned. Then one day they drove off and never came back.

They had a party that night, and boy did it feel good.

Do you know how good it is to be able to talk again?” Tommy said, he was so happy he was dancing around and laughing. In fact all of them were.

It’s so good to get away from Humphrey.”

The new house was wonderful. The boys transferred to a new school, dad had to drive a little longer to work, but that was ok. Everybody was happy again.

It was getting close to Christmas, and this year they were going to go all out. It would be great. Mom decided to start early. This would be such a good Christmas. She went downstairs to get the trimmings for the tree and the other decorations. And there in the storage room was a big crack in the floor.

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