May 19th 2023
Life is an adventure, and you never know what you’ll find unless you explore the opportunities. Or at least, that’s what Mom told me. Yes, the house is too old, and too big, and the floors creak even if you aren’t walking on them, but this is our new adventure. And Mom, if you’re reading this (even though I explicitly asked you not to), I’m sorry about what I said. I’m sorry about Grandma, too. The house still smells like her.
I picked the west room so I could watch the sunset. I like the way it turns the mountains pink before the darkness falls over them. We didn’t have sunsets like that back home. Mom’s having a hard time being here though. I think it might be best if I moved Grandma’s things into the basement, so she doesn’t have to look at them. I think I’ll do it tomorrow. I miss her too.
Something’s wrong with the basement. I took the boxes of Grandma’s things down, but the stairs kept going. I tried to turn back, but everything changed. The space is too big, and I can’t find the stairs, and I feel too small, and the grey walls never stop. Please make them stop.
Not sure how long it’s been now, but I found Grandma. She’s cold and scared, but it’s definitely her. We’ve been walking for what feels like days and the gray walls still won’t stop. They just keep going… forever. Something’s in here with us. I hear its footsteps when we walk, and its breathing when we stop. Sometimes, I hear its voice telling me to do things.
Grandma’s not well. Her voice is wrong. Either too high or too low—it sounds like broken glass. And if I walk too fast, and she slips into the shadows behind me, her skin becomes loose. It slouches to the floor while something flexes against it. I’m not sure if it is Grandma or not, but my legs are far too weak and I can’t keep going like this. I have to try.
Not June… never….
I spoke to it—the voice. It will show us the stairs again—let me up to watch the sunset—if I do something for it first. I have to let it out of Grandma. Just like a zipper, it told me, and it showed me how. I… I’m sorry, Mom. I know how hard it’s been, how you lost Grandma once and I won’t let it happen again. There’s so many more down here with me.
We’re coming back, Mom. All of us. They showed me so much—showed me their secrets. Like you said, Mom, life is an adventure, and you never know what you’ll find unless you explore the opportunities. Now, it’s my turn to show the world what I’ve found. Just like a zipper. This will be our new adventure.
Matt Bliss is a construction worker turned speculative fiction writer from Las Vegas, Nevada. His short fiction has appeared in Metastellar, Cosmic Horror Monthly, and Diabolical Plots among other published and forthcoming works. When he’s allowed up from the basement, you can find him on Twitter at @MattJBliss.
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