when i was a kid, i was afraid of our basement. we still played down there, but it was unsettling--probably due to all the unsolved mysteries we watched and my recurring dreams that our basement was a hideout for a varied criminal element. who knew what might be lurking in the shadows behind all those boxes?
i may be grown-up now, but i'm still scared of my basement--not so much of unsavory characters as unwelcome four and eight-legged creatures. we live in an old farmhouse, and our basement is dark, dank, damp and cobwebby. our dog refuses to go down there, and i can't blame her. it has a low, unfinished "ceiling," a creepy tub, storm cellar stairs, one bare bulb, and lots of corners untouched by light. plus it smells musty and stale.
it doesn't help that when jim lived here before we were married, he was bitten there by a black widow spider.
the problem is, our freezer is in the basement, so i have to suck it up and go there anyway. i always wear shoes, try to get it over with as quick as possible and keep my eye peeled for rat kings.
what's a rat king, you ask? i don't really want to talk about it. i'll will offer you this link, but for the love of all things holy, DO NOT CLICK unless you are prepared to be horrified. i mean it. consider yourself warned.
i'm not technically afraid of encountering a rat king so much as a rat-sized mouse. jim found a dead one down there last spring whose body was, i kid you not, as long as his shoe--not including its tail! i didn't even know mice could get that big.
last night, jim was in bed, i was at the computer, and i heard a loud shuffling coming from the kitchen.
"sydney?" i whispered. (sydney is our dog.)
"sydney?" i whispered a little louder.
still nothing. the lights were off. i tiptoed back to the kitchen, turned on the light, and saw that everything appeared as it should. i looked over to the mudroom and realized that sydney was in her kennel with the door closed, asleep for the night.
the noise was definitely not sydney, and it was coming from behind the basement door.
i knocked quietly to silence whatever beast was scampering in my basement and intruding in my home.
i'm not a kid, and i'm no longer worried about criminals in my basement. as freaky as they are (DON'T CLICK!) i'm not really afraid of rat kings, either. but there is something lurking down there, and it sounds a heck of a lot bigger than your run-of-the-mill mouse. if it's not a serial killer, and it's not a rat king or mouse, what the junk is hiding out in my basement?
update: as it turns out, mice really can't get that big. a morning show on sunday had a segment on rats which can have mouse-like tails. our illusions are crushed!