By Maya Petzoldt, TIWP Student
Waking up in the middle of the night is never fun, especially to go to the bathroom. You turn the lights on, and guess what—now your eyes hurt, too. You sit down, and then the cold seat shocks you. Now you’re slightly awake with a headache. With your senses mostly up now, you realize you need some water but you want to go back to sleep. You see my dilemma here?
As I walk to the kitchen, I try to count things. I count the twenty-six steps it takes for me to walk from the second floor bathroom to first floor kitchen. As I reach for a glass and begin to fill it with water, I hear more steps. I know it’s not my mom, they’re too rhythmic. My mom’s steps are leisurely, one, two, pause, three, pause, four, repeat. These are more precise, nearly no pauses. One, two, three, four. But they aren’t deep, they sound light. So it can’t be my dad, that means it has to be my older sister. (Don’t question why I track these things, I get bored very easily. And I also don’t want to get caught slacking on homework.)
Back to the point, as I sip from my clear blue plastic cup, I turn to see if I’m right. And guess what, I am! Score! My older sister’s face shifts into a familiar close-eyed smile and in her honey voice she answers my silent question.
“Just going downstairs for a second, I left my iPad.”
I nod and turn back around, my ridiculously curly brown hair bouncing a little. I scowl at the fact that I noticed that; it means I’m waking up more. It’s going to take forever to get back to sleep now. I close my eyes and count my sisters steps as she goes down the stairs to the basement, which she has claimed as her lair.
I sigh as she reaches the fifteenth step, the last step. Counting her steps didn’t put me to sleep at a… Wait. Her steps continue, no longer just fifteen, now twenty, twenty three, and then her steps stop. She continues forward, no longer sounding like she’s walking on hollow wooden stairs, but a concrete floor. This is also wrong! The basement has a carpet flooring and I should barley be able to hear it from here.
I turn to look at the basement door. It’s still open. I put my glass down, and take a deep breath. Surely I’m imagining things. Maybe I’m just very sleepy. It’s easy to miscount. I try to convince myself, but the longer I stare at the door, the more my resolve slips. I realize I’m never going to sleep unless I check it out.
Groaning a little, I follow my straight haired sibling’s path into the basement, as a bit of unease settles in my gut. I slip past the door and go down the stairs, closing the door behind me. I suppose if this is a bad situation that it’s a little counter-intuitive, but I would feel better if I can control these circumstances. At least I can’t get scared by it closing on me.
As I turn around, I hear a click that sends a shocking sliver down my spine. I turn slowly to look at the lock on the door, finding something I could not have suspected. With my revelation, I whip my entire body around to face the door that is now missing. I frantically run my hands over it as my brain short circuits a bit. This can’t be happening.
When I find that I cannot seem to bring the door back, a few tell-tale tears prick my eyes. I gulp loudly and force my body to move down the stairs, counting the twenty three steps to the bottom.
‘Oh god, I am regretting this now,’ I think to myself as I look out into an endless concrete room.