Monday, March 17, 2014


YOU SURVIVED THE IDES OF MARCH!!! AND St. Patrick's Day! Phew! I was worried. This is one of those tricky months. :) Well, let's start afresh as spring is right around the corner (...yes it is...don't argue...seriously...warm weather...or, you know, rain and stuff...). Let's begin to shake off the last of our wintery cobwebs and charge headlong into...the basement... Um...well...just go write. ;) (Wow, I have a lot of ellipses in this one...and for me to notice means it's probably too many...Oh well! :) )

If you need to read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

1. Up to 500 words
2. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
3. Start with the given first sentence.
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Include Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted
6. The challenge is open for 24 hours on Tuesday EST

Oh, and feel free to change pronouns, punctuation, tense, and anything in brackets to fit the story/pov/tone. I'm not going to be TOO picky... Our judge however...

Our Judge today is Samantha James. Read her winning tale from last week here!

 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #37 is:

[She] knew [she] shouldn't have opened the basement door.

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Include an urban legend.



  1. The Eggs:
    Word Count: 497

    She knew I shouldn’t have opened the basement door. Her thatch-roofed cottage was frigid, but she said not to worry. When the upstairs bathroom pipe burst, she told me to shut off the water. She told me to come back to the davenport where we had camped for past two nights under comforters. She lit incense, and said that the problem would correct itself later that night.
    I should have known better than to go back to a house with a girl I met at Stonehenge. But she needed a ride, and was easy on the eyes. What was a fella to do?
    Mischief lived in her eyes. There is danger there, but the rewards were too tempting to skip.
    The egg thing should have warned me away. Once we reached her house she scurried to a coop out back and returned with eggs. She sat those upright on her counter, but cried when they fell. One, two, three eggs met Humpty in turn.
    “I don’t understand it,” she said, “This is the Solstice, the eggs should stand on edge.”
    There goes the theory that the British education system is superior. “That only happens on the Equinox.”
    “Oh, I suppose that makes sense,” she said. “Then, we should repeat this experiment in two months?”
    “Three,” I corrected her.
    Instead of being cross with me, she had a different reaction. Respect perhaps?
    She knew I shouldn’t have opened the basement door, but she didn’t stop me. She gave me a beeswax candle and told me where the long matches were kept.
    Each stair into the basement was colder than the last. My bare feet complained and begged me to abandon this quest to relight the furnace pilot. Only the candle flicker broke the darkness in the basement. Between the stairs and the furnace sat a small round table. On that table was an egg, lying on its side.
    Just like I thought, the furnace pilot was out. I concentrated, trying to smell gas but only located dust and mold. I turned on the gas to the old furnace, and was rewarded with a hiss. A long match roared to life using the candle’s flame to start it. I stretched the match to the pilot.
    A tremendous light stung my eyes, and a whoosh registered in my ears. The furnace shrieked to life. No need to huddle under a comforter tonight.
    I retreated towards the stairs and ignored the clutter of her basement. That table near the stairs still had an egg on it. The egg was standing on edge.
    Confusion won the day from panic, and kept me rooted. It’s not like an egg stands on its own, someone must have set it upright.
    I lacked the energy to cry out as it skewered me. A sharp metal shoved through my back, and glistened out my chest. As I faded, I wondered why she let me come down. She knew I shouldn’t have opened the basement door.


    Michael Simko
    Special Challenge: Accepted (Embraced even)

  2. When Legends Become Reality

    She knew that she shouldn't have opened the basement door, but the crashing, smashing, banging, and hissing noise had been too strong to ignore. She sniffed, the basement smelled even damper and mustier than before. The air was laced with the stench of sewage, there was also a strange scent she couldn't quite place, similar to roasting chicken. With a trembling hand she flicked the light switch. Dim and flickering they came on. She stared at her basement in dismay. Hanging down from the ceiling, live electrical wires danced and sparked. Water gushed from a burst pipe. The conrcete floor was already flooded several inches deep. The masonry wall in the back had ben smashed open. Cinder blocks strewed the area. Filth dripped from a gaping metal tunnel behind the wall, plopping into the water. Her tool rack had been toppled over. A large, dark green mass lay beside the crushed remains of her furnace and boiler. She blinked, focusing her eyes. Blood oozed from the wounds slashed into its skin and charred spots marked the places where the electrical current had seared its hide. It raised its large head, hissing at her. Carefully she switched off the lights, easing back and gently closing the door. Great, just what I needed! She thought sarcastically. This is New York City, the insurance adjusters will never believe this claim! She tiptoed over to her cell phone sitting on the coffe table in the living room. She dialed the utilities first, switching them off. She jumped and winced, hearing more racket downstairs. She considered her options carefully. Lips set in determination, she punched out the digits of a former boyfriend from Louisiana. "Hello, Billy Bob, this is Sherillynn, I've got a problem, could you come over with your tools and your rifle? By the way, do you know how to tan leather or happen to have any good recipes for aligator? Yeah, you heard me right. One of them just crawled out of the sewer into my basement. Thanks a lot Billy Bob, I appreciate it." She flipped the phone and sat down on the couch to wait.

    361 words

  3. I forgot to add:
    Special Challenge Accepted

  4. I knew I shouldn’t have opened the basement door. But, I’d never been one for doing what I should. I’d always done what I shouldn’t. So, I opened the door.

    And stared at a black hole. It was like someone made a three-dimensional painting of black, outlined in pale blue that flickered, fading in and out. “Cool!” I thought. “I wonder where the light switch is.” I reached into the black, feeling for the inevitable light switch on the wall. I couldn’t find it.

    I couldn’t find the wall.

    I pulled my pocket flashlight out, turned it on, and shined it into the black. It didn’t do a thing. The beam hit the surface of the black, and vanished.

    I remembered what Diana said when I told her I was spending the night in the Thompson house. “You know. The haunted one.”

    “You’re an idiot.” Yep. Her exact words.

    “You know what happens to people who stay there. You’ve read about it in the newspapers. The ones that come out alive babble about the basement door being a gateway to another universe.”

    “You don’t believe that crap, do you?” I’d laughed. “It’s probably just an urban legend.”

    “Of course not. But, something happens to the people who stay there. Something strange. You know that.”

    We argued about my plan for hours. Until she finally made me promise I wouldn’t open the basement door. “I promise. I won’t open the door. OK?” It was a lie. But it was what she wanted.


    She didn’t need to know I was going to explore that basement. I didn’t tell her.

    I stood there, staring into the blackest black I’d ever seen. I stuck my hand into it, and my hand vanished. I could still feel lit. I could move my fingers, wave, make a fist. My hand was fine, even though I couldn’t see it.

    I stuck my arm in, up to the elbow, and watched it vanish. I moved closer, until the black was between my elbow and shoulder. I bent my arm, and poked my fingers back into the room. I laughed as I wiggled my fingers. “What the heck, why not?” And I stepped into the black.

    And fell on my face, hard. Everything was black. My ribs hurt, and I’d probably broke my nose. “Jesus!” I shifted, on the ground, got to my knees and stood up. I couldn’t see a thing. It was that dark. I waved my hand in front of my nose, and couldn’t see it.

    I couldn’t see my watch to check the time, and my phone didn’t work at all. It wouldn’t even light up. I tried to find my way out, but couldn’t. I had no water, no food. I wondered long it takes to starve to death?

    I heard one thing, a while back. The only thing I’ve heard. Diana. “I told you not to open the basement door.”

    490 Words

  5. Watch Out For Suzy Baker

    She knew she shouldn’t have opened the basement door. The moment cold air slithered around her neck like icy fingers, she knew.

    Behind her Jerry was laughing.

    “If this is so funny, why don’t you come down there with me,” Chelsea said. “It was your idea in the first place.”

    Minutes earlier they had been at a party, Chelsea’s first in her new town, when someone brought up the curse of Suzy Baker, a story most kids thrived on in Waltersburg.

    Suzy Baker was murdered right before she graduated high school. Her family moved immediately and the house had been unoccupied since. The house didn’t look abandoned or haunted, at least not from the outside. The neighborhood had set to keep the lawn maintained and the house looking as perfect as the rest of Suburbia. Everyone tried to ignore the imperfection of the empty yellow house.

    Jerry, in his half drunken state, had offered up himself to take Chelsea to check the place out. A dare most kids talked about doing but few actually went through with.

    Now, with a cold breeze dancing down her spine, Chelsea was ready to back out herself.

    “Come on. Don’t be such a girl.” Jerry pushed past her and trudged down the stairs. “I thought you didn’t believe in ghost stories?”

    “I don’t.” Chelsea followed down the steps. “But that doesn’t mean this place isn’t creepy.”

    Jerry flicked the light switch on at the bottom of the stairs. Nothing happened. He flicked the switch a few more times before he said, “Light doesn’t work.”

    Chelsea rolled her eyes and stepped off the final step behind Jerry. Two windows reflected light from street lamps outside but the golden glow didn’t cast into the basement. Like the light wasn’t allowed beyond the windows. The basement reminded Chelsea of her own with couches and a TV and other normal household items decorating the dark room. Almost as if the family who lived here had fled in a hurry.

    “Why do people think this place is haunted again?”

    “Because of Suzy,” Jerry threw himself on a couch and coughed when a plume of dust surrounded him.

    “Because she’s here?”

    “Every high schooler who comes here vanishes. Ever since her family left without trying to solve her death Suzy has been vengeful. She kills in the hopes of getting her parent’s attention so that she may rest her soul.”

    “Right.” Chelsea nodded her head. “That makes absolutely no sense. Are you sure that’s how the story goes?” She waited for an answer that didn’t come. “Jerry?” She walked to the couch he was on to discover it empty. Chelsea scanned the dark. “Jerry?” She stopped and listened, straining her ears to pick up anything in the still quiet of the basement. “This isn’t funny Jerry,” she whispered.

    “Shhh,” a voice hissed behind her. Icy tendrils of air wrapped around her throat and began to squeeze.

    486 Words
    Challenge Accepted

  6. Scaredy-cat, Scaredy-cat

    I knew I shouldn't have opened the basement door. A rat scuttled across my foot, sending me shrieking and running for a broom. Twenty minutes later the basement had its inhabitant returned and I was trembling on my overstuffed chair with knees tucked under my chin and phone clutched in my hand from dialing pest control. It was my usual perch after a freak-out or panic attack. Sometimes I’d sit there for hours. It was safe there. I was safe. The potatoes could wait in that black hole.

    The truth is I’ve spent my whole life dodging from the monster under my bed. Once that light is out, I leap under the covers and tug them over my head. I know if even a strand of hair is visible on my pillow, the monster will slaughter me in my sleep. I’m not brave and I’ve given up ever trying to be.

    Pest control dialed, I worked on calming the violent shivers. I wish I had a husband. Pest control, maintenance man, and lawyer all rolled into one. But of course, I had been too scared of that as well. Stood him up at the altar and got on next train out.

    I looked at the clock on the mantel across the room. One hour until he’d come and kill the beast. I continued trembling and looked down at my pedicured feet. I hated being such a scaredy-cat, but I was used to it by now.

    It all started at a slumber party in elementary school. The only reason I was there at all was that silly rule “if you’re going to pass out invitations in class, you have to invite everyone” and my mother insisted I socialize with people other than book characters.

    I can remember it as clearly as if it had happened yesterday. We were all sitting in a circle on our scattered sleeping bags when one of the girls brought out a flashlight and told a ghost story. It was innocent fun, just trying to scare each other, but when Megan took her turn, everything changed.

    “I know a real ghost story,” she’d said, taking the flashlight and illuminating her pale features and jet black eyes. She proceeded to tell of her cousin’s best friend’s sister who had done the Bloody Mary challenge with two other girls. They went to sleep laughing. Only two of them woke up. The third girl had been lacerated.

    And so, being girls, we all had crowded into the bathroom, flipped off the lights, and I was chosen to hold the candle. We twirled. We chanted. We laughed. We slept. I woke up with cuts on my wrists and a note pinned to my pillow. “Ugly duckling as you are, I’ve left you with just a scar. Should you call my name again, I’ll use more than just a pin.” I swear that note had been written in blood.

    The doorbell rang, jolting me. I was using a nightlight tonight.

    Word Count: 500
    Special Challenge