With the story below I’m trying something a little different in at this site and in my writing. It is my first story for children who are older than Early-readers. I’d love to get your feedback about the age range of likely readers.
The Mysterious Disk
By Russ Towne
The Glass Box
Hannah and Peter Sawyer waited until their mom was busy cooking dinner at the other end of the hundred-year-old house they’d just moved into. Older sister Hannah had one hand on a door knob and the index finger of her other hand to her lips.
“SHHHH! If Mom catches us in the basement, she’ll ground us FOREVER!”
Peter squeezed his lips extra-tight as Hannah began to pull the door open. SQUE-EAAK! The hinges screamed their unhappiness. The children froze in place, listening for any signs their mom had heard. Hannah reached in and felt around on and old, rough, slightly moist wall and turned on a very old light stitch. A moment later, a dull glow appeared in the center of what appeared to be a big, cold, and dark cave. A lone light-bulb that seemed to be as old as the house sputtered to life. It was covered in dust. Much of what little light it created was swallowed up.
They hesitated, then walked down a step. Hannah closed the door as it SQUE-EAAKED its displeasure. CREEAAK! Even the step they’d walked on seemed to be warning them to leave.
“IT SURE IS DARK IN HERE!” Peter said with a whisper-shout.
“SHHHHH!” They waited a moment to give their eyes a chance to adjust to the subdued light.
“It stinks, too … like old dead bodies!”
“Peter! There are no dead bodies down here.”
“Mom wouldn’t buy a house with dead bodies in it. That’s why!”
“Oh. I hope you’re right.”
They stayed close together, with one arm each on the hand rail and the fingers of their other hand sliding down the wall as they slowly descended into the barely-lit cavernous room. The moisture on the wall wet their fingertips.
“Feels like blood!”
“SHUT UP!” She hadn’t meant to yell, but she was already afraid and his talking made it worse.
When they reached the bottom of the stairs, they noticed the floor was bare dirt.
“Do you think there are rats down here?”
Hannah froze and shivered at the thought. “No. What would they have to eat?”
“So, do you think there are dead rats down here?
“No. They’d have gone away when they got hungry. Now be quiet!”
Stuff was piled everywhere with thick layers of dust covering everything. Hannah talked to hide her fear. “Mom said the old lady she bought the house from hadn’t been down here in many years. She said she was afraid to come down here.”
“I-I see why!” The dim light threw ghostly shadows on the walls. As the children moved, the shadows seemed to move with them. “M-maybe we should get out of here!”
“No. We’re already here. Let’s explore. I’ll bet we find some really neat old stuff.”
Hannah started to tease her brother for saying something so silly, but, if the thought of treasure helped keep him down here with her … she turned back toward him and, with a reassuring smile, said, “Maybe!”
She turned back around and walked into a cobweb. She almost screamed but covered her mouth with one hand just in time as she frantically tried to brush the web and any spiders that may have landed on her away from her face. “SPIDERS! I HATE SPIDERS!” she screamed to herself. “Maybe this isn’t just a good idea after all.”
Peter laughed at his sister’s “Spider Dance.” She always did it whenever she walked into a cobweb or a spider got too near to her. He always laughed, but Peter made sure to follow right behind her so she’d clear a spider-free path for him.
Most of the stuff was in wooden crates and boxes, piled high. As they neared the light-bulb, they noticed a small glass box on a table beneath it.
“DIBS!” Peter yelled as he tried to scramble in front of his sister. He tripped and crashed into the table, almost knocking it over. Hannah grabbed the glass box just before it fell to the floor.
“PETER!” She growled through gritted teeth.
Just then, the light-bulb made a loud click, flashed, and went out, plunging them into utter darkness.
(To be continued…)