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His heart was pounding.
He was sure he had seen the doorknob turn.
It was a perfect day. The sun shone high as a dazzling crystal in the clear blue summer sky. The elements were mixing together so that it wasn’t too hot, and it wasn’t too cold. Even the winds rustling the trees didn’t give me goose bumps. The sound of leaves rustling together seemed my cue, and I gave a big ‘Woohoo’ into the air, and grinned so wide it almost hurt. I tried recounting my last day of school, but the details were already slipping from my mind. I turned to a different subject instead, summer; what I would see and what I would do. September seemed a million years away. I enjoyed the wind rushing past my face as I rode down a hill on my bike, every moment was a pleasure.
When I got home from my bike ride, my Dad was out back making his famous ‘First Day of Summer’ barbeque. Mom was sitting on the bench, reading a book. It looked like nothing really needed to be done, and that was how I liked it. We did our little ritual, with the ‘hellos’ and the ‘how was your days’, the regular deal. I walked down the back steps, and fell into the grass staring at the sky. It just seemed like something you would do on a summer’s day, you know?
After maybe half an hour of lounging on the lawn, dinner was ready. The menu was steak, cheesy mashed potatoes, grilled vegetables, and homemade brownies for desert. The food was twice as good as it looked, which is really saying something. Over dinner, we had good conversation. I talked about my day, they talked about theirs, but in the middle of dinner my parents brought something particularly interesting up.
“So Sam, your mother and I have come up with an idea that we think you’re really going to enjoy.” He paused for emphasis. “We’re going to have a big Fourth of July party this year!” I nearly jumped out of my seat in excitement. A Fourth of July party!? If there were two things I loved more than anything, they were fireworks and partying.
“I have work off Sunday. Do you think you could go down to the basement and see what decorations we have tomorrow?” Dad asked.
“Yeah! Sure Dad, I’ll do whatever you want.” I said gleefully.
The rest of the night, I hung out in my room, playing video games, texting friends, even a little reading. At about 11 o’clock, I lied down on my bed and stared at the ceiling. My mind fantasized about what the party would be like. How many friends could I invite, and if so, which ones? Would we have tons of fireworks? Or even better, illegal fireworks! I smiled and closed my eyes thinking of how great it would be, I was soon fast asleep.
The creeping rays of sunlight were what awoke me the next morning. I looked at my clock for the time, only time find it unplugged. I chuckled, and then headed downstairs for breakfast. My parents weren’t home of course, they had gone to work. There wasn’t much in the pantry, but I did find a box of Cheerios. While walking to the couch with my bowl of cereal, I saw a note on the kitchen table.
Dear Sam, Have some left over steak and mashed potatoes
for lunch. And don’t forget to bring up the decorations for the party.
That was right! I had forgotten about the boxes of decorations I needed to bring up. I felt awake enough to do the task now, so I gorged down my Cheerios and made for the basement.
Opening the door to the basement, a wave of heat and mustiness slammed into my face making my eyes water. It took me a moment to recover from the bombardment of smells, but soon enough I headed down.
Every floorboard on the stairs sounded with a different creak, and I could imagine myself making a musical with them. Pipes protruded out of the walls, and a lazy sunlight leaked through the ground level windows. Boxes upon boxes of items were stacked on top of each other, everyone having a title, or maybe even one title with previous ones scribbled out. I sighed in desperation, how was I going to find the decorations in all of this? I walked down the stairs, and began my search there. Lucky for me, the boxes of decorations were practically at the bottom, so I began hefting them one at a time up the stairs, some heavier some lighter. When I was walking down the stairs to retrieve the last box something wild caught my eye.
Half covered by the last box, was a small door. Curiosity instantly struck, and I ran to it. I pushed the last box out of the way, eager to take a look. The door was no taller than 2 feet high, 3 feet wide, made with dark wood, and it had a battered brass doorknob. I reached for the doorknob, mostly curious, but a little nervous to. The cold metal made my skin tingle, and I tried turning the doorknob. To my surprise, it was unlocked. I swung the door open with heightened excitement, only to find a brick wall behind it. I searched for any sort of crack or crevice, thinking there would be some kind of hidden latch that led to something more. There were no switches or levers, to my disappointment. I furrowed my brow in concentration. Why would there be a door here if there was just a stupid brick wall behind it? I checked the wall again to see if I had missed something before, but it just seemed to be a regular brick wall with no big imperfections. I shut the door, and walked up the stairs deep in thought about what this mystery meant.
When I got to the top, I checked the oven clock and saw it was 12:05. Lunch time! My stomach grumbled in agreement. I heated some steak and mashed potatoes in the microwave, not minding the vegetables. I plopped down on the couch and turned on SpongeBob, but even after 15 minutes of fruitful watching, the yellow sponge wasn’t able to grab my attention. I was still focused on that dang door. It just seemed odd you know? There’s a small door in the basement that I’ve never seen before, when I’ve been to the basement 100’s of times. I twisted my body around to look at the mahogany door that led to the basement, searching its smooth wood surface for some answer. Sitting on the ground next to it, were the boxes of decorations I had spent the rest of the morning carrying up. The chore had been a bit more of a pain than I previously though, but I guess it was worth it for the 4th of July party. My mind turned to the subject of the party again for a few seconds, when I remembered something. There was still one more box of decorations downstairs.
“Ugggh.” I complained, getting up and setting the food down. I guess it wasn’t a hundred percent miserable though, I could still take a peek at that door. Maybe I had missed something. I thought. I made my way to the stairs, and when I was about half way down the noisy steps, I looked at the little door.
My heart was pounding. I was sure I had seen the doorknob turn.
“Oh my god.” I managed; I struggled to take steps backward because my eyes were glued to the door, waiting in frightened anticipation. The doorknob turned a full rotation, and there was a click that seemed to echo off the walls.
The little wooden door slowly creaked open, and I was too freaked out to even speak. I started to see something moving, coming slowly around the other side of the door. It was green, I discovered, looking like skin. It emerged a little more, and I saw they were ears! Green ears shaped like a cat’s, but probably twice as big. The mystery ears slowly emerged more and more, and part of me was growing impatient to see what it was. Next, came a bald head, which to no surprise, was green. Just as I was getting used to this slow emergence, the green eared creature’s entire head popped out behind the door. It was only for a second, but that was all I needed. The green creature was something that resembled an elf, with big ears and overlarge eyes jammed into its leathery skin. The elf’s eyes grew bigger than before (which I didn’t think was possible) when it saw me, and it gave a little yip its head disappearing again behind the door.
You’ve heard of those moments where time seems to slow right, and you seem to have liked 50 thoughts at once? Well that’s what happened to me when the elf’s head disappeared behind the door. I basically had two options. Run for upstairs, close the basement door, and hide in my room totally freaked out. Or I could go to the little door, and find out what was behind it, quenching my curiosity. Deciding that, whatever lived behind the door was probably more scared of me than I of it, I went with the second option. I crept down to the bottom of the stairs still making a sound every step I took. Like a robber, I did a little prance you might see on T.V, but soon froze right next to the door when I heard something talk on the other side.
“There’s something on the other side of the portal!!” A high voice spoke.
“Wait, are you serious, that’s impossible!?” another spoke.
“Shut up you idiots! If there really is something there, it might hear you!” An older voice spoke. I gripped the door with my hand and got on my knees.
“Oh my gosh, what is that! It must be its tentacle or something!” the high voice whispered loudly. An uneasy feeling filled me, something really strange was going on, and I was getting freaked out. But the curiosity that had been with me this whole mystery swatted it away like a fly. I swung the door open, and crawled into something that definitely wasn’t a brick wall. It was an open space that smelled of wood and cherry blossoms. A few things happened in the next couple seconds. Fearful of what I would see, I had my eyes shut tight while I went through the door, but when I opened them I was astonished. Around me was something that looked like a Japanese garden, with a gurgling stream and a cherry blossom tree. Up in the reddish orange atmosphere, were two moons that were humongous compared to anything I had seen. Everything was so different I was dazed. My study of the surroundings lasted probably about a second. The next few seconds went like this. The older sounding elf yelled,
“ AHHHH!! Alien! Shoot it quick!” I stared at him with a bewildered look, he wasn’t calling me an alien, was he? Then I noticed the high voiced elf running franticly behind him, yelling,
“They’re here! The invasion has come! Brace yourself, save the children! Where’s my mom!?” Then there was a bright flash of light from my right, and my eyes were filled with stars. I covered them with my hands franticly. When I moved my hands away, and the stars receded, I wasn’t looking down at the elves, but instead was looking up! Freaked out, I looked at my feet. I was standing among blades of grass that were the size of small trees! I looked at my hands. They looked like hands on a toy action figure! Finally, I looked up staring into the eyes of the chuckling elves. The eldest one spoke,
“Great shot with the shrinkifier George, you hit him right on!”
“Thanks, ain’t no alien race taking over my planet today!” The voice whose name was George said. The smallest and highest pitched voice came up from behind the other two,
“Let’s bag it quick! Before it can contact reinforcements!” The eldest replied,
“Good thinking Joe!” and he pulled out what looked like a potato sack from his back pocket. Next thing I know I’m in the dark smelling French fries, screaming my little lungs off.
To be continued…