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Salamander in the Basement, part 2

Lollipops, Garlic, and Basement SalamandersOnce or twice we would get hints of the basement's malevolence.  A cat would disappear for hours, only to be discovered at meal time meowing at the inside of the locked door.  And I would dream about the basement sometimes, about the walk down the hill outside the house to the raised doorway, so hard to lift a lawn mower through.  In my dream I'd go down the hill and step off the stone as I've done a thousand times...and not hit bottom.  Falling, I'd wake.  But everyone dreams of falling sometimes.

"I can't come down for Easter," I told my mother, standing at an open window and eying a phoebe newly flown north from Florida.  It bobbed its tail on the branch just outside my window and I strengthened my resolve.  "The wildflowers will be at their peak, the frogs are already calling.  Bird migration..." my voice trailed off.  I thought of the basement—Mom's mysterious domain—and I breathed out gently through my nose.  "Can I come earlier?  Next week before spring gets too far along?"

Five days later I was home.  "I can only stay until Monday," I told her.  Only four days.  I wouldn't be able to clean the entire basement in that time, but at least I could make a start at it, shift a few boxes to make room for more, throw out this and that.

I descended that first afternoon, but the piles were daunting and precarious to my tired hands' touch.  After a bag of winter clothes fell on me from behind, I gave it up and spent the evening frogging instead.  We drove to a nearby pond and shone my flashlight on wood frogs, their neck pouches ballooning as they floated and called from the pond's center.  The basement was forgotten.

I hope you enjoyed this second segment of Salamander in the Basement.  Stay tuned for the next installment tomorrow, or splurge 99 cents on the whole story here.

This post is part of our Aimee Easterling Short Stories lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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