They were all there. Stuck in the basement. Like it was a bomb shelter — not ideal, but necessary. For the time being.
And I was one of them, but one day I wondered why I accepted it so easily, that I had to stay there. There were people upstairs. Outside, even.
So I went upstairs. Just like that. And went back downstairs to see my friends, but grew increasingly frustrated.
Time passed, and more people went upstairs, but first they had to bleed somehow. I’d never bled; I just knew I could go upstairs. There were no guard dogs, no one waiting at the gate to shoot.
But it also wasn’t easy living, upstairs. There was a war going on, of sorts. I didn’t understand it, or even who was fighting whom. No one was bothering me. Something let me float above, unscathed. I just knew it was important to be careful.
And I knew that there was safety in numbers. The people in the basement no longer belonged there. They were starting to become gray and moldy, and their denial that anything was wrong maddened me to the point that I lost my temper.
“Why are you still sitting here, under the stairs! Why don’t you just go up there?”
“We don’t know how.”
“We’re safe here.”
“You’re not safe. You’re letting yourself decay and soon it will be too late to do anything. If you go upstairs now, we all stand a chance. Why don’t you just do it?”
“We can’t get in. The only people that can get upstairs are the people who’ve shed blood.”
“THEN PRICK YOURSELF WITH A PIN! IT’S NOT A BIG DEAL! IT IS JUST BLOOD.”
I stabbed a pin in my finger, just to prove a point, and enjoyed watching how such a tiny cut could bleed so much. It was just blood. It didn’t hurt at all. And anything was a welcome change from the gray, gray, gray, everywhere in the basement.
The next time I went upstairs though, things were different. I no longer floated above; they saw me.
And they were not pleased.
One of them chased me upstairs. I got away, but now I was really angry. Were the Basement People ever going to stop confusing their complacency with comfort? Because I could fight it out as long as possible, but really could use some help.
And no way was I going back to the basement now.