Monday, November 3, 2014
The Creepy Room
I don’t know how the topic came up, but the other day my sons and I were discussing sleepovers, which they don’t participate in now that they’re older. It could be awkward, they said, and strange, sleeping on someone’s floor, especially if you had to get up in the night and find the bathroom. “And,” my older son added, “every house has a creepy room.”
“Our doesn’t,” I said, with a mom’s naiveté.
“Yeah, it does. The basement-basement.”
Our basement is two levels. The upper is finished into office/guestroom and bathroom. The lower level, two steps down, is unfinished and is referred to by us as the basement-basement. It has functional space—bumper pool, air hockey, treadmill—but it also has a lot of stuff. Stuff my sister asked us to store when she moved years ago, stuff from clearing out my mother-in-law’s house, stuff of our own. Cluttered, yes, and a little junky. But creepy?
Last week when I was down there—inspired, I suppose, by Halloween’s imminent arrival—I tried to see what a kid might see. A few errant spider webs and bug carcasses, the window that never gets washed. Needs a bit of cleaning, surely, but creepy? I still wasn’t getting it. Until I thought about the curtain.
Because of the placement of the stairs, it’s impossible to put a door between the two basement rooms, so we have a curtain. And a curtain is so much creepier than a door. I imagined a boy in his sleeping bag on the floor in the guest room, trying to catch some zzz’s with one eye on the doorway, hoping not to see the curtain shiver a little in the night, hoping not to see long fingers silently pulling the fabric aside… It made me want to issue a mass apology to all the boys who ever slept in our basement.
(This, however, is nothing compared to my husband’s cousin’s home, where we spent a night last summer. A hundred-year-old house with a full attic and a doll collection… It’s a wonder any of us slept.)
The next time you’re bored, take a tour of your abode and decide which of your rooms is best suited as the creepy one. (You can’t add anything to it, though if you really want to borrow a few of my cobwebs, I’d let you.) And then make up a story that explains why.
But maybe don’t choose your bedroom. I’m just sayin.’
Do you remember any creepy rooms from when you were a kid? Have you ever used them in your writing?