It wasn’t until Andrew hurled the broken flashlight down the basement hallway of the haunted mansion that he realized how angry he was at his sister, his long-absent father, his overworked mother, the short-term Stepdad, and the two bratty twin girls the man mostly left behind after the divorce.
And just like that, Andrew had a moment of calm, a moment just long enough to note the faint bioluminescent glow that crept up the stairway to the right, the one with a faint gassy smell of sewage and other mysterious chemicals; intense curiosity replaced the boy’s pent-up rage and despair. He slipped down the dimly-lit stairway, breathing through his mouth to minimize the stench, and noticed a walkway, just beyond a low, tumbled down wall.
Unable to resist his compulsion, Andrew scrambled over the barrier, staying as close to the tunnel wall as possible without touching its sticky, runny sides as it stretched around a corner and ended in a mudslide that obliterated the trail, a thin brass plaque vibrating precariously on the top of a pile of the slippery mud.
He bent over the plaque, squinting at the worn lines of runes until he came to a word, strangely clean and prominent in the dim light, a term that he’d read somewhere in one of his father’s Classic folklore books – an ancient spellbook of some sort – but one that he couldn’t define without the context of the rest of the words on the plaque.
And then he remembered the three matches Eloise had given him.
© Liz Husebye Hartmann (2022)
The challenge? Write a story in 6 sentences, no more & no less, and if you’d like, share your creation or just visit and comment on others’ ideas, with GirlieOnTheEdge, Denise. The prompt is “TERM”, and here’s where you join the party: Six Sentence Stories