Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Don't go in the basement

It was 6:40 in the morning. I was drinking coffee in the kitchen, trying to drag myself to full consciousness on the first work day of the new year. I pulled the belt of my terry robe tighter around my waist as I peered out the window at the tail-lights of the early commuters heading into Ottawa.  The house was quiet, only the subdued whoosh of the furnace kept me company as I sipped.

All at once there was a commotion in the basement, and both cats came tearing up the stairs as if all the devils in hell were on their tails. They rushed past me and disappeared down the hall.  I could now hear the noise that scared them.  An eerie, robotic noise -- a staccato barking -- was drifting up the stairs from the basement.

The basement.

I have a very nice basement, actually, since the reno after the flood.  But, if horror movies have taught me anything, they've taught me DON'T GO IN THE BASEMENT TO CHECK OUT THE MYSTERIOUS NOISE.  Granted, it wasn't midnight during power outage in a thunderstorm, and the house isn't built near an Indian burial ground/abandoned murder-plagued summer camp/sinister mental hospital -- but nonetheless, 'Don't go in the basement' is probably Horror Movie Rule #1 (or #2 right after 'Don't have sex in an abandoned, murder-plagued summer camp').

But someone had to check it out.  It could be a crazed axe murderer the furnace malfunctioning and spewing deadly carbon monoxide into the air.  I decided to send the cats down to check.  They declined by the simple expedient of disappearing under my bed.  It was going to have to be me.

Grabbing the nearest approximation to a weapon at hand, a hefty three-hole punch, and scattering little punched-out paper circles in my wake, I descended the stairs.  The otherworldly barking continued, emanating from the shadowy recesses of the basement.  I inched past the door to the furnace room, three-hole punch at the ready. The sound wasn't coming from the furnace room.

It was coming from the television.  The old television that we have down there that the Wii is connected to.  It was the old television that was emitting the strange noises, EVEN THOUGH THE POWER BAR THAT IT WAS PLUGGED INTO WAS TURNED OFF.  A chill went up my spine and goosebumps erupted along my arms.  The eerie, eerie barking noise was issuing from an electronic device with NO POWER.  Aliens?  Could aliens be transmitting some signal through an unpowered television set?  Poltergeists?  Demons?  Souls from beyond the veil?

I crept closer.  The noise got louder.  "Bark bark" pause "Bark bark".  I reached out a trembling hand and turned on the overhead light.  It slowly flickered to life.  An iPod touch, its screen black and almost invisible, lay on the tv.  I picked it up, and the screen opened, showing a cartoon barking dog, and the message, "Alice, you should be up for school by now".

Not aliens.  Not escaped homicidal maniacs.  Not demons.

Just a weekday morning alarm on an iPod Touch left behind after Alice, my daughter's New Year's Eve sleepover guest, left on New Year's Day.


I grabbed the device and hurried up the stairs as fast as I could, because everybody knows that Horror Movie Rule #3 is: 'When everything appears to be OK, and the scary noise turns out to be just a cat or an iPod, and the heroine is smiling in relief, that's when the monster/homicidal maniac/vampire springs out of the furnace room and attacks'.

I'm not stupid, you know.


  1. Anonymous11:30 AM

    All I can say is you did well to get out after finding the iPod.

    Happy New Year.

  2. Jazz - I *knew* I was doing the right thing. Happy New Year to you too!

  3. Anonymous11:42 AM

    They should have Three Hole Punch Control law in this country.

    Happy New Year


  4. Happy New Year! Yes, you did right to bolt back upstairs

  5. BFF - Yeah, but then there'd be a three-hole punch registry and the Harper government would be trying to dismantle it and Quebec would be launching lawsuits so that the data wouldn't be destroyed. I don't think we need to go there. :)

    Happy New Year to you, too!

  6. Jen - I have a very finely tuned sense of self-preservation. :)

  7. I need to learn to put down my drink before reading your posts or else I end up laughing and spitting coffee all over the laptop.

  8. You should write suspense novels (if you don't already). You have a gift for weaving a scary tale. Love it and I am so glad that it wasn't a homicidal, manical pack of dogs.

  9. Jen B. - Sorry. Please apologise to your laptop for me. Happy New Year!

    Andrea - Thanks for the compliment! I haven't written any suspense novels (yet). Thank you for stopping by!

  10. And this is why we don't have basements over here. So all the scary homicidal maniacs will hang out in North America and leave us to our drizzle.

  11. Hmmm but maybe the ghost/demon/poltergeist is in the iPod.... it might just be like vampires, unable to get into the house unless brought in or invited. Soooo....
    Have a Happy New Year. ;o)

  12. AGH!!! Have you seen The Ring? The minute I thought it was the unplugged TV I would have high-tailed it upstairs, dragged the girls out of bed and told them we were moving -- right now.

  13. Now i see where rae rae gets it from lol

  14. Lynda - But Rebus gets his share of homocidal maniacs -- basements or no basements.

    Big Brother - Happy New Year! The iPod, haunted or not, will be back with its owner soon. I'm hoping that will solve any paranormal probs.

    Biblio - No, I haven't seen 'The Ring' and good thing too, by the sounds of it. I don't want to move.

    Kim - Thanks. I think. LOL.

  15. Nice to know my older daughter still hasn't grown up even though a landmark birthday looms on the horizon :o)

  16. Jilly - I don't know that it looms on the horizon -- it's still a couple of years off. It's a speck on the horizon at best.

  17. I can't believe you brought the ipod upstairs.....thats how it starts

  18. Jeff - I don't know *what* you're talking about. Other than the cats levitating occasionally when the iPod glows with a greenish light, everything is normal. :)

  19. (I realise I'm a little behind the times, but this is my first time on your blog, and I had to comment.) This was hilarious. I've had similar experiences with my long, dark hallway. And I've got to say, my sister brained a kid in her class with a three hole punch when she was little and he will tell you - they make a fine weapon.

  20. Haaaa!! I am so impressed you went down there. I do the same thing, running away after I've solved the noise, just in case the noise was the lure / diversion.

  21. Enjoyed this one so much last night had to come back and read it again :). Kudos on a great reading!

    1. Thank you so much! I enjoyed your post too. BOLO was so much fun. I hope I get to read again next year.