What Lies Under My House

2021 Annual Literary Contest

1st Place
Young Writers
Senior (12+)

Ambreena De Menech

I turn 11 next Tuesday, so I’m inviting a few friends over for a party.

*Next Tuesday*

We’re a little less than halfway through the party. So far, we’ve eaten cake and opened presents. I’m having a great time, until my friend, Annabelle says, “Let’s go to the basement!”

It’s like a wave of shock runs through my body. I’ve been told so many times that we can’t go down there.

I rack my brain for an excuse not to go. “Uh we can’t um b-because uh it’s really d-dirty” I stammered out.

My younger sister, Kaylee backs me up, “We haven’t cleaned it in ages, there’s probably tons of spiders living there.”

Annabelle shudders at the thought of spiders crawling up her leg. Ignoring this, she says, “I’m sure it couldn’t be too bad.”

She dashes towards the basement door. With every step she takes closer, my heart beats faster. Even I don’t fully know what lies under my house – only that nobody can know about it. I’m not going to lie, I have definitely been curious about it at times. Knowing I won’t be able to stop her from going, I race to the base of the stairs so that I can lead and make sure nobody sees something they’re not supposed to.

After a few minutes of exploring, we notice a small opening of light near us. “I think we should go that way, there’s some light. Follow me!” I say, hoping it leads us to somewhere not so creepy.

There are planks of wood nailed to a door frame. There is light shining from in between the planks. “Oh no! It’s blocked off.” I say disappointedly. “There’s a little gap between the planks. I’ll just quickly peer through it,” objects Faye.

I pretend to bump into her accidentally, but it’s actually so that I can glance through first. This way I can make sure if there’s something bad there, I’m the only one who sees it. There seems to be a grass valley. It’s beautiful!

Taking a few steps back, I use the heel of my boot to kick through the planks. The wooden planks are old and break easily.

At first, I don’t see anything, just blindingly bright sunlight. After a few moments, my eyes adjust, and I see a luscious green, grassy hill.

This doesn’t make sense to me. It’s summer, but we never keep our land this nice. I can’t help feeling like something isn’t right. I continue quickly over the hill, trying to see what else is here.

I’m so taken aback by what I see that I nearly fall backwards. There’s a giant dragon peacefully having a nap. I quietly tiptoe backwards, making sure not to make a sound and accidentally awaken the dragon.

Upon finding Annabelle, Faye and Kaylee, I tell them what I saw. “There’s a dragon sleeping on the other side of this hill. I know, it’s hard to believe! You’ve gotta trust me.”

“There’s a WHAT? DRAGON?” Annabelle scream-whispers. I nod in response. What am I supposed to tell my parents? “Hey guys, so guess what? I brought my friends over for my birthday, and we found a dragon in the basement. Anyways, what’s for dinner?”

I know we’re not supposed to, but I really want to see what’s past the dragon. “Guys, stay here. I’m going down the hill by myself,” I command.

“Wait. I’m coming with you,” Faye says.

“Okay, but you two stay here, together.” I point to the others.

We walk down the hill slowly, taking in the breathtaking view. It’s full of spectacular flowers of all sorts that I’ve never seen before! We continue walking and come to a wall with a door. The hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and a shiver runs down my spine. I look at Faye and she nods. Together, we’ll walk through the door. I place my hand on the old doorknob, turning it to open. The hinges make a loud creeeeeaaaak. I can feel my hands shaking with both anticipation and fear.

I take a deep breath and walk through the door. We’re back to the normal world… I think? I hear cars honking, people talking, all the city sounds. I look behind us and notice there’s no door anymore. We continue to walk around in confusion.

I look at Faye. She has panic in her eyes. I take her hand in mine and tell her that everything will be okay. To be honest, I’m trying to convince myself of this too.

“If we walk back towards the door we came through to get here, we should find it, right? So let’s retrace our steps.”

Suddenly, we come to a wall. I don’t see a door on it, but I run my hand along the wall until I feel a spherical metal object. I think it’s an invisible doorknob! I turn it and thankfully, it opens a door.

I grip Faye’s hand harder and pull us through the door. When we exit, I trip over a rock and accidentally pull us both down together. She lands beside me on the ground, and we laugh in relief. We’re back in my basement!

Kaylee and Annabelle appear behind us. I don’t even hear them walk up. “What’s so funny over here?” Kaylee asks.

Faye and I tell Kaylee and Annabelle what we saw, while we walk back to the normal part of the house.

As soon as we open the basement door, we hear my mom’s voice. “Where were you?” she shouts. Kaylee and I tell her that we were in the basement, leaving out the part about what we discovered there. She immediately calls my dad, to tell him that she found us. Apparently, he was driving around the whole city searching for us.

I am curious – do my parents know that under our house lies an alternate world, complete with a dragon?