WRITING PROMPT NO. 148
His hand, hooked, stiff and arthritic, gripped the wooden bannister.
Alfred hadn’t been down these stairs for a long time. He wasn’t sure what he might find. He stopped halfway breathing hard through his mouth. His shoulder caught the light-shade that was coming away from the wall revealing the brilliant bulb inside. His son had changed it a few weeks ago but he hadn’t ventured any further into the basement.
Alfred began again, gripping the hand-rail stepping down each stair until he was at the bottom. The door was locked that led into the basement. He fished around in the pocket of his cardigan feeling for the key. The cold metal touched his fingers. He grasped it with a shaking hand and used it to unlock the door. As he pushed it open a musty ancient smell of old things and a past life filtered into the hallway.
The freezer stood at the end of the room. It buzzed and hummed with the electricity that gave it a life of its own. He was surprised to see that it was still going after all these years. Alfred shuffled in his slippers to the end of the room. In his hand, on the same keyring, was the key to the deep freeze. He reached up to turn on the light pulling a cord that hung just above his head. In the dim light, his gnarled fingers felt for the lock. The key turned as smooth as if he’d been there just yesterday. He picked up the crowbar that he kept leant against the back wall and wiggled the flat end under the rubber seal. He pushed down on the other end using all the strength he had left in his aged muscles. The lid sucked open with a loud pop and he pushed it high until it locked. There was a metallic clang as he dropped the crowbar to the concrete floor. The icy steam cleared and there she lay. His wife, unchanged since the day he lay her there twenty years ago.
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