There is a Door in my Mom’s Basement that Shouldn’t Be there.

Originally published on r/nosleep

Tags: #horror #shortstory #nosleep

I’m glad that I found this place. What happened to me has been sitting with me for quite a few weeks now and I don’t know if any of you will believe me but here we go.

So, three weeks had passed since my mother passed away. As much as I wanted to ignore everything and just wallow in my grief, I knew I had to go clean out her house. My wife had been gently coaxing me in that direction a week after the funeral. I found myself in the basement of her old house much sooner than I wanted, sifting through memories and mementos my mother never got around to getting rid of. The air was thick with dust and nostalgia. As I moved a stack of old, yellowed newspapers, my eyes caught on something peculiar—a door, tucked away in a corner. Oddly, I didn't remember ever seeing it before.

Now, this was not my childhood home but a place she had moved into after my dad had died. I had been down in this basement quite a few times and never remembered a door here.

Hesitantly, I approached the door. It was plain, unassuming, yet felt strange to look at. I don’t know how to put it in words but the longer I looked at the door the more my eyes wanted to look away, like this plain wooden door hurt to be looked at. Curiosity got the better of me and I reached forward and grabbed the cool handle. An unexplainable dread flooded over me causing me to release it as if it had burnt me.

‘What the hell was that?’ I had thought to myself staring at the worn knob.

Stepping away from the door for a few moments, I haphazardly went through the basement finally locating my father’s old military flashlight, you know the ones that are drab green and at an angle? I had recently switched the batteries out, so I knew it was good to go and returned to the door. Taking a breath, I put my hand on the knob, turned and pulled it gently open.

Though it did not creak loudly, there was a puff of stale air that escaped carrying along the scent of plant decay and dirt. As my beam shined down, I was surprised to see solid stone steps that descended, hit a landing, and then turned around the corner to what I expected to be another flight. How the hell was there a flight of stairs like this in my mother’s house?

Taking a deep breath, I stepped onto the staircase. Each step echoed in the hollow space though it almost felt like that sound could not get past the open door above. I continued to the landing, peered around and found another set of identical stairs that continued.

After descending those two flights, a feeling of unease began to gnaw at me. Though the walls had been plain at the start, they were now adorned with faded frescoes and intricate carvings that felt familiar yet foreign. The air had grown heavier as if it had not moved in years. I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on some sort of forgotten realm, a place not meant for the likes of me.

I paused, catching my breath, at the sight of the first stone door. Its surface was covered in strange glyphs which I recognized as a Greek symbols. The door was ajar and based on the collection of undisturbed dust, it had been so for quite a while. Beyond it, the next set of stairs looked older, less cared for. Layers of dirt coated each step, undisturbed until now.

My heart pounded in my chest. This didn't make sense. How could this exist beneath my mother's house? A house I thought I knew every inch of. I should have turned back at that point, but I knew I had to keep going.

As I made the first flight and landing of this new doorway, the entire design of the stairwell had changed. The floor had become a white and black marble with Grecian style pillars carved out of the walls on both sides. What I was not ready for was what lay beyond the corridor.

‘This is impossible.’

That’s what I kept telling myself.

‘This is absolutely impossible!’

I stepped into the subterranean marvel, immediately noticing the cooler air and the hushed serenity that enveloped me. Before me lay an architectural wonder, an underground bridge reminiscent of ancient Greek elegance. Both the bridge and its landings were crafted from the finest marble, its surface smooth and lustrous under the soft, ambient lighting.

The marble was a tapestry of colors, primarily pristine white, veined with subtle streaks of gray and hints of blue, resembling the tranquil skies of the Mediterranean. The craftsmanship was exquisite, with each slab meticulously joined, creating an almost seamless flow of stone.

The bridge arched gracefully over a still, reflective waterway. The surface of the water mirrored the majestic structure above, adding a unnatural quality with its gentle ripples sending soft echoes through this subterranean world.

Flanking the bridge were rows of columns, robust and simple. These columns supported an intricately carved frieze above, depicting scenes of ancient Greek mythology. I could recognize some of the stories, but a lot were unfamiliar.

The landing areas at both ends of the bridge were spacious and clean. They were adorned with empty pots that appeared to have once held trees or plants but had long since died. There was a subtle fragrance on the air that I could not quite figure out where it was coming from.

Overhead, the ceiling was high and vaulted. It was adorned with artful mosaics, each tile meticulously placed depicting the night sky though I could not locate any familiar constellation and that was hard to believe since I grew up studying the stars with my dad.

I stood there, staring in disbelief of what my eyes were showing me. I even reached out and touched the side of the bridge a few times just to prove to myself that it was there. In hindsight, I should have turned and left immediately. This was impossible and real at the same time which did not spell a good outcome for me but that did not happen.

As I think back on it, it felt as if I was in a dream and like anyone in a dream, logical decisions are not easy to come by. Before I even had a chance to think on it, I began to walk across, my footsteps echoing softly.

It was about halfway across the bridge that I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. I immediately spun to look to my right broken out of my dream like revelry but found nothing. In that very moment, I could have sworn I saw something moving up around the tops of the outcropping of the vaulted ceiling.

I shinned my flashlight up there and found nothing out of the ordinary…well, out of the ordinary for a place that should not exist in the first place. With bit more of a hurried step, I made it to the other side of the bridge instead of retreating the way I came. Like an idiot, I needed to know where this was going.

On the opposite side of the bridge, there was another identical corridor that led to yet another flight of steps. Impatiently, I hurried down them and came to a halt in front of another door. This one was pure granite stone, almost two feet thick. I knew this because it looked like someone had spent a lot of energy pushing on it and got it to move enough to allow a human to squeeze through. This door had symbols on it to and like the earlier one, I recognized them as ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. I had no idea what they said but my love of ancient history made me confident in my find.

At this moment, I knew I had come too far. Have you ever had that moment when you realized you were in way too deep and that you needed to get out. I felt that to my very core. The air had shifted around me and I knew it deep down but as a fool I decided that I needed to keep going, just a bit further.

Shimming through the opening, I was plunged into blackness except for the light coming from the cracked stone door.

The darkness beyond was almost palpable. I aimed my flashlight directly ahead of me and saw that there were more stairs. These stairs here were ancient, unevenly worn, as if carved thousands of years ago. The air was suffocating, thick with dust and the weight of time. I could barely breathe.

As I descended, a faint, indistinct sound reached my ears. It was barely audible over the sound of my own footsteps, but it was there—a whisper, a murmur, something alive in this tomb of history. My heart raced, and a cold sweat broke out on my brow. I wasn't alone and I was the idiot that got killed in horror movies.

I pressed on, driven by a mix of fear and fascination. The stairs became treacherous, uneven and dangerously steep. With every step, I feared I would slip and tumble into the inky blackness that light struggled to cut through.

Finally, I reached yet another door. This one was closed, sealed shut as if it hadn't been opened in millennia. It was weathered and appeared to have been hewn from the stone by hand. There were only a few scratched symbols in the door that I recognized. Babylonian. It was almost as if I had gone through time and arrived at a door to one of the planet’s oldest civilizations. The handle was a simply rope that had been looped through and looked as ancient as the door but somehow yet intact. I put my hand on the door knowing that this next decision would be the dumbest I could make but I had to see what was on the other side.

Fortunately, I never got an opportunity. I heard it first behind me, a hiss that was quite loud. I spun around in terror to see what had followed me in to the earth. At first, might light could not find it but that was because my brain could not process what I was seeing.

It was a giant snake, that was almost as tall as me as it sat back on its coils. Its scales shimmered like emeralds in the dim light, and its many heads, crowned with horns, swayed gently as if in a trance. The head of this creature was wide and the eyes golden and unnatural. Have you ever looked at an animal and realized that it was thinking and smarter than you? That was the feeling I got as it focused on me. The forked tongue came out as it tasted the air.

‘Shit!’ I had thought to myself as I wondered if I could move to the wall in hopes it had somehow not noticed me. That was stupid to think since it was looking straight at me.

From deep within its throat, it began to emit strange sounds, combinations I had never heard of but was pretty sure it was speaking. When it spoke again, the tone made it clear it was upset I had not responded.

After the third attempt, I could tell it was done. The movement was quick but I either was damn lucky or it was off balance (or a mixture of both). The strange snake monster lunged at me and I instinctively dived to the side. The massive body went over head and landed with a thud against the ancient, unopened door.

I did not wait to find out what its next plan was. I sprinted with all my might, fueled with adrenalin and dashed back the way I came. The sound of scales against dirt told me that it was right behind me. As I ran up the uneven stairs praying I did not slip, I felt it’s breath on my neck a few times. I threw myself through the cracked door scraping my head against the stone causing blood to pour into my eye. I heard the thump of the creature hitting the door and causing the crack to become smaller.

Part of me knew it could not get through that crack anymore but the rest of me did not care. I ran and ran up flights of stairs until at last, I burst back into the extremely small basement and kicked the door closed with my feet. The door slammed shut and I screamed for my wife.

That is pretty much where my story ends. My wife came running down the steps and saw the horrible state I was in. I’m pretty sure I babbled quite a bit because she could not make out anything I said. A few hours later when I was calmed down, I mentioned the door and she looked at me confused.

What was strange is that I took her down to the basement and pointed to it and her face would go blank. It was like she could see it but just not comprehend it. That look people get who are half awake and talking to you in your sleep? In the end, I gave up trying to explain it and we left.

Why am I telling you this? That’s because I want someone to know. I went back and the door is still there and it still opens. I plan to go in again and see if I can discover more about it. Why am I the only one that can comprehend it. Why does it exist?

I know that snake thing is still in there but I’m pretty confident it is trapped which allows me a chance to explore the rest. Is it stupid? Probably but I need to know. I need to know why there is a door in my mom’s basement that leads to a place that should not exist.

I’m just waiting for my gun permit to clear and finishing my research on Greek, Egyptian, and Babylonian myths to help me understand. Once I’ve gotten that, I’m going back in.

I’m going to find the answers and nothing is stopping me.

— © Jonathan J. Snyder, All rights Reserved Like what you read and want to buy me a cup of coffee?