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stood at the top of the basement stairs. Crooked wooden steps stretched down into darkness; cobwebs hung low from the ceiling, ensnaring all passersby.

Childhood stories of monsters, half-truths floated in her head. If she stood on those steps, a claw would reach up from the darkness below, and then –

She laughed at herself, look at her, a grown woman, mother and divorce survivor, afraid of the basement.

Still perched at the top of the steps, Keira leaned down the stairwell, one hand fumbling along the wall, seeking a light switch. Nothing. A foul odour wafted up – dank mold, reek of mouse urine, and something else. Sour barnyard stench.

Probably a dead animal. She should call someone to clean out the basement. Someone with a flashlight.

A faint clicking noise echoed up the...

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