A Wolf in the Basement

by Neil Stewart


  It was a late fall day when two very young boys,Harvey Wilson and Robert Smith, were walking down the street. Harvey looked at the apple trees in Mister Brown's side yard. "I wish I had an apple to eat right now."

  Robert kicked a stone. "You won't find an apple on a tree now. They have all been picked."

  They were just passing Mister Brown's house when Harvey said, "I bet you that Mister Brown has some apples stored in his basement. He is a very nice person and wouldn't mind us taking two."

  Robert looked surprised. "Even if he didn't mind, it would be stealing to take them."

  Harvey slowed down and rubbed his chin. "Well we could check first, and then if there are some, we can knock on the front door and ask if we could have two."

  So the two boys went down the outside stairs to the basement and looked around. They did not know where the light switch was and their eyes were not adjusted to the dark basement.

  A scary sound was heard from behind the furnace. "Grr, Grr" like the sound of a threatening animal. Yes, it sure sounded like a wolf! Not that the two boys had ever heard a wolf before.

  "There is a wolf behind the furnace!" yelled Harvey.

  Robert panicked and ran to the door that they had come through. The door was closed and Robert could not get it open because he could not see the latch in the dim light. Harvey was scared too but was surprised when Robert started to pound on the door, then cry and shout to be let out. Harvey did not like wolves, but at the same time he did not want Mister Brown to know that they were down in the basement!

  Finally the door opened and Mister Brown's son, Paul, was standing there smiling. "What are you and Harvey doing down here?"

  Harvey was embarrassed and was at a loss for words, but Robert spoke up and said, "We were wondering if you had any apples and could we each have one?"

  Paul was older than Harvey and Robert but they all got along together. Paul replied, "I'm sorry I can't help you out but we don't have any apples." After chatting a little longer the two boys left and Paul waved them off.

  Later that night, Harvey was in bed trying to make sense of what had happend that day. He knew that they had got off easy and he would not try anything like that again. Also, that could not have been a wolf in the basement. What was it? Was the noise coming from behind the furnace? No. It sounded like it was coming from inside it. That's it! Mister Brown has hot air heat! Mister Brown must have seen them from the dining room window which looks out over the outside basement stairs. Harvey figured that Mister Brown must have waited awhile then bent down and growled into the hot air vent that was on the floor in the dining room. The sound travelled through the hot air duct and down into the furnace. Mister Brown was known to do pranks so he could even had Paul go down and hold the door shut for a few seconds. Satisfied, Harvey fell off to sleep.

  About a week later, Harvey was visiting his cousin Jeff. They were sitting in the living room talking when Harvey noticed a hot air vent on the floor near Jeff. He remembered what Mister Brown had done. Harvey began to think. If one could talk into a vent and the voice carried down to the furnace, couldn't voice sound continue by going up another hot air duct and come out another vent?

  "Hey, Jeff, don't you have a hot air vent in your bedroom?" asked Harvey.

 "Yes I do. What about it?" replied Jeff.

  Harvey went over to the living room vent. "Go upstairs and put your ear to the vent and listen. I am going to talk into this vent and you should hear my voice in the one upstairs and you should be able to talk back to me."

  Jeff went upstairs and listened at the vent and heard Harvey's echoing voice saying over and over, "Hello, hello, are you there?"

  "Yes, I hear you Harvey. Your voice is clear but it has a hollow echo sound to it.

  Just then Jeff's mother called from her bedroom, "I am busy folding clothes and I forgot to turn on the tea kettle. Jeff, will you please go down stairs and turn it on for me?"

  Jeff raised his head from the vent and yelled, "Okay mom". He then talked to Harvey through the vent. "Hey Harvey, would you please go to the kitchen and turn on tne tea kettle?"

  "Okay," came the reply.

  When Harvey came back the boys chatted on. Jeff's mother's voice sounded more demanding, "Jeff! I told you five minutes ago to turn on the kettle!"

  "But the kettle is on! I had Harvey do it."

  "Oh, I didn't know that Harvey was with you."

  "Harvey is not here. He has been down stairs."

  "I didn't hear you yell down stairs!"

  "I didn't."


  Jeff's mother mumbled to herself, "I am not going to ask. No, I don't want to know. I don't want to know."

© Neil Stewart 2001

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Posted March 27 2001          
Last Modified January 18 2006