No bodies down there

I am afraid of the cellar. The steps, the cold, everything that lies beneath our warm uneven floors. 

There is a breathing dark space that looks into the foundation of the house, and I am afraid of that, too. “Don’t worry, no bodies down there!” the builder cheerfully said, as I handed a glass of water down into the hole.

I never thought to check for bodies. 

The family before us left behind an old bar stool, a toboggan, long planks of wood, buried past. I don’t look too closely at any of it in case of spiders (and now, bodies). 

We have stocked the cellar with spices because of Brexit and toilet paper because of Covid, preparations for when we will barricade in the small dark space against inevitable plague. I am not exactly afraid of zombies, I’m just afraid of my own inability to prepare for their arrival. 

If you have a cellar, you’re supposed to do something with it. Wine, storage. You can put your bikes there, but first we would have to buy some bikes. Unused space is worse than hoarding is worse than being a landlord is worse than death. 

If you are a builder and you make a joke about finding bodies, that must mean that once, feeling into the dark, looking for damp, you found one. 

Eventually we will move house, and we will fill the next cellar with insurance against all our future dreads, because I believe it is possible to predict something out of existence, and so 

I spend all my time looking for something I desperately, desperately don’t want to find. 

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