This happened about three minutes ago. I was on the couch when I heard the garage door opening beneath me.
One Kiddo is out at her friend’s house; she’s not due back yet, so I figured it can’t be her. I also thought I heard a car motor, so my Patient Husband perhaps? But again, it’s the middle of the day. Bomb threat at his building? Was he ill?
But when no one came up the stairs, I went down to see who had come in. Instead I found the garage empty, the garage door down but the light on. That light meant the door had just been active; it had gone down instead of up.
My minivan sat in its spot, and one of the doors was open.
A really noisy fly circled me endlessly.
I thought, “This would be the great opening for a horror novel!” The stillness. The mysterious door-opening. The buzzing fly in orbit around my head. The sliding door of the minivan, inexplicably open. And above all, that eerie stilless of a garage with nobody in it. Well, nobody except me.
It’s a good thing I don’t spook easily. I shut the minivan door (Kiddo3 had gone down earlier to find something in the car, and it’s a revelation to him that doors shut) and then returned upstairs to find my knitting bag where Kiddo4 and Kiddo3 were playing. I checked in the bag, and sure enough, there’s the remote, right next to a ball of yarn. So it’s easy to reconstruct: one of the kids leaned on the bag, put down the door Kiddo2 left up when she went to her friend’s house, and so on.
But really, it’s not about facts; it’s about mood. It’s about the assumptions you carry with you when you head into the basement and find nothing as you expected, or rather, no people where you expected people to be.
Keep that in mind when you start your horror novel. And let me know if you call it The Half-Open Door.