Even before Archie asked if they should split up he knew it was a dumb idea. Not because it would be easier for this Rosey woman to pick them off like chickens in a pen, but because it might mean that he would not be in Jack’s group. And Jack was clearly the strongest, even though he had hardly even stood up to Willy back in that alley. Luckily Solomé, wiping the last of her tears from her eyes, voiced a solid opposition to the idea that one could not find any holes in. She said, “Screw that. We’re sticking together.” The consensus was that if that strange noise came from the second floor the logical decision was to check out the basement and maybe find a door that led out back or something. After some shuffling, the chain of Halloween Kids toeing their way to what they hoped was the door to the bottom floor went like this: Jack, Solomé, Archie, Becka, and Peter. Basically the tallest boys taking up Point and Rear and the women spaced between. Solomé had thought to voice an opinion about sexism, and how women were just as capable of running platoons and so on, but chose not to because she was quite happy encouraging the subjugation of the fairer sex if it meant her not dying first. With the gang all holding hands, and flat against the same wall as the door for protection as if under fire, Jack reached his free hand to the glass doorknob with great trepidation like it might be teeming with electricity. One finger than the rest, turning and tensing up just before he let it fling open. But nothing happened. Just stairs and blackness. He smiled and looked back at Solemé as if to comfort her with a shrug that was meant to look like, 'How silly we were so scared.' And looking in her eyes he forgot himself and with an almost jovial gate full with bravado he stepped on the top step but did not make purchase because it was not there. Dragging the rest of the kids with him they fell to the cellar floor.