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Woman looking at the bills | Source: Midjourney
Woman looking at the bills | Source: Midjourney

I Couldn’t Figure Out Why My Utility Bills Were Higher than Usual Until I Went Down to the Basement — Story of the Day

Yevhenii Boichenko
Jun 14, 2024
06:35 A.M.

A woman struggling with loneliness suddenly notices her bills have doubled and food is disappearing from her fridge. When she discovers the reason in her basement, she faces a choice: change her life for the better or leave it as it is

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My name is Rosa, and I have lived alone for most of my adult life.

My parents kicked me out of the house as soon as I turned eighteen, and since then, I got used to living alone. I loved solitude, but increasingly, I felt sad and uncomfortable. I wondered if it would always be like this.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

That day, I returned home from work feeling very angry. I worked as a manager at a local supermarket, and after a workday, few things could make me happy. My feet ached, and my head throbbed with the stress of dealing with customers and employees.

As usual, I picked up the mail on my way to the door and glanced through the letters. I was shocked to see that my bills for this month had doubled. It had to be a mistake; I couldn’t believe it.

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I immediately picked up the phone and dialed the number on the bill.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

“Good evening. I would like to check the details of my payment account...” I said, trying to keep my voice calm.

“Sure, please provide the account number,” the voice on the other end responded.

I dictated the number and, unable to hold back, started arguing over the phone. To be honest, I was tired and very irritated.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

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“My bill has doubled since last time! That can't be right. I'm hardly ever home!” I almost shouted, pacing around my small kitchen.

“Ma'am, I understand your frustration, but the numbers don't lie. I've checked the data, and there is no mistake. I'm very sorry,” the operator explained, sounding both bored and apologetic.

“Oh, you will be sorry! Have a good evening!” I hung up the phone with a frustrated slam. At that moment, I wanted to file a complaint everywhere I could, but when I opened the fridge, I noticed something strange.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

I distinctly remembered having three packs of yogurt, but there was only one left. As I thought about it, I checked the rest of the food, and it seemed like everything was slowly disappearing.

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This had started more than a week ago. Something was not right, and suddenly, I heard a strange noise coming from my basement.

My heart pounded in my chest. I saw the basement door slightly ajar and got scared.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

I picked up a frying pan from the stove, gripping it tightly with sweaty palms. Slowly, I descended the stairs, each step creaking under my weight.

I descended cautiously, scanning the basement with the frying pan in my hands in case I needed to defend myself.

The cold air sent a shiver down my spine, and the dim light made the shadows look more menacing. Suddenly, I heard a rustle behind me and turned sharply, my heart pounding.

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For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

“Who's there?” I called out, my voice echoing in the small space.

There was another rustle, closer this time. “Come out now, or I’ll call the police!” I threatened, gripping the frying pan even tighter.

“Please, don't...” a child's voice came from behind pile of clothes.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

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“Come out!” I shouted, trying to sound more confident than I felt. Slowly, two children peeked out from behind the boxes.

The older girl looked about twelve, with tangled hair and dirt-smudged cheeks. The boy, who seemed around eight, clung to her side, his eyes wide with fear.

I was shocked and immediately started asking questions. “Where did you come from? Where are your parents?”

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

The girl spoke first, her voice trembling. “My name is Mary, and this is my brother Bob.”

The children were silent after that, avoiding my gaze. I repeated my questions, but they remained tight-lipped. Frustration bubbled up inside me. “If you don't start talking, I'm going to call child services,” I warned.

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At this, Bob started crying, big tears rolling down his dirty cheeks. Mary wrapped her arms around him, her own eyes filling with tears.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

“Please, don't call them,” she begged. “We ran away from our foster home because they were mean to us.”

I was taken aback but decided to listen. “Alright, tell me everything right now, or I’ll call the authorities,” I said firmly, though my heart was softening.

Mary took a deep breath and calmed Bob down before explaining their situation. “About a week ago, we ran away from our foster family.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

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They treated us very poorly. We had to live with other children in a small room, and our foster parents hardly talked to us. They never let us go outside. We were always hungry.”

Hearing their story made me furious. How could anyone treat children like this? It was so horrible and unfair.

But a part of me was still cautious. What if they were making it up? After all, they had broken into my house and were using my things. But I couldn't just throw them out on the street.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

Looking at their hungry eyes, I felt a pang of empathy. “Alright,” I said softly. “Let’s go upstairs and get you something to eat. We’ll figure everything else out later.”

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I made the children peanut butter sandwiches and warmed up some milk, which was more than enough to make them happy. They devoured the sandwiches, and their smiles grew wider with each bite.

Watching their faces, I felt something warm inside me. I didn’t even notice when I started smiling at them. It was a new feeling I hadn't experienced in a long time. The simple joy of seeing someone else happy.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

But I quickly pulled myself together, as now was not the time or place for such feelings. I couldn’t just keep them.

I had to decide what to do with the children. My mind was racing with questions and concerns. Where would they go? Would they be safe?

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While they were eating, I made up my mind. I picked up the phone and called the police, explaining that I had found two children hiding in my basement. The operator assured me that someone would be sent over right away.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

Half an hour later, there was a knock on my door. I opened it to find a pair of police officers standing there, along with a woman who claimed to be the children's mother. Her presence sent a chill down my spine.

When Mary and Bob saw her, they were terrified. Bob started crying and hid behind Mary.

The woman introduced herself as Leslie and immediately demanded the children be handed over to her. “They’re my children, and they need to come home with me,” she said forcefully.

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For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

I looked at the officers for support. “Please, help me figure this out,” I implored. “The children told me a different story.”

The officers nodded, and one of them stepped forward. “Ma'am, we need to ask you a few questions,” he said to Leslie. “Please, calm down while we sort this out.”

Leslie began behaving aggressively, almost forcibly trying to drag the children out of my home. “They belong with me!” she shouted, her face twisted with anger.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Shutterstock

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Shutterstock

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I couldn’t allow that. I stood up for the children, feeling a surge of protectiveness. “They’re not going anywhere unless they want to!” I said firmly.

Something inside me awoke, and my body moved on its own. I knew I wouldn’t let these children suffer anymore.

The officers intervened, separating Leslie from the children and calming her down. They asked Mary and Bob to recount their story again.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

Holding Bob's hand tightly, Mary bravely repeated everything she had told me. The officers listened carefully, taking notes and asking questions.

An hour later, one of the officers received a call. After a brief conversation, he turned to us with a serious expression.

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“The children are telling the truth,” he said. “Leslie and her husband have created terrible conditions for these children and have been misusing the child welfare money.”

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

Leslie's face turned pale, and she was immediately arrested and taken away. I felt a mix of relief and sadness.

I was relieved that the children were safe but sad that they couldn’t stay with me. The officers explained that the children couldn't stay with me and had to be taken back to child services.

Mary and Bob clung to me, their eyes filled with fear and uncertainty. “It’s going to be okay,” I whispered, hugging them tightly. “You’re safe now.”

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For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

One of the officers gently took their hands. “We’ll make sure they’re taken care of,” he assured me.

As they left, I stood in the doorway, watching them go. My home felt emptier than ever. But I knew this wasn’t the end.

I had to do something more for those children. They had opened a door in my heart, and there was no closing it now.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

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After a month of paperwork and bureaucracy, I finally found a way to set things right. It wasn’t easy, but I was determined. The day I officially adopted Mary and Bob was one of the happiest days of my life.

I brought them home, where peanut butter sandwiches and warm milk awaited them. They ran into the kitchen, their faces lighting up with joy when they saw the food.

“This is for us?” Bob asked, his eyes wide with surprise.

“Yes, all for you,” I said, smiling. “Welcome home.”

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

Mary and Bob sat at the table, eagerly biting into their sandwiches. Watching them, I felt a sense of fulfillment I had never known before. My once-quiet house was now filled with the sounds of laughter and chatter.

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“I never knew my life would change so much until you two crawled out from the dirty clothes in my basement,” I said, reflecting on how much they had impacted my life.

Mary looked up at me, her eyes shining. “Thank you, Rosa. For everything.”

Tears filled my eyes as I hugged them both. “No, thank you,” I whispered. “For giving me a family.”

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Shutterstock

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Shutterstock

Tell us what you think about this story, and share it with your friends. It might inspire them and brighten their day.

If you enjoyed this story, read this one: Nelly is desperate to find love but fears she won't ever meet the right person. As she sees people around her finding love, she notices a man she would love to meet getting ditched by another girl. Nelly decides to leave him a note, pretending to be the other girl, to get a chance to talk to him. Read the full story here.

This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone’s life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to info@amomama.com.

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