This prompt explores atmosphere. Horror stories do this very well (we all remember “a dark and stormy night,” right?); so the idea is to play with those images and see what we can come up with.

“The Silent Ones”

Susan looked up at the old Tudor, its windows black and looming over the entranceway. A short patio extended from the front door, its beveled glass pretty but empty like a staring eye. She glanced down at the EMF meter in her hand but it stayed silent.

She sighed and put her foot on the first step. The wood creaked loudly, startling her. She put her hand out to catch her balance and a large splinter slid into her palm like a knife into butter.

She worked at it with her teeth and tongue and finally sucked it out. It tasted bitter, like old paint or creosote. She spat it on the ground and watched blood well into her hand. She sucked a few more seconds, just to make sure it bled clean.

The moved toward the door and the floor beneath her feet bounced a little, like it was warped. She looked down and her stomach clenched. The planks were separated by an inch or so and blackness seemed to well up from between them like smoke. She shivered and blinked. The moment passed and the impression went away. She shook her head and went up to the door.

The key stuck in the lock, squeaking and she pushed it open. She looked at the EMF meter, but it was silent. She looked up and a shadow moved. She froze.

After a few more moments of staring, nothing seemed out of place. She felt sweat drip down her back between her shoulder blades, itching a little, and laughed at herself weekly. “Stop being such a ninny.”

A loud creak sounded from inside the entry hall and she gasped. She stared into the gloom, trying to let her eyes adjust to the dimness even though she wasn’t inside yet. “Hello? Is someone there?”

After several more minutes of waiting with nothing happening, she stepped all the way into the house. The back of her neck prickled and she brushed at it, but felt nothing. She turned to the door and swung it. It moved heavily and slammed shut, the hollow resultant boom echoing all the way up into the house. The minute it closed, darkness descended like a hand.

She fumbled her flashlight out of her pocket and flicked it on. The narrow beam swung around the entryway, a wide open space at the bottom of a stair that wound up and around the room for two storeys. She looked up to the cupola but couldn’t see anything except the faint black outline of a chandelier brooding just overhead. The shine of spider webs winked at her in the flashlight and she shivered.

She walked toward the kitchen at the back of the first floor, the map in her mind telling her the stairs to the basement were on the left, the formal dining room just beyond that and the sitting room on the right. As she came even with the basement stair she heard another creak, like a floorboard popping.

She turned and looked back, and caught out of the corner of her eye the golden chatoyance of an eye watching her from the dining room. She froze and the flashlight fell, shattering against the floor with a sharp pop. The EMF meter went off in a burst of lights and beeps and she started to run.

She never saw the stairs.

The basement door, far above her now, creaked as it closed. The lock clicked faintly and silence descended.

One thought on “Mai Madness – Horror Story

  1. Evey Brown says:

    OMG, poor girl. That was great atmosphere. What is the difference between that and tone? Or are they the same?
    I loved that she was using an EMF reader, I’m familiar with those from that series ‘Ghosthunters’.
    Your choice of words made all the difference, I think. Brooding, hollow boom, silence descended, warped.
    The image of the sliver hurting her was great foreshadowing as well.
    Good job. E

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