This was based on a story prompt by my good friend, Sharmistha, on her post, Who Was That? Check out her blog and write your own version if you wish.
I walked out onto the crushed gravel of the driveway, the only light coming from a window high up on the third floor. It was my bedroom, and the only inhabited room in the whole dreary pile. The rest of the manor, with its long corridors and sepulchral parlors was in the hands of another, at least during the night. It was a place where fear was as plentiful as the dark through which it flowed.
The mist was rising up off the lake, slowly taking the grounds for its own. I could feel its chilling caress as it flowed past me. My heart was pounding and my knees were shaking, but I swung the flashlight beam around, looking for the reason I had come. But the fog diffused the light and I could see nothing but the white mist.
Never look out your window after dark. That was my rule, which I obeyed faithfully for all those months I had lived alone in that gloomy mansion. But that night, as I drew the curtains fully closed, I happened to glance out and saw the flicker of a light below in the courtyard: not the bright beam of a flashlight from a lost hiker or a deliveryman, but the dim flicker of a lantern that had no place in the present age.
Never let the fear master you. That was my other rule, and so I ventured out to investigate, against the cries of common sense. I felt my neck prickle with premonition and I looked quickly back at the house. My eyes were drawn irresistibly to the roof and I saw it, the dark, cloaked figure looking down at me, so black that I saw its silhouette clearly, even against the night sky.
It could only be he, the long-dead master of the estate that I had usurped. For a moment, my will failed me and I ran inside, barring the door with futile bolts of steel.
Later, in my room I sat in dread anticipation by the glowing embers on the hearth. I had broken his truce and I did not know what would come. The darkness closed around me, pressing on me, until I did not dare move to build up the fire or find refuge in bed.
I heard the door creak softly and then a soft, almost inaudible whine as it opened, slowly but inexorably.
I tried to control my rapid breathing. Never let fear master you, my mind screamed, but the words were lost in the whirling shriek of the blood rushing in my ears. The floorboards creaked, one by one, coming ever closer. I heard that quiet tread, back and forth, just out of sight. I needed to build up the fire, but I could not move. Just as the panic overcame my senses and darkness began to cloud my eyes, I groped for a piece of wood and pushed it forward onto the embers.
The fire flared up and I heard a hiss from the darkness next to my chair. Then my mind slipped into darkness.
I awoke, still in the armchair, with a sliver of daylight slipping between the heavy curtains. When I pulled them open, I found blackened footprints leading to and from the door. Whatever had made them had paced back and forth in a circle, just outside the light of the fire.
From that day on, I never looked outside after dark and I kept the fire built high, especially on foggy nights.
July 27th, 2012 at 12:04 am
Nice and spooky. I liked it. 😉
July 27th, 2012 at 4:28 am
“And so I ventured out to investigate, against the cries of common sense.” Nice!
July 27th, 2012 at 10:20 am
I know for myself there are times when I say, “I’m going to regret this, but…”
July 27th, 2012 at 4:56 am
This was GREAT. I love spooky stories.
July 27th, 2012 at 10:19 am
Thanks 🙂 Me too.
July 27th, 2012 at 8:36 am
Fear personified (or “ghostified”) — well done!
July 27th, 2012 at 10:19 am
Thanks. I’m very interested in the idea of fear, especially since we tend to increase the fear in our own minds. I won’t go as far as to say we have nothing to fear but fear itself, but a lot of it is in the mind.
July 27th, 2012 at 11:51 am
Awesome !! and very intriguing.!!
July 27th, 2012 at 7:40 pm
this was really scary david, you are a priceless horror story writer. you know the art which i love best, scaring without blood and gore.
from wherever did you find that amazing pic that fitted so well with the story?
July 27th, 2012 at 9:17 pm
Thanks, Trisha 🙂 I found the picture on a Google Image search.
July 28th, 2012 at 6:05 pm
your choice is amazing! i am tempted to write the story. I will let you know when i have completed it. it will be quite based on yours though! hope you will forgive that 🙂
July 28th, 2012 at 8:28 pm
Even though the theme is cliché you carried it on really well and I liked the way It. Loved the atmosphere you created.
January 8th, 2013 at 8:21 am
well done David, many thanks for running through my posts. I am new to blogging, and I am learning a great deal from people like you who take the time to take a look at the newbies. “Never look out your window after dark”,
January 8th, 2013 at 4:15 pm
Thank you. I’m glad you liked it. 🙂 I enjoyed reading your blog and I’ll try to keep reading it. I like your pictures and quirky writing.