Darkness [Short Story]

I walk down the stairs. The house is old, well over fifty, and continues to settle as it creaks and groans every so often. The room below is dark, and the smell of dankness rises towards the open door. Another smell, slightly more pungent, fills the air as well. It hits me hard as my nostrils tense up at the scent.

At this time of night, no one is around to hear the noises.

I pat my hands gently along the wall until one of them finds the light switch. A low-hanging neon bulb dimly illuminates the room, but not enough for the naked eye to see everything it should.

Groans grow louder as the house settles a little bit more. The wooden steps beneath my feet let off a high-pitched squeak as I descend them to the cellar’s floor.

More groaning; this time it isn’t the house that makes those noises, at least not a house that I have ever known.

As I search for the source of these new noises, the light dies.


In the blackness I misjudge my next step and stumble to the ground; it’s moist and has a familiar smell.

I’m not alone down here. Something else watches me from the recesses of the darkness. There is nothing I can do.

At this time of night, no one is around to hear the noises.

I crawl and feel across the floor, desperately trying to find my way back to the entrance. A sharp pain ignites in my left hand. It hurts. It hurts so much. I try to flex my hand; the flesh just tears even more.

My right hand examines the left. There shouldn’t be any glass around here… or wait – the light. It didn’t blow. It was smashed.

A feeling – so intense – of a thousand eyes staring, paralyses me and in an instant, I can no longer move. Fear. Shit. It could get me at any moment, and there is nothing I can do.

Pain. My left hand continues to drip fresh crimson as my body lies frozen. A faint coolness creeps over me and settles.

I regain myself.

I need to get out of here now. I cannot die. Not now.

My blood merges with the already wet floor, and I realize what the smell is. It can’t be mine; there isn’t enough. Not nearly enough.

It’s metallic.

I scramble. Wood. I’ve found it – the stairs. My salvation is near.

I stagger a little but manage to get onto my feet.

A slight glimmer of light makes its way from under the door at the top of the stairs.

I run, skipping every second step, ascending the rickety beams.

I feel it. A cold and damp grip tightens around my ankle. It’s got me.

Damn you.

No. It can’t be. Mere inches away from safety only to be stopped now? No! I won’t allow it. You cannot have me again.

It tightens even more. The bone in my ankle feels as though it’ll snap any moment.

I kick violently and strike it. In the dark, I cannot tell what has been struck, but a ferocious snarl is let out.

The handle, it’s in my hands.

My attacker loses its balance and falls back into the abyss; a loud thud as it hits the cement floor below.

My body manages one final push as I open the door. Now locked and bolted behind me it serves as my only barrier.

A scream emanates from the room below.

I stop for a moment to catch my breath and collect my thoughts. It is pitch black outside and the small light above me serves as the only illumination.

The chains. Tomorrow I’ll need to buy stronger ones.

At this time of night, no one is around to hear the noises. Not even the screams.