Cautiously she opened her bedroom door. The hall was bathed in a cool eerie blue glow from the nearby nightlight. The house was silent save for a small scratching sound which seemed amplified by the darkness below. She crept stealthily forward to the banister, cocked her head to the side and listened again, holding her breath this time. She owned no pets. The noise seemed to be coming from the living room. Every ounce of her being told her not to go to the stairwell, but her legs carried her to the top of the stairs anyway. Her heart pounded. She had no weapons. She crept down the stairs, easing each foot to prevent the creak of the stair and gripping the banister with a white knuckled grip. The room below was unthinkably black and she could make out no shape or form. She stopped on the last stair, there was no floor below her; just an unbelievable blackness that hid what should have been a hardwood surface. Scratch, scratch, scratch. She froze and peered into the blackness, it seemed so close but the heavy darkness swallowed all sense of direction for the sound. She didn’t see the long leathery fingers reaching from below her in the darkness. She didn’t feel a presence so very near to her. The jolt of the cold fingers sliding around her ankle and yanking in a death grip sent her body into shock as it was violently pulled from the stair and began to disappear down into the blackness. Her final reaction in this world, a wild eyed stare back up the stairwell toward the eerie blue light of the hall above her and a half-hearted gasp before she ceased to exist.
As a person living with PTSD it’s actually quite difficult to not believe in danger lurking everywhere. Years ago, when I was newly diagnosed, I once got lost in my own bedroom. Paralyzed by fear in the darkness of my own room, having no sense of direction, the darkness seemed incredibly unreal and I thought I may pitch over into some kind of twilight zone. My husband lay mere feet from me and the pounding of my own heart drown out any sound that could have directed me to him and safety. I can laugh about it now, but at the time, I was truly lost in terror. I hope you enjoyed my latest Short-short story.