Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. — Edgar Allen Poe
Did I scare you? If I did, you likely have treslitteraphobia. Fear of three letter words. Or, more likely, you’re a moron.
The art of horror is difficult to convey in the written word. There’s no scary theme music. No sudden, jarring images. A writer only has paper, words, and a reader’s skill of imagination—which, these days, consists of how adroitly he or she can work the television remote.
However, you don’t need fancy CGI and imbecilic teenagers to be scared. All you need is a fear—a terrible, ghastly future occurrence that could happen to you. Thus, for those who don’t believe in ghosts, tales about them aren’t really something to fear.
But for those of us who have seen them, felt their chilly hisses whisper down our spines, you will find my ghost story, my honest to goodness true ghost story, something to make you wonder what is really tapping against your window…
The basement always scared me. The darkness. Being underground. An old door in the back leads outside to a crumbly, concrete staircase that reaches up to our backyard. The lock on the door, however, is rickety; a robber, a murderer, a psychopath easily capable of breaking through to wait within my closet, knife trembling, anxious to gouge flesh.
I was ten or eleven when I saw the ghost in my basement. Outside, late autumn hung from the wind and sky, darkness came early, daylight was gray and foggy, the skeletal limbs of trees looked like fingers smashed beneath a hammer.
I was alone at the time, the evening already black, where without light, you could see no farther than the dead can from their coffin. I headed toward the stairs leading down to the basement, and to this day, I am unable to remember what drew me there. But as I peeled back the door in front of the staircase, I saw her.
I hadn’t turned on the light yet, so it should have been pitch-black. But a woman’s white hand and arm, the rest of her body obscured by the door, gripped the handrail as she ascended. It was translucent, almost like an afterimage singed into your retina, but this hand was much brighter, much realer. And it, along with the rest of her, headed right for me.
I shrieked and stumbled backward, tripping over the bags for recycling we kept there. I struck my head on the wall but didn’t slow, scampered, crawled away from the door and toward the bathroom, where I hid until my mother returned.
Whether you believe that was my childhood imagination or an actual ghost, later that evening, once I had the courage to leave my refuge, I found a single framed picture, a very old picture knocked off the wall. A sepia photo of a female ancestor I knew nothing about.
Coincidence and make believe? The story’s real. How or why the events happened, however, is what you must determine.
Comment with your own ghost story if you have one! And if you want the creepy to continue, check out a 3 minute movie I made a couple years ago (starring my dad!) that is suspenseful itself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gi5fvBV7gKU&feature=plcp