Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Stairs, Part 7, Final (suspense/horror)


(A story in honor of Halloween. As the days of October shorten, a young man descends with the sunset shadows down seven cellar stairs. If you're just joining us, you can go back to Part 1.)

On the Last Stair


oh god oh god oh god

Paulie's fingertips shook.

He stood at the edge of the black basement and listened. The odor in the air smelled sharper. More than just a ghost of crispy brown and dried up worms. The stench snaked into his pants, but also repelled him.

A match lit in the darkness.

Caught the sparkling glitter of eyes.

The flame fluttered down, then cupped under smoky glass. A shimmering red hiss transformed to chilly blue, then finally blazed white.

A woman sat on the edge of the table beside the lantern.

"Hi Mrs. Brennan," Paulie said.

She laughed and shook her head at the formality. He knew she liked it, though.

"Are you coming in?" she said. Her voice was slow. Mischievous.

Over her shoulder, one of the old shovels leaned in the middle of wall. The handle was dark where the old dust was smeared away. Paulie's eyes lingered on it as he spoke.

"I've been thinking a lot about last week," he said. "Actually, I can't get it out of my head."

"You can't?"


Her smile spread, showing teeth. "I like that."

He thought about telling her he visited the cottage every day of the week, but didn't want to look weak. Needy. Besides, she might be pissed about drawing attention to their secret place.

"You want to do the same thing again? I liked the kidnapping game," he said, looking down at the solid legs of the table. "I could handcuff you again. Tighter this time. I could do...more."

She eased off the table and approached him. It made him even more self-conscious. "Oh? Like what?"

Her hands dug into the muscles of his upper chest. Her weight pushed him back.

He swallowed, tried to speak, but no sound came out.

"I have something extra special planned," she said. "Something even better."

The decay was so much stronger, not nice like he remembered.

He glanced down to where the dirt floor was dug. Something curved up from the grey soil.

Deer bones?

She kissed his neck, and his heartbeat throbbed down in the center of his jeans.

"It makes me so hot just to think about it," she whispered. "I almost can't stand it."

With her lips, she traced a half circle around his neck. "It's amazing for guys. You see it in their faces."

"What?" he croaked.

She turned his shoulders. Away from the room and its lumpy floor.

Bits of his clothes were coming off. Mrs. Brennan threw them into a corner on top of others, stiff and old.

"Under the hickory tree," she said. "There's a stool."

He tensed.

"There's nothing like it. Nothing in the world."

She pressed him up the stairs into the new night. The tree towered black against the sky.

"Mrs. Brennan, I--"

A rope dangled from a crooked branch.

"Shhhh," she said. "Do it."

His bare skin stepped onto wood. The stool legs teetered.

The noose near his shoulders made no shadow on the stairs. All of the hickory's darkness plunged into the basement below.

His heart thundered.

"Don't worry, I'll let you down," she said. "I promise."

He saw the furnace heat in her eyes.

"Do it," she said.

He slipped the rope over his head.

look at me please look at me I'll do whatever you want so you never look away

His hands dropped, and she pounced.

i love you

Hair flying wild, she kicked the stool away.

Back to Part 6.


mermaid said...

I've missed some parts in between, but I'm always suprised in the end. I guess that's a good suspense. Congrats and Happy Halloween.

SzélsőFa said...

Ooops - I did not expect this to happen, but I like it the more. What a surprise.

Vesper said...

Wow, Jason, what a twist. Brilliant! Very well written.
Happy Halloween to you too.

The Electric Orchid Hunter said...

Oh yum! I was not expecting... THAT! Now I have to go back and read the whole thing in one go. Do your children know they have a sick, sick daddy? Have a twisted Halloween, Jason!

Hoodie said...


J. C. Wells said...

You're tricky!

Ello said...

You totatlly got me! You devil, you! That was awesome! Great twist, really devious. now how long til your next series? I'm so hooked on this format now! This was truly excellent!

Church Lady said...

I need to work on my moves. ;-)

Well worth the wait. This has been a fun trip. I loved this series!

Happy Halloween!

Anonymous said...

Mermaid, I did drop in clues, but I didn't expect anyone to figure them out.

Szelsofa, I got a kick out of building Paulie up as a psychopathic killer, but having him turn out to be the victim of a pyschopathic killer instead. He is just a messed up kid.

Vesper, yeah, a twisted twist. Thanks for coming along for this little experiment.

Electric Orchid Hunter, they don't know yet, but I guess it's just a matter of time. ;) Glad you got a kick out of it. I know it's dark, but it's refreshing in an odd way to explore a dark theme once in a while.

Now Hoodie, we all know that dude is one of those words with scores of meanings depending on it's inflection. Can you spell that one out or punctuate it for me? LOL.

Jaye, I couldn't do the obvious now, could I? :)

Ello, ha! You were really fun to have along for this one. Keeping that energy up makes it a pleasure to write. As for what's next, my 7th contest is the next big thing.

Church Lady, ah yes, you're a teacher. Maybe you need to forget this one. ;)

Bernita said...

Excellent, Jason.
Also open to the possibility that he is an abhuctor/ killer and is inveigled to commit suicide by her ghost.

Verilion said...

Yep that was some twist. Will have to re read it to try and spot some of the clues.

angel said...

oh no!!! the poor kid!!! this is completely different to what i was expecting dude...
masterfully suspenseful!

Anonymous said...

Bernita, that's a great point! Very true.

Verilion, I also wanted a woman to have a chance to be a serial killer for a change.

Angel, glad you enjoyed the read! :)

ybonesy said...

Of all the possible endings, this is one I would have NEVER predicted. Well done!

Terri said...

It was great to read this from start to finish all in one sitting. You made the transition from psychopath to victim seamlessly - very clever! Great imagery too, as always.

Anonymous said...

Ybonesy, part way through the series, I realized there was no way I could do the expected. That would have been painfully boring with the build up. It needed to be a cool twist.

Terri, after I finish, I worry about how these things read in one sitting. Glad it worked that way too!

The Anti-Wife said...

Holy Shit!