Screams in the Dark
She was my best friend. But I try never to think about her. It's only on
certain nights, when I'm all alone in my room, that I remember...
It was last year when my best friend asked me to stay at her house
overnight. She lived in a big, gloomy house set way back in the woods far
from the road. And she didn't want to be alone there at night. Her parents
had gone out that evening and wouldn't be back until the next afternoon. My
friend said we could have a really good time without her parents around. So
I decided to stay the night. We watched TV and ate popcorn in the living
room until late at night. When all of a sudden the power went out. We were
in total darkness We got scared. We hadn't noticed it before, but now the
downstairs seemed too big, and almost sinister looking. They could only find
one single candle in which to light their way to bed. They started to go
upstairs. Then all of a sudden, they both ran up the steps to my friend's
room as if something was coming up from behind us. After they closed the
door, they laughed at themselves. The two girls were not dismayed.
Especially my friend, who was more venturesome. They lay chatting for a
time in the candle's feeble light. When suddenly, they thought they heard a
sound from somewhere below. It sounded like somebody sharpening a knife
against stone. Then they heard another sound. A sound as of someone moving
about the house. We both stopped talking and stared at each other, feeling
really scared inside. For a while there was only silence in the room. I was
frightened. But my friend started to laugh. She said she had heard a sound
like that in her house before. She said it was probably the shutters or
something. That made me feel better and we started to talk again. Then we
heard it again! SCRRITCH. SCRRITCH. The sound made my head hurt as if
somebody's fingernails were scratching on a chalkboard. But this sound was
much worse. It shrieked up from the dark, lonely rooms below us.
SCRRITCH. My friend got a horrible look in her eyes, as though something
horrible had come into her head. My friend said that she was going down to
investigate. I tried to per swayed her. But be!
fore I c
ould catch her, she took the candle and departed out of the room, slamming
the door shut. Ignoring my pleas not to go downstairs. Leaving me alone in
absolute darkness. I heard her footsteps as she ran down the first flight
of stairs, and then stop. I sat in the dark, sick with fright. I called out
my friend's name but my voice was greeted by only cold silence. I didn't
want to stay in the dark room alone, but even more I didn't want to go out
into that other more forbidding darkness. SCRRAITCH. I heard it again,
that disgusting sound. Then I heard my friend's footsteps. Moving down the
next and final flight of stairs. She went more slowly, as if she really
didn't want to. I heard her reach the bottom. I waited in the room,
wondering what my friend was doing. I told myself she must be all right. You
see, the noise had stopped right after I heard her reach the bottom of the
stairs. It didn't come after that anymore. My friend probably had just
fixed the shutter, or whatever was making that horrible screeching noise.
Maybe she had known for sure about that all the time. She had just acted
strangely to scare me. Maybe she was sitting on the steps now, laughing at
me. I thought about going down myself, but A feeling of fear swept over me
that held me back like a hand against my throat. I decided I would wait
where I was for my friend to return. I would wait here until her parent's
returned, if necessary. Nothing could make me leave my secure darkness for
that darker unknown outside the room. Time passed as I fearfully awaited my
friends return. My ears strained for any sound and my nerves tingled at
imagined shadows. Presently after a long silence I heard the sound of
footsteps coming up the stairs. A slow, shuffling noise on the bottom step.
Was it my friend? It had to be. Yet the footsteps seemed to heavy, too
deliberate. My heart began to pound and for a moment I lost control of my
mind. It flew to the most horrible corners of my imagination and I shivered
with terror. I decided If it was my frien!
d I woul
d get her back, for playing this awful trick on me. And if it wasn't, well
there was nothing I could do...The shuffling footsteps had reached the
second flight of stairs. I coward back toward the back board of the bed in
terror. I felt the skin crawl on the back of my neck as the footsteps
reached the top of the stairs and moved slowly down the hall towards the
room I was in. They came along the hall and turned into the room. My eyes
forced wide awaken from a panic state of shocked horror, as the door creaked
slightly as it swung open. I stared at the dark figure looming in the
doorway. She called out to her friend, but there was no answer as the steps
came out across the bedroom. She laughed anxiously and begged her friend not
to play jokes on her. But only silence answered as the footsteps paused
beside the bed. She reached out her hand and felt a wave of relief as it
touched the soft edge of her friend's dressing gown. She was so happy. She
no longer wanted to scare her friend back. She lifted her hand around her
friend's nightgown collar to touch her friend's face. But instead felt
something cold and wet... As her fingers moved up there was nothing. Only
the bloody stump where her friend's head had been. SHE SCREAMED AND
SCREAMED. When the parents arrived back home, there eyes were seared by a
dreadful sight. On the stairs a trail of blood. The footsteps leading
upward. And on the floor in the girl's bedroom, lay my friend's corpse, it's
head severed from the trunk. And on the bed the girl sat. . Her lips
mumbling the torched fancies of a maniac. In time the police officials
pieced the story together from her ravings of what happened on that awful
night. But she remained completely mad. The deed was contributed to a
homicidal lunatic. Who had just escaped from the nearby sanatorium.
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