Every house has its own personality. Its own history. Its own tales of dread and horror… if you dare to listen hard enough. Old houses have always creeped me out, wondering what untold stories hid in the shadows. What might lie beneath creaking floorboards. How about you? Care to step inside with me?
Excerpt from Demon in the Basement:
Like a mouse, I stood frozen, considering my next move. I’d intended to come in like a lion, all teeth and claws, but my brave plan evaporated the moment I stepped inside. Fear of the unknown could do strange things to a person, but fear of the known was far worse. I saw my death flash before my eyes and knew who had put it there.
Perhaps the house feared me? That somewhat feeble thought bolstered my courage, even though a part of me knew I was grasping at straws.
“Welcome home, Robert.”
The sibilant voice reminded me I wasn’t dealing with wood and shingles, but rather an entity who wore the house as one would don a shirt and pair of slacks. The fact that it hadn’t left in all these years must mean its tether was here; no doubt the mysterious closet I’d never been able to find as a teen. I meant to find it now, even if I had to dismantle the house piece by piece.
My hand slid up the banister as I moved upstairs, memories rushing through my mind, a thousand pictures of times I’d performed the same motion. The smooth wood felt warm and inviting; lethargy stole over me so I was tempted to give up and sit down to rest for a while. I jerked my hand free, the house laughing at my terror.
By the time I reached the attic, my limbs shook and my head drummed a rhythm of doom. I was a man in a desert, dying of thirst.
I must have slept for hours as the sun had passed overhead and now lengthened the shadows of the trees outside the attic windows. The electricity wasn’t on—for some reason I hadn’t felt the need to have it—and the candles I’d brought were in my suitcase. Downstairs. I berated myself for that foolish oversight even as I dreaded making the trip up the stairs all over again. What made me think this would be quick?
My feet pelted down the stairs in time to the creaks of the house as it laughed in victorious amusement. I walked out the front door and breathed in the fresh air that I thought was lost to me forever, just happy to be alive for the moment. I told myself I wasn’t finished, only regrouping, and went back to the hotel after a quick stop at the store.
Tomorrow would be different, I told myself. With a bottle of scotch on my nightstand, I drank myself to sleep so as not to dream.