Unlike the other doors in the house, the basement door opens smoothly and silently. Outside, clouds pass swiftly. The shifting sun shining through the stained-glass windows above the door casts colorful light across the hallway.
By sharp contrast the basement is dark, and there is a chill breeze drifting up from below.
Each step is silent—no creak or groan. He descends farther into darkness, the light from above seemingly swallowed by the cold earth below the house.
Accustomed to the sounds of the house, the quiet is odd to Edmund. So quiet Edmund can hear his heart thumping and the blood pumping throughout his body.
Edmund pauses halfway down the steps. That isn’t my heart. There is a repetitive “thump” echoing from the basement.
Edmund grits his teeth and refuses to stop his downward descent.
“Thump... thump... thump.”
The sound seems to fill the room below and is creeping up to Edmund, into him. He shifts his step when he notices his footsteps are matching the strange rhythm.
The noise grows louder as Edmund slowly descends.
The room at the bottom of the stairs is dark. The thumping emanates from a far wall, pulsing outward. In the darkness, Edmund sees red eyes reflecting back at him.
A beam of light shatters the darkness. A dark silhouette stands at the doorway at the bottom of the stairs. The figure lurches into the room. An arm extends through the opening as the apparition reaches towards Edmund.
Edmund wants to flee but his body is frozen.
The figure grasps upward, scratching against the wall.
[To be continued in Ghosts of Manor House by Matt Powers]