A/N: I had this as a nightmare twice in a row, and decided to pen it (metaphorically since i typed it). Let me tell you, however scary orotherwise you find this, it was one of the scariestI have ever had. Enjoy...


I swung back the heavy wooden door, and stepped inside it. I felt the cold stone floor beneath my bare feet as I went, and then shut the door behind me in a panic, lest anyone should discover I was in here.

I suddenly realised I was freezing in my thin cotton pyjamas, but I stopped myself going back. I needed to know what was down here. As I went down the first flight of stairs, I stepped carefully because I couldn't see very well. It was incredibly dark in this place, and having to actually look where I was putting my feet made me think: did I really want to be doing this? Should I be down here? The answer to both questions was no, but I felt myself compelled to carry on.

The hard iron banister ended here, and I found myself in the middle of nowhere again. My eyes, clearly not adjusted to the darkness yet, were no use whatsoever, so I had to feel my way along the walls rather than looking where I was going. I stopped as slowly my eyes adjusted to the darkness, and I began to notice things about the room I now found myself in. A high, cold, bleak white ceiling, the walls of stone with flaking white paint and covered in dust from hell knows how many centuries' neglect, the grey flagstone floor, and the empty blackness in one corner.

Here, the white of the wall suddenly ended and gave way to blackness. Hole in the wall, I thought, not good. Then I noticed the unnatural straightness of the border line, and the thing swinging to and fro inside the black space. It was a doorway.

Once again, I questioned my own resolve, and tried convincing myself that I had to go back. However, I looked up at the top of the stairway, towards the black door. The black door, on the other side of it - light! I've got to get to the light, I told myself. As I looked, though, I realised there was no light shining under the door or through the cracks. Everyone had gone to bed, and there was only me left awake in the house.

That idea finished, the only thing left to do was to go through the doorway, whatever was on the other side of it. My conscious mind eventually gave in, and I walked slowly towards the blackness. I could now see my current surroundings clearly, but not clear enough to run in. As I got to the door, I remember thinking; I hope I don't have to get back up the stairs in a hurry.

I walked into the doorway, and realised I was starting from scratch. I could see nothing but pure, horrifying darkness ahead, but when I followed the floor along I saw it too melted away and was replaced, half a foot further down. A staircase. Why another staircase, I thought, as I went down it, footstep after painstaking footstep. The cold chill was even worse down here, and I wished I'd gone back for my slippers and a jumper.

Too late now, the lights were off upstairs. As my eyes adjusted again to the darkness down here, I noticed the walls were no longer white, they were a dull grey. The ceiling down here was unpainted and grey as well. Why had the painter suddenly stopped, beyond the door I had just come through? Afraid of the dark? That couldn't be it, there would have been light down here once.

I had noticed something else. Down here there was no stair rail, or banister. No décor whatsoever, and I could tell by the lack of paint on the walls that this place had served a functional purpose only. That room upstairs was where you invited guests. You would keep the door locked on the room down here.

Down here it was, because I stepped off the bottom stair at that moment and heard a noise. For that moment, I was so scared out of my mind that I couldn't work out what it was, but then I realised it was water dripping. Plunk, plunk. For the moment, I couldn't figure out where it was coming from.

And then all of a sudden, I could see everything clearly. Down here, it seemed, there was no grey area between blindness and sight. There might be no grey area going back the other way, either. I noticed a black door in the grey wall away to my left. Being able to see clearly gave me the confidence to walk over to it and turn the handle. It was locked.

I breathed a sigh of relief. Something about the solid black wood reassured me in some small, unfathomable way. This place must have been an old pantry, I thought, and this must be the pantry annexe inside here. I wouldn't want to go in and find a hundred year old meat – good job the door's locked.

Ready to go back upstairs, I turned. There was a door at the other end as well, beyond the staircase, which wasn't right because I hadn't seen it on the stairs. Maybe sight gain had a grey area down here after all. I waited a full minute before deciding. Should I go right back up those stairs, out the top door, into bed and go to sleep? It did seem like a good idea, but something nagged at me about that other door. I'd come this far, so I might as well go the whole way. It was probably locked anyway, but best to make sure.

As I walked over to the right-hand wing of this large chamber I was in, I stopped in horror at what I saw to my right side. In the grey stone wall, was set a huge rectangle, at least 2 dining-tables' worth, of black space. This blackness was one I knew instinctively that I would never be able to see into. As my eyes found a near focus, I realised whatever the black space was, it had solid iron bars in front of it, presumably to prevent anyone stupid enough to come down here falling to their death.

I turned back towards the door, but now with an unusual feeling of trepidation. I really didn't want to know what was behind this door now, but something deep down compelled me onwards. I now realised there was a small barred window in the top half of the door, but I wasn't big enough to look in it.

I pushed the door open, ignoring the broken padlock on the floor and the smashed lock on the wall beside. As I saw the bed inside and the bare walls of a confined space, I realised with sickening horror what this dreadful place had once been.

I was standing in a cell, and there was a centuries-old collarbone on the floor beside the bed. Where the rest of this person was, I had no idea. All I knew was that I was getting right out of here now.

As I ran out of the cell, the dripping noise stopped suddenly, and as I mounted the stairs it was replaced with the scariest sound I ever heard before or since – I heard a footstep on the floor below. And another. I ran for my life up those stairs. The footsteps quickened and were mounting the staircase themselves. Suddenly, the light was gone and I was in pitch black again. I ran through the doorway at the top and out into the larger hall, with white walls.

I fled, without even thinking about it, straight up the staircase, grabbing onto the cold iron banister for support. As I reached the very top, I saw a dark, slightly cloudy and translucent figure enter the floor below. I was seeing a ghost. I couldn't open the door, because if he saw the light he would know where I was. Why had I come down here in the first place?

I suddenly, in a wild panic, heaved open the wooden door, jumped through, and slammed it shut. Light! Light was everywhere as I ran back into my bedroom and jumped under the covers.

The footsteps below had ceased. All there was was silence. I put my head down and tried in vain to go to sleep. There was only one thing that kept me awake all night, but by eight the next morning it was still there. There was a footprint outside my bedroom door when I woke up. This was explained by just one sound I heard outside the door, just after I got into bed.

It was a footstep.