Last night, I spent a couple of hours out at Marian University participating in a writer’s workshop put on by the Writers’ Center of Indiana. The instructor for this 6 week workshop is Dan Wakefield, author, and resident (again) of Indianapolis. We conducted an exercise which ultimately inspired me to churn out the story below. I hope you enjoy it. I’m not sure if it will lead to a larger work, but for now it’s a great standalone teaser. Let me know what you think!
Title: Not the Last
Creak. The bottom-most stair sounded off in protest at the weight of some unknown visitor. Stirring, I slowly parted ways with the shroud of a deep sleep. I did not yet realize what had brought me to consciousness.
Creak. Now, I was sure of it. Someone was ascending the stairs to my room. My eyes drifted sleepily to the end of my bed where Donja, my chow-chow puppy, lay snoozing. She hadn’t noticed I was awake nor the sounds from beyond my bedroom door.
Creak. I rose further from the cloudy sense of a dream mostly forgotten. My eyes adjusted and began to draw in the furniture that encircled the room. I looked towards the alarm clock and the numbers 3:18 burned furiously at me across the otherwise dark room.
Creak. I started wondering who would be climbing my stairs at 3 o’clock in the morning. What had happened? I hadn’t heard the phone ring. Perhaps my mother was just coming to check on me. That had to be it or so I thought.
Creak. I realized that there was no light creeping in under the door. It seemed odd that my mother would climb my treacherous stairway without a light. My stairs had welcomed my body with pain and suffering on more than one occasion due to an uncomfortably tight right angle halfway up.
Creak. The person on the stairs had reached the angle.
Creak. I began to feel a sense of dread. The last time my mother had climbed the stairs in the middle of the night, it was to inform me of my grandmother’s death. Her arrival would mean bad news. I was sure of it.
Creak. I steeled myself, preparing for the worst. I knew she only had a couple more steps to go.
Creak. I waited breathless for the handle to turn, the door to open, and the news to come. It never came. The door did not open. After a deep breath, I finally rose from my bed, travelled the distance to the door and pulled it open. There was no one standing outside my door and no one on the stairs. That was the first time I met the ghost upon my stairs.
It would not be the last.