Thirteen Steps…

Below is one of my favorite horror stories.  Hope you enjoy it…

(I found it this time at: )

Mister and Mrs. Haydale exchanged looks. Everything was going marvelously. Mr. Haydale’s employer was already hinting at a probably promotion in their near future. Haydale would regret to admit it later, but tonight, so far, was the best night of his life.

His children begged to differ.

Well, at least one of them did.

“Chester!” Emily screamed after realizing the dead mouse in the silverware drawer was a rubber squeak toy. Her brother cackled from the other room. He loved nothing more than to spook his sister, especially on those dark and stormy nights. “Go to bed,” ordered Emily threateningly. “It’s past your bed time and I’m going to tell Mom and Dad you wouldn’t listen to me.”

“Gosh,” Chester growled as he slid out of the chair and made his way towards his room, “you’re the worst babysitter ever.” A clap of thunder tore through the house, shaking it on its foundation. Emily jumped and Chester let out a great, “HA!”

“Get in your room!” Emily yelled and gestured as though she was about to chase and pound him. Chester bolted and slammed the door behind him, laughing all the way.

Another clap of thunder struck the house. Emily shivered. She pulled her cell phone out of her pocket and, against strict orders not to unless in an emergency, called her father. “Chester’s being an ass.”

“Honey,” it was her mother. Mr. Haydale surrendered the phone to her immediately. “You know this is an important night for your father. When we get home we’ll deal with your brother. Are you okay?” The conversation at their table died as Mr. Haydale’s boss and his wife listened in.

“Is everything all right?” Mr. Haydale’s boss asked.

Mrs. Haydale smiled and laughed trivially after hanging up with her daughter. “Yes, of course. Our daughter Emily is a bit high strung. The other kids at school have been telling her our house is haunted,” she chuckled.

“Well, children,” Mr. Haydale’s boss grinned and shrugged.

“Although,” Mr. Haydale interjected, “She did have a bad scare in the basement shortly after we moved in. She said she thought she saw a ghost.” At this he and his wife couldn’t help but titter at the notion. His boss and his boss’s wife chimed in the laughter too.

“Sounds like the Devil in the basement at the Old Irving House,” Mr. Haydale’s boss’s wife giggled at the age-old ghost story. Mr. Haydale and his wife stopped laughing. “…Oh, forgive me,” she apologized hastily, “is that where you moved to? It’s nothing, really, just old stories from when even the two of us were kids.” She smiled at her husband but it flashed into something like a grimace. “Just stuff we all shared to scare one another.”

Mr. Haydale’s phone rang.

“Dad?” It was Emily. “Dad, the power’s gone out.”

Mr. Haydale sighed. Of course the power went out. “Honey, can you find the candles in the cabinet next to the fridge?”

“Yes, I’ve got one. When are you coming home? I know it’s a big night for you but please come home.” She was near tears.

“Darling, I can’t come home just to turn the power back on. All you have to do is flip the switch in the fuse box, it’s very simple.” He paused and looked around the table. Everyone was watching him. “…It’s in the basement.” Emily nearly choked out a sob. “Honey, come on, you can do this.” He lowered the tone of his voice. “There are no such things as ghosts, you know that. You’re smarter than that, right Emily?” She was silent. He pressed further. “Emily?” She mumbled some sort of affirmation. Mr. Haydale smiled. “That’s my girl. Now I’m going to talk you through this, ok? I’ll be here on the phone the whole time. Okay?”


“Alright. Let me know when you’ve reached the cellar door.”

There was a pause. “I’m there.”

“Okay. Now just open the door.” Through the crackling line he could hear the loud squeeeeee of the basement door. “Okay, this is real simple, Emily. When you go down the steps, the fuse box will be directly across the room about seven or eight paces.”

“Dad, I can’t–”

“Yes, you can. Just ten steps, and seven paces. Count them aloud with me, okay? One…”


“Two,” they said in unison. “Three…”

A gust of wind chilled the back of Emily’s neck. She squeaked hopelessly. “Dad,” she whimpered.

“Four, keep going honey, four.”


Emily’s hands began to shake. The light of her candle wavered against the wooden panels on the wall. “Five,” she said.

“Good girl!” her father encouraged.

“Six. Seven.”

“You’re almost there, Emily,” Mr. Haydale smiled and looked at his wife who gave a sigh of relief. Usually when Emily was more than halfway into anything she didn’t want to do, she just gave in and did it anyway.

There was a long pause. “Emily?”

“Dad, I can see something shining.”

He gave a light chuckle. “That’s the handle on the fuse box, Hun. We just had it replaced, remember? Now, just a few more. Eight? …Emily, Eight?”

Suppressing the lump in her throat, Emily replied, “Eight,” as she took another step down.

“Two more, Babe.”

She could hardly control her breathing. “…Nine,” she squealed fearfully. “Dad, I don’t want to be down here, please come home!” she cried.

“Emily,” he said softly, “everything is going to be okay. You just have one more step. Come on.”

“Is she okay?” Mrs. Haydale reached for the phone but Mr. Haydale evaded her hand. “She’s fine. Come on, Emily, ten. Ten, Emily.”


Mr. Haydale beamed. “‘Atta girl. Now, just a few feet in front of you, the-”


Mr. Haydale fell silent. He listened as his daughter continued to count the steps she descended in a distant, guttural monotone.

“Twelve… Thirteen… Fourteen… Fifteen… Sixteen… Seventeen… Eighteen… Nineteen…”


~ by daveprime on November 29, 2010.

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