I’ve saved my spookiest story for All Hallow’s Eve. This was the first story I wrote last year when I went along to the Random Scribblers writing group with it clutched in my shaking hand.
I am fearful to recount a terrifying episode but hope that putting pen to paper will allay my fears. I am travelling from Plymouth to London and yesterday one of the wheels of the carriage broke with a great crash and the wheelwright is unable to repair it for at least two days. The other passengers and I had no choice but to lodge at a small coaching inn on the outskirts of the village of Rockbeare. The inn looks as if it grew from the ground many centuries ago and is covered in a vigorous climbing plant that smothers the building. After a supper of mutton stew, I retired early as the journey had greatly exhausted me. The room is small and spartan, with a floor that slopes towards the window.
Once abed I fell quickly asleep but was woken by such a feeling of dread that I was frozen in place and dared not move. My eyes searched the darkness for some sign of what might have woken me but the room was black as pitch. I then heard a noise as if a chair was scraping across the floor. Suddenly I was aware of a presence next to me and an icy chill on my cheek. Overcoming my fear, I lunged forward but no-one was there. I lit the candle with shaking hands, slowly got out of bed and checked the room carefully. The chair had indeed moved away from the desk and was now facing the bed but otherwise there was no sign of the intruder. After a time, my heart finally slowed to a normal rhythm and I was able to think more clearly. If someone had broken into my room, the door would be thrown wide but it was still locked. I returned to bed and, despite my ordeal, eventually fell back to sleep.
I was woken again some time later by a tremendous pressure on my chest. I could not breathe and started to flail my arms. The candle had not gone out so I could see there was nothing pressing down on me but still I could not draw breath. As suddenly as it started the pressure ceased and for some while I gasped like a landed fish. Once I had regained my composure I decided to fetch help but upon trying the locked door discovered the key nowhere to be found. I rattled the doorknob and called out for several minutes but, if anyone heard me, they did not come to my assistance.
I sit on the edge of the bed becoming ever more fearful of being alone in the room. The candle is guttering, casting unnerving shadows and the room grows colder. One thing I know is that there is something malevolent in the room with me. Whether spirit or demon, I am sure that it is intent on harming me. I am writing this several hours away from sunrise and know not whether I shall see another day break.