Day 131 – The Shadow at Mary King’s Close

I went to Mary King’s Close today. It was great fun – not too scary and really interesting and as a result I wrote a semi-scary ghost story that has resulted in me probably not going to be able to sleep with the light off tonight.

First ghost story I’ve written actually, so hope it’s not too bad/predictable.

Word count: 932

“And he dropped dead right there in the street, the crows pecking at his corpse,” was the last thing he could remember the tour guide saying.

Steve had only dropped his mobile phone three rooms back; he had only left the group for a matter of seconds.

The chambers were dark, gloomy and foreboding. An eerie breeze from seemingly nowhere brushed passed his skin. Shadows loomed in the gloom and the whispers of four hundred years’ worth of history muttered behind the dank, crumbling sixteenth century walls.

Steve’s phone was lying on the old cobbled subterranean street. Though he could not remember hearing it drop, it was right there in the centre of the room. He could not understand why no one had noticed it. A few rooms onward, he could hear the shrieks of his easily frightened friends. He picked up the phone and brushed off the dust from the screen. Automatically, he checked the time on the phone and noticed that the battery charge had depleted to near zero. It was odd as he had only charged it just before he had arrived. There was no network connection down here, though that was not unexpected. He slotted the phone back into his jeans pocket and turned to go back through the low archway into the next room.

Something flitted past his vision. A scurrying. His heart fluttering, he calmed his thoughts; it would just be a mouse. This place must be crawling with them. He crossed the chamber but at the other end there was a cross roads. One of the adjacent closes sloped on downwards towards the ghost of Nor Loch. The other went into another corridor that split into two; one path leading onwards, the other leading down a decaying staircase. Steve hesitated. Which way had he come from?

A rustling behind him – that mouse? His skin began to prickle with unease. He felt a pair of eyes watching him, surveying him with silent intent. More rustling – it sounded like crumbling dust from the walls. Steve made the decision quickly and took the disintegrating steps down into the next chamber. He instantly knew he’d taken the wrong one for he was plunged into a frozen pool of darkness. The initial soft lighting had quickly disappeared. It was clear that this was not where he was supposed to go.

A creaking. A constant creaking. It was coming from the black ahead. Steve took a step backwards. He felt something behind him, something lightly touching his shoulder. His heart was thundering in his rib cage. Breath shortening with each passing second, he slowly turned around. The feeling did not leave his shoulder. It was as if someone’s hand was clinging on to it and would not let go. There was no one else in the room. The creaking continued, like a rocking chair on a wooden floor. Creak. Creak. Creak.

Steve stumbled up the steps, tripping on the final one and falling flat on his face at the top. He felt the same force on his shoulder dragging him down. He tried to throw it off. Surely his friends must be nearby? He jumped to his feet and ran down the more brightly lit corridor. It was looking more familiar. Yes, he had seen these illuminated posters before – he was near. His friends would only be around the corner. He dashed through the chamber and out he finally came to Mary King’s Close itself.

It was desolate. Four or five dimly lit electric lights lined the walls. Above the ceiling disappeared into a void blackness. The street was steep. It sunk deep into the hill. The fire exit light glimmered dully at the bottom. At the top he saw something move: a shadow. It must surely be the rest of his friends. He sprinted up the hill – it was getting chillier with each climb. At the top of the Close there was another set of more modern steps.

“Wait!” he shouted at his friends. Ten, twenty, thirty, forty steps later he reached the top. The door was closed. A key had been jammed in the lock from the other side. He banged on the door. “Let me out! Let me out!”

No one came. He thudded again and again. His hands were bruised. No one answered.

A giggling. The childish giggle of a small girl. It ricocheted off the historic walls and into his eardrums. There was no one behind him when he turned to look behind him. A sweat was beginning to form on Steve’s brow. He needed to get out. He remembered the fire exit down at the bottom of the Close. Wherever it would come out would surely be better than waiting here indefinitely. He closed his eyes and dove back down the steps into the bowels of the city of Edinburgh.

Hushed whispers. The distant echo of a girl still laughing. A haunting vacuum of life. He bolted down to the bottom of the Close and slammed his hands on the fire exit handle. It would not budge. It was stuck. It was solid.

“Help, let me out! Please, this isn’t funny!” he yelled, kicking the door as hard as he could.

But in the reverberation of the clatter and clanging of the kick, the soft familiar ting of a text message alert resounded all around him. Very slowly he withdrew the phone from his pocket and unlocked the screen. There was still no network reception registering. One unread text message from an unknown number. He clicked to open it.

Look behind you, Steven, we are all still here.

~ by S.G. Mark on February 15, 2012.

One Response to “Day 131 – The Shadow at Mary King’s Close”

  1. Very good, I said to myself.

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