At the Bottom of the Stairwell (flash fiction)

I recently watched The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (which just got released on HBO), and it inspired me to write this little piece of horror flash fiction. I also used this creepy image as a prompt. The story is 553 words and has an estimated reading time of 2 minutes. Let me know what you think!

Felicia began to think this adventurous date wasn’t fun anymore.

Her “boyfriend” of two months, Theo, dared her to come with him to an abandoned industrial park on the edge of town. He said they could spend the day taking pictures of the creepy landscapes. They were both photographers, after all, and that was part of the reason they connected online.

Felicia and Theo descended the stairs in the shuttered, rusty factory, and she felt a cold chill run through her. The dirty spiral staircase went down and down into complete darkness at the bottom. They hadn’t seen anyone else in hours, and the sun was starting to set, casting shadows through the tall windows.

“I don’t know about this,” Felicia said. “Let’s head back home.”

“Scared?” Theo smiled mischievously.

“Yes, in fact, I am. This is fucking creepy.”

“Oh, come on. I just want to get to the bottom. Then we can leave.”

Felicia complied; she knew not why. The stairs creaked with each step, echoing through the stairwell. It was total darkness below, and it felt like she was literally descending into the underworld.

“How did you know about this place, anyway?” Felicia asked. Talking seemed to ease her worries, but not by much. She still didn’t know Theo that well, and it was stupid of her to do this. What if he raped her down there? What if he was some kind of sicko? This was definitely not one of her brightest ideas.

“I read about it online,” Theo replied, turning on the flashlight on his cellphone. “There are some urban legends surrounding this place.”

“Yeah?”

Theo smiled again. “Yeah. There are rumors that a satanic cult does sacrifices and rituals and shit around here somewhere. Probably just a rumor, though.”

Finally, they arrived at the bottom of the stairwell. Theo used his flashlight to show them around in the darkness. It seemed like a typical basement/boiler room of an old factory; lots of mechanical equipment. But there was also the occasional creepy doll, pentagrams drawn on the wall, and many spiderwebs.

“Good lord,” Felicia moaned. “Can we leave now?”

“Not yet.”

He shone the flashlight toward the ceiling, revealing a crucifix hanging upside down. Felicia nearly screamed, her hands beginning to shake. She timidly followed him into the room. The flashlight then revealed an altar, and Theo took out a match and began lighting the candles.

“You said you were a horror movie fan, right?” he asked.

“Y-yes,” she stammered.

“Good. There’s something I haven’t told you.”

By the soft candlelight, she saw him don a black robe. A giant pentagram lay in the center of the altar – and pictures of Felicia, the ones from her online profile. She gasped, nearly fainted. She wanted to cry out, but she knew no one would hear her. They were absolutely alone.

As Theo slowly moved toward her, his face no longer looked mischievous but now pure evil, and her life flashed before her eyes. She was only twenty-nine years old, and she knew she wouldn’t live to see thirty. She let out a blood-curling scream before his hand closed over her mouth, and she prayed to a God she thought she’d stopped believing in but now hoped was, in fact, real.

The End

Leave a Reply