The door closes with a dull thud. You've never liked house sitting all that much but maybe this could be fun; there's Netflix on the TV and tons of food in the cupboard. You drop your bag in the corridor. Better check out the sitting room. The floorboards seem quite creaky as you approach the bottom of the stairs before you can to turn left into the room.

aesthetic, buzz, and feeling image

Something draws your eyes to look up into the darkness and you are suddenly struck with the sheer vastness of the house and how tiny you are. How insignificant. The floorboards don't help as you shift your weight from one foot to the other. They seem to mock you, laughing at your impotence. Your eyes cannot seem to tear themselves away from the darkness above and you almost feel as if you are being beckoned by the blackness. The lure is so strong you wonder how you've resisted so far. It seems to grow stronger and the darkness seems to grow larger as if it were moving to envelop you in its cold arms.

aesthetic, black, and staircase image

A text beeps in on your phone and breaks the spell. You lift your hand off the banister to reach your mobile but then you stop. The cool touch of the wooden handle lingers. You don't remember putting your hand down or even being so close to taking the first step. The cold feels like it has been imprinted on your hand and chases up your arm, sending a shiver dancing across your skin. The metal of your phone seems almost warmer than the wood, but you don't notice how strange that is. In fact, as you turn into the sitting room and set yourself on the beige couch you've completely forgotten the icy shiver. You chuckle to yourself as you read the funny text sent to you by your friend and glance around the room to find inspiration for a witty reply. Whoever designed this room had no taste. The garish curtains, drawn almost completely over the thin pane of glass, don't match the purple cow print carpet which covers what could be very beautiful flooring. If it weren't so creaky. The memory of the floorboard sound jolts your memory and within a moment you find yourself at the bottom of the stairs again. This time your feet are completely still as you gaze into the alluring darkness, but the sound of the floor still echoes in your ears, as if hoards of people were all walking around you. Somehow the thought doesn't bother you. You feel a slight gust tickle your ankles and blame the cracks under the front door. The breeze is chillier than you'd expect and you wish you'd brought a jumper. Then again it had been a very warm October and the walk to the house had been quite mild. You can't account for the thousands of goosebumps now clamouring to appear on your skin as your hand brushes the banister again. Far from recoiling like before, you grip the handle tightly. The painted wood feels comforting, sturdy and constant. You can feel that, and hear the faintest rubbing noise as you run your hand along. But you can't see the banister. Your eyes have not moved from the top of the stairs although there is nothing to see there. The darkness is so absolute you could fall into it and never reach the bottom. It seems to invite you to come upstairs and the smell of something alluring wafts towards you from somewhere.

dark, stairs, and creepy image

Its three in the morning. Three? You had arrived at eleven. You had to have been standing there for a long time but time feels like it is trying to catch up to something and you can almost feel the turbulence as it rockets past. You take a deep breath and inhale the smell, half closing your eyes but not completely. You can't bring yourself to look away. There is another smell hidden under the sweet. It catches in the back of your nose and makes your neck crawl with a thousand unseen insects. It's sour and bitter and loud. How can a scent be loud? The word scent doesn't seem to fit the hidden smell. The term feels delicate, like a rose, whereas this is more like a rotting flower, that has been in its vase too long. Suddenly it is all you can smell, and the smell is so strong you can almost see the poison-red roses dropping petals the colour of dried blood. Rather than recoil at the smell, you are only pulled more strongly towards the upstairs. All the sounds of the street outside have disappeared and all you can hear are the creaking floorboards as you take each stair at a time. Although your steps are slow and methodical, there is a hint of excitement behind every one, as if your soul were trying to break free of the clumsy body.

city, light, and night image

Now you are almost at the top of the short flight and the tips of your fingers twitch and dance as your arm slowly rises of its own accord, stretching out to reach into the darkness ahead. None of your body is yours to control anymore, but you don't care. The shadow has control of your mind too. Another text arrives on your phone but you are too close now and it's sound barely registers. Your friend can wait. The obsidian in front of you is calling, screaming for you to touch it. You take one more step and you are at the top of the stairs. Your hand, which has remained stretched out in front of you pauses for a millisecond, and for a moment you are overtaken with panic and your eyes scramble for a light switch. But before you find one, you are drawn back into the darkness. You have never seen something so absolute. It looks like the edge of the world, as if one step into it and you'd fall forever. Your fingers brush the air in front of you and the cold is intense, so as to match the perfect blackness. Perfect. Your ears detect only silence. The smell of rotting has vanished. You can't feel the roughness of the banister beneath your other hand. Your senses have gone completely numb. Except your sight. But all you can see is that alluring and eternal darkness. Your hand slips easily into the shadow, as if it were just that, but when your body follows, you know you can never return. Not that you'd want to anyway. Just before you have fully submerged yourself in the darkness, your hearing returns and you hear the sound of keys in the lock - no doubt your friend returning. But then you are pulled forwards by an invisible force and everything vanishes. Only extraordinary peace follows, before your body is shot through with the most agonising pain which lasts for a couple seconds before you too disappear.

architecture, building, and photo image

Your friend walks through the door, tired after a long journey back from their work trip. They stretch their arms towards the ceiling before setting their bag on the floor next to yours. Their forehead crumples with confusion as they notice, but then their eyes are drawn up towards the top of the stairs, and the darkness beckons them in.