Author's note: This story was written as part of the Paranormal Activity short story contest.

I take the stairs two by two coming home from granny’s funeral. A witch they’d called her, the superstitious fools, so relieved at her passing they’d never thought to investigate its odd suddenness. Not that they would have found anything. The work, done in a few moments with a thick pillow as she slept, her gnarled hands grasping at my wrists, ancient lungs struggling to capture the barest breath, was hardly an effort and left no evidence of foul play.

I reach the landing intent upon my prize; the treasure she kept locked in her room, the old metal key that in life never left the cord about her neck now held in my hand. No fool myself, I had waited until sure I was overlooked for mischief before attempting to secure the wealth now rightfully, if treacherously, mine. 

I pause, wary. The door to granny’s room, the door I am sure I’d closed before leaving for the churchyard, stands cracked open. Thieves, then, aware of the rumors of her great fortune and seeking my inheritance as their own. They’ll have no chance without the key, and I’ll not be handing that over. I draw the small pistol from my pocket and edge, silently, down the hall.

Bursting through the door ready to do violence, I stop, suddenly unsure. A figure sits in granny’s old rocker, its back to me. But from where I stand I can see a twisting hand clutching the chair arm, hear labored breathing crackling from its chest. A laugh, dry as snapping twigs or rattling bones, issues from a mouth of worn leather. The chair slowly begins to turn.

Abruptly, I awake sprawled in my bed, tangled amidst the sheets. The memory of the nightmare that must have woken me has already faded from my brain. Granny calls from the next room, the sound of her voice causing an unbidden wave of disgust to issue from deep within my chest. Reflexively, my hands tighten upon my pillow and, reaching a decision I have long been considering, I rise from the bed. My gaze fixed upon the door, a smile threatens to tug at the corners of my lips, the thought of wealth soon to be mine playing across the surface of my mind. Yet still, as I creep from the room, I am plagued by the most nagging feeling that I have done this before.


Written by Shadowswimmer77
Content is available under CC BY-SA

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