The top floor corridor was foreboding and forever in darkness since my father had died. With my bare toes pressed against the bottom of the first wooden step of the staircase, I looked upwards into the blackness. Of course, I couldn’t see anything, but I could hear them.
They moved with shuffling, dragging footsteps and whispered so you could only catch one or two words. Sometimes one of them would wail or moan in a low undertone. My mother and the servants would blame it on the wind or an animal.
I knew differently.
A chill crept around my bare ankles and began to make it’s up, under my white nightdress. I whacked the dress down, stepping backwards then I collected the edges in my hands, wrapping them around me for protection.
‘Stay away!’ I hissed.
A low chuckle came from the darkness in the middle of the stairs and a man’s voice whispered, ‘stay.’
Scrunching up my face, I tried to make his shadowy form out. I wasn’t scared of them and as long as I kept my distance they couldn’t do no harm. I made out the shape of two long legs on the step and a hand just above the banister.
‘Who are you?’ I asked.
He just laughed and began making his way downstairs. A panic and fleeing notion came over me. He didn’t feel like the others, he was stronger… I backed away and I did think about running, but I was determined to stand my ground.
Father had had control over them and I did too, even though I wasn’t very good at it. I shut my eyes and calmed myself. Rising my left arm, I put my fingers to my neck and clutched the silver cross there. I emptied my mind then imagined light washing over me.
I heard heavy boots hitting the stairs and a soft growling. I didn’t open my eyes nor move. Icy cold fingers brushed past me, but I ignored it. I pictured a bright ball of white light coming out and hovering above me.
‘Not scared?’ the shadow man asked.
I opened my eyes, feeling the power of the light swelling within me. I could see him more clearly now. He was a tall man, dressed all in black, his face was narrow with bright red eyes and a slashed mouth which was grinning.
‘Daemon,’ I uttered.
He let out a rippling laugh which echoed through the still house. He came to the bottom of the stairs and reached out for me. His arms stretched longer then they should have and once again I felt his touch. His icy grip bit into my other arm and he breathed harshly into my ear.
‘Mine. Little girl,’ he uttered.
‘No! Daemon!’ I yelled and pushed against him.
Blinding brightness shot out from me, throwing us both back. I hit the wall hard then scrambled upwards. A wild howl filled my ears and I saw the top floor corridor bursting with scattered light. Many shadows were fleeing before it and wails echoed in the distance.
I watched the light dancing on the ceiling and walls, dazed by the patterns. It was like sunlight through a prism. The light began to fade and so did their cries. Looking down at my hands, I wondered if I had really done that. The sound of running footsteps broke me out of my thoughts. The rest of my light faded but they didn’t gather back, instead the corridor took on a peaceful darkness.
‘What happened?’ my mother gushed.
I turned and saw her in the dim lamp light. She had her maid and mine behind her.
‘I don’t know,’ I answered sulkily.
‘Where you sleep walking again?’ My mother pressed.
I faked a pause as if thinking then nodding went over and pressed myself into her nightdress. I made sobbing sounds.
My mother patted my head, whispering calming things and led me off to my bedroom. I glanced back as we moved off. I couldn’t sense them up there but I knew they would gather again soon.
I looked down at my hands, in wonder. Did I really now have the power to defeat them…?
(Inspired from; https://scvincent.com/2017/09/14/thursday-photo-prompt-scattered-writephoto/ with thanks).