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Spiral Staircase

A Melanie Black Short Story

· Short Stories by Melanie Black

The floorboards groaned as her softly socked feet pranced over the tops of them. She was there to investigate a story she knew too much about already.. She should have known she couldn’t just cut and run- someone would have to pay the price for their transgressions. With two murders on her permanent record, it seemed she’d be the one to reap Satan’s rewards, but after hearing of the suicide she felt a moment of calm. Maybe she wasn’t the one to blame. Maybe she would escape her final fiery destination, she could have only assumed that fate had in store. Closing her eyes, she tried to steady the spinning. The sticks she once considered muscular instinctively started moving from underneath her, gravitating towards an old, rotting white framed door. There was caution tape around the trim, but that meant nothing since there was caution tape on just about everything in the house. They still considered it a crime scene, she reminded herself; though there was no separate killer from the victim in the home- where it all happened- it held all the secrets that might lead police and family to the “why”. 


She approached the door and reached for the scraped brass knob. It didn’t turn. She tried the other direction… no dice. Perhaps the police locked it? She pulled her arm back, subconsciously still holding the knob. A loud screech turned her back on her laurels. The door had popped open from the gentle tug. A busted knob, after all. She felt a brief relief; it was a good sign that the police weren’t prohibiting her access… it means that suspect nothing. Sigh. Let it go. Breathe. Remember, you aren’t that person anymore- you made a choice, she told herself. Her internal pep talk came to an abrupt halt when she saw the blood drips down the white cracked stair treads. The closet was hiding an old antique spiral staircase-probably original to the house- where it led, she did not know. One might think she should since she did live there. Her eyes traveled up the winding railing to find the source of the violent red droplets. High above her head hung looped barbed wire. An image of the barbs sinking into the body’s neck creating a slow blood letting… Jesus Christ this must have been a long painful way to die since the loop wasn’t small enough to choke them. Or perhaps it was more instantaneous-she didn’t know. She wasn’t a scientist, or even a real investigator. She was just some girl who’d been renting a room; a girl seeking vengeance- one that spiraled out of control. Spiraled out of control on a spiral staircase. A smile lit across her face… look at her making jokes about it all already.