(TRANSCRIPT) “DON’T TAKE THE STAIRS” by Scott Donnelly #MicroTerrors

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Welcome to Micro Terrors: Scary Stories for Kids, where it’s always the spooky season – full of chills, thrills, and spine-tingling spooks! Micro Terrors are family-friendly frights for those ages 8 and up. And while our stories are for younger ears, we are still talking about things that go bump in the night, and some children may not be able to handle what others can. Parental consent is recommended. Now… for tonight’s MICRO TERROR!!!!

It was about time.
After days of complaining about the strange noises in the woods behind our house, I was glad that my dad finally decided to check it out. I don’t know why he waited so long, but that’s neither here nor there anymore. He was finally going to do something about it and he let me tag along with him; since the weird noises always happened at night, he didn’t think there was an actual threat during the day. Otherwise, I couldn’t see him ever wanting to take me with him.
I’d heard him tell my mom that the noises sounded like screams or loud chanting, like something you’d hear at a sporting event. That gave him the impression that maybe a group of local teenagers had found a cozy little nook in the woods in which to party or gather together. He also told her that on one occasion — the first night of the noises — he even saw some sort of red light creeping through the thick of the trees.
I’d never actually been in these woods before. Not because I didn’t want to — trust me, the temptation was always there — but because my parents said they weren’t safe. Truth was (and now I was seeing it first hand) that the woods were very thick; the trees were large, thorns were wrapped around hanging vines and sprouting off from bushes. My dad made me wear jeans and thank God he did, otherwise my legs would have suffered a flurry of cuts and scrapes.
I followed my dad closely, walking the exact same path as he did so as to not injure myself on the infinite dangers present. Uneven ground, jagged rocks, thorns and pricker bushes, snakes and poisonous insects — now I wasn’t so sure the woods were any safer during the day than they were at night.
“Turn around,” I heard my dad say from only a few feet ahead of me.
“Huh?” I questioned, stopping where I was.
My dad stopped as well and faced me. “What?” he asked.
“You told me to turn around.”
My dad looked at me, confused, and shook his head. “No I didn’t.”
“What did you say then?”
He shook his head again. “I didn’t say anything.”
“Oh…” I mumbled. I could have sworn I heard him say it.
He turned back around and kept walking, so I kept following him. We walked another three or four minutes before I asked, “How far in do you think they were?”
My dad stopped and put his hands on his hips, scanning the woods before him. He sighed. “I don’t know. Couldn’t have been too far. From where that red light was flashing from, it seemed kind of shallow.” He looked from side to side before something caught his attention. He pointed through a thicket of overgrowth. “There!” he said with confidence.
He started to veer ‘off-trail’, not that there was really a trail to begin with; it was more of an avenue of flattened vegetation, maybe from the teen partiers themselves.
I hurried up behind him as he cut through the trees. “Turn around now, Bradley,” he said as I got closer to him.
“What?” I asked, now knowing I heard him. He even used my name.
He looked over his shoulder at me as he continued. “What’s wrong?”
I grabbed him by the shirt and stopped him. “You said it again. You said to turn around.”
My dad just looked at me, his eyes studying mine. Then he smiled. “Are you playing with me?” he asked. “Is this supposed to be some kind of April fools joke?”
“April fools?” I snapped back. Come to think of it, it was April fools day. I smiled back. “Okay, you got me,” I said.
“Got you with what?” he genuinely seemed confused. I could do nothing but gawk at him. What was his game here? To confuse me, make me think I was hearing voices, and then blame it on me? What kind of April fools prank was this?
“I didn’t say anything, Bradley,” he said, “I promise. Why would I tell you to turn around when I asked you to come out here with me?”
I didn’t know what to say. I shrugged and he shrugged back, sort of mockingly.
“There’s a clearing up here,” he said, pointing in the direction he decided to take us. “That’s probably ground zero for Party Town, USA. Let’s check it out. Together.”
I nodded and decided that the awkward back and forth accusations about pranking one another was better left in the dust. We kept walking through the brush and between the trees until I heard him laugh.
“I knew it!” he exclaimed as if he won the lottery. “Party Town, USA!”
“Where?” I tried looking past him, but couldn’t really see anything yet. “Don’t take the stairs,” he added, a little less enthusiastic and more grim.
“What stairs?” I asked, still not able to see past him.
My dad looked at me over his shoulder again. “Huh? What do you mean, what stairs?”
“Didn’t you just say not to take the stairs?” I aggressively asked, becoming more and more annoyed as each baffling minute passed.
He rolled his eyes and kept marching ahead. I let out an annoyed grunt. “Maybe I will turn around,” I said. “This is so annoy—”
I stopped myself as we crossed through the treeline and into the natural clearing my dad led us to. We stopped, both of our jaws dropping in shock at what we saw.
There was a stairway built in the middle of the clearing, leading to nowhere and surrounded by stones placed about a foot apart from each other. Remnants of a large bonfire sat off to one side of it.
“Don’t take the stairs,” my dad said. I looked up at him. “Why would you know there were stairs here?” he added.
“What? I didn’t. You did,” I said. “You told me not to take the stairs.”
“No I didn’t,” he sternly responded. “You knew this was out here? Have you been out here?”
“No, of course not!” I shouted back.
My dad started to walk toward the stairs and I was quick to reach out and grab him by the shirt. “Don’t,” I said. “This whole place is weirding me out, Dad.”
He pulled away from my grip and continued anyway. “Maybe it’s some kind of art,” he said, trying to ward off his nervous confusion by labeling the odd scene with logic.
The closer he got to the stairs, the more anxious I felt. I jogged after him but stopped halfway, just as he reached the base of the odd structure. From where I was, I could see the stairs were mostly covered by moss, but the parts that were visible looked like old, warped wood. There were no railings, or anything at the top of them; no platform, nothing. They literally led to nowhere. As eerie as it was, being a work of art did seem like a logical explanation.
My dad stepped onto the first moss-covered plank. I could hear it creak beneath his weight.
“Dad, don’t. It might break.”
“It’s fine,” he tried to assure me by pressing his weight down on the first step. The wood continued to creak and crook under his boots.
“If it’s someone’s art, we don’t want to ruin it, right?” I pleaded, trying to get him to not go any further.
“I don’t think it’s art,” he said. “See how much moss is covering this thing? It’s been here for a while. A long while.”
“Then it’s weak. Please, Dad, I don’t want you to get hurt.”
“I won’t,” he said, looking up the stairs. I would have assumed all he could see was the forest canopy and blue sky above us, but the way he stared and tilted his head made me feel like he saw something else.
“What is it?” I asked.
“Shhh,” he hushed and then took another step up.
I scoffed loudly. “Dad, come on!”
He didn’t listen to me. He just kept ascending the stairs one creaky step at a time. I looked to the top where there was nothing. What was his endgame when he got there? He would just have to turn right back around and come down. “Dad! Don’t fall from up there!”
He didn’t respond. He just kept going up. As he neared the top step, I heard his voice again — but from behind me.
“I should have listened,” he said. I gasped and spun around. There was no one there, but his voice continued in the air. “So please listen to me. Don’t take the stairs…” his voice sounded like an echo, fading away as red light flashed behind me. I quickly turned around and looked at the stairs.
My dad was gone.
“Dad!?” I exclaimed, running to the base of the stairs. I looked up and saw nothing but the canopy and blue sky. “Dad!” I shouted again. Still with no response, I ran around to the other side of the stairs. It was just a vertical, flat, wooden surface that stretched to the top. I looked around at the rocks that surrounded the abnormal structure and then to the used bonfire pit.
“What is this?” I screamed. “What is this place!?” I was suddenly filled with the sensation that I shouldn’t be here. Dread crept through my body like the lit fuse of dynamite and crescendoed into an explosion of full body chills.
I heard my dad again, telling me to run.
I heard other voices telling me to run.
So I ran. I ran through the woods, blasting through the thorn-riddled wilderness, cutting my arms and the skin on my face. The voices were coming from everywhere, as if the woods were alive with the ethos of a hundred distressed clairvoyants. Their screaming gibberish eventually meshed into a cohesive union, all urging the same deterrent: “Don’t. Take. The. Stairs.”

Thank you for listening to Micro Terrors!!! Join us each Saturday for another scary story! For more fun, visit our website at MicroTerrors.com where we also have spooky games you can print out and play — like wicked word searches, mysterious mazes, and more! MicroTerrors.com is also where you can find us on your favorite social media and even send in your own scary story for us to tell! Plus, you’ll learn more about our author, Scott Donnelly, who has other horrors for both young and old! I hope you’ll join me again soon for Micro Terrors: Scary Stories for Kids!

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