The Staircase This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I am in my crib. Twilight lights my room as a warm summer breeze plays with the venetian blinds. Outside crickets sing to the stars, but a hostage mosquito buzzes in my ear. I wave my tiny arms and legs for a few seconds and then surrender to the disturbance, allowing the noise to drift into my subconscious. Heat settles to a heavy New England humidity after a sweltering day, and there are no covers on my bed because the air is already a suffocating blanket. Time is intangible; it seems hours since I was put to bed and yet every minute drips out of the sticky heat. The ticking of the clock makes me restless and I toss from side to side in my bed. In annoyance I close my eyes, willing the sleep that will not come.

It's dark under my eyelids and I let my eyeballs roll a little, causing sparkles and stars to burst into the darkness. An image forms. It is the staircase. Why do I think of it? The picture solidifies, and though I try to brush it aside, it persists in my thoughts. This is the staircase which lies just outside my closed door. My eyes distort it, warp it, lengthening and narrowing the apparatus. Like a snake, it expands, closer and closer to the entrance of my room. Side posts cramp as claustrophobic as my crib walls; the polished wood dries to a dull green hue. In contrast, the white walls grow bleak and the window disappears to the first floor. Green sweeps over my mind, drowning the image, but my thoughts remain strong. Flashes of color and the staircase seem to warn me; my fear intensifies. The snake slithers towards my room.

I squeeze my eyes closer together in hopes of shattering my fear. The thump-thumping drums in my ears. Like footsteps on the stairs, the noise grows stronger, approaching the door. My throat swells and my heart beats to the steady steps. I curl into a ball, yearning for blankets to cover me up. The heat is overwhelming but I stay in my convoluted, perspiring shape. Thump, thump, the footsteps near. The staircase leads directly to my door: a path for some unknown, someone I will never meet, a childhood devil. My body shakes from chills, but I am feverish with fear. I force open my eyes to guard the door. I stare straight ahead, convinced of facing an impending danger. The door becomes blurry.... The next thing I know, the sun is pouring through the venetian blinds; I have survived the terrifying nightmare which climbs our staircase. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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