The evening’s gloom curled up against the window like a sly black cat. I had lit several candles to drive back the shadows but nighttime closed in and my once bright bedroom felt eerie and dim. I settled into my chair by the fire, feeling more and more like I was entombed in some lonely crypt.
A ticking mantle clock marched incessant seconds into the dreary night. No other sound disturbed the room, save for my beating heart, which seemed to pound and quake inside me.
The fire in the grate threw its shifting light making devilish shapes climb the walls. I tightened close my worn-out sweater, trying to ignore the little prickling chill advancing up my spine.
I sat until the embers waned and sleep began to dull my wary nerves.
But, wait! What was that? A clinking sound, like silver coins dropped on the floor. Then a muffled, heavy clang…jangle…clang…jangle…
The clock declared midnight with strident chimes as the fire flared and spit and grew its flames.
I slowly turned my head. Horror of horrors! Metal chains floated mid-air, holding bound the frame of some invisible thing! I shrank back into the cushions and looked frantically about for some means of escape.
The bedroom door seemed miles away. I had to try! I had to escape this room, this fiend! I stood up and made to dash across the old oak floor.
The haunt was now before me, an appalling mass of links that hovered and swayed in a menacing dance. They were upon me in an instant! I wrestled madly like a beast, but tangled more into their snare.
I let out a little cry, a strangled sob. I ceased my struggle and the room returned to grim and stifling quiet. My will, my very heart and soul had been taken prisoner by ghastly iron shackles! They rested on my shoulders, as if they had found their home…
And then I knew, the ghost was me.