250-word horror story contest: Enter THE CELLAR


Today, I present to you the second-place submission from the 250-word horror story contest that ran last week here at Mangled Matters.  Bryn Tilly provides us with the chills…

Today’s entry confirms my uneasiness when it comes to cellar and basement stairwells.  Always count your steps, folks…


by Bryn Tilly

Alex listened intently.

Through the toilet door, from somewhere down below came the sound again. A long, low creak, and a fleshy pop that sounded like gristle snapping off from a bone.

Alex shivered. A chill had wafted under the bottom of the door. He quickly finished his pee, pulled up his pajama bottoms and flushed the toilet.

Outside in the hallway, Alex could see that the door to the cellar was ajar.  At the end of the hallway was the silhouette of his jacket hanging on the coat rack. The collar looked like the snout of a wolf, or bear, or something else, not from this world.

Alex spent much of his spare time drawing violent cartoon adventures of cosmic terror, with hideous monsters inflicting gory deaths. For the third night in a row he had heard this peculiar creaking pop sound emanating from the cellar, or thereabouts. His imagination and curiosity was getting the better of him.

A thin tendril of a whisper cut through the low creak.


Alex’s morbid desire drew him to peer around the cellar door and down into the darkness.  The light switch at the top was broken, only the one at the bottom worked.

Silence prickled.

Alex began the descent, one step at a time, slowly, carefully, his mind conjuring wildly; fear lodged, but kept in check by his fascination.

There should only be thirteen steps to the floor of the cellar, Alex remembered.

But he’d had that thought thirty steps ago.


Bryn was born and raised in Wellington, New Zealand.  He began writing creatively at an early age, mostly science fiction and fantasy.  During his early adolescence he penned dozens of cartoon strips, mostly sci-fi, horror, and violent adventure stories.  In his late teens and early twenties he began dabbling in long form prose and short film screenplays.  In 1993 he joined a local newspaper as the resident film reviewer and has been a published critic ever since, currently with his site Cult Projections.  He recently returned to writing prose, with a short story in the Booktrope published anthology THE ANIMAL, with more on the way.  In 2016 he plans to write his first novel.  He has been based in Sydney, Australia since 1997.

Vintage Halloween GIFs (6)

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