Award-winning horror author and ghost expert Lisa Morton presents Spine Tinglers, a podcast featuring celebrity readers bringing some of Lisa’s most terrifying tales to life! Welcome to the first episode.
If there’s ever a room you don’t want to go to, it’s “The Basement.” A new short story by Lisa Morton and read by Richard Grove. Actor Richard Grove is best known to audiences as Duke Henry the Red from Army of Darkness, but can be seen in everything from Babylon 5 to Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
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Alex stood on the landing, looking down at the dimly-lit staircase. He hated having to go down into the basement. Of course no one who worked at JT’s Liquor wanted to go down there; the space was inexplicably huge, with side-rooms and alcoves that were unlit. Except for a few of the better bottles of wine that JT kept down here, the basement had been unused for decades. It was impossible now to guess what it had once been used for. Alex’s co-worker Derren liked to joke that it had obviously been designed to hold satanic rituals in. Even just going down there was an unhappy adventure. The stairs were ancient, rotting timber that creaked and felt suspiciously loose in places; they were narrow and dimly-lit, with a hard, dirty concrete floor waiting at the bottom. JT kept saying he’d look into replacing the old wood, but in the meantime Alex always held his breath whenever he got sent down to retrieve a rare bottle of cabernet for a wealthy customer. It was January, and even in Los Angeles that meant it was cold and damp. Alex felt the temperature drop as he made his way down the stairs; he was shivering by the time he reached the bottom. It was also completely dark. Anxious and chilled, his fingers crawled the cracking wall until he found the light-switch. The single bulb overhead went on, illuminating the waist-high wine rack in the center of the huge room. He tried to focus on the task of finding the specific bottle, not looking around at the maze of cobwebbed rooms. Shapes loomed just inside doors; sounds echoed eerily through the space. Some of the sounds came from below. Kneeling before the rack, Alex pulled out bottles, checking labels before sliding them back into their spots. He kept meaning to come down here and organize the bottles, but it was one more task that never got done because it involved the basement. Alex suddenly trembled, realizing it felt like the temperature had just dropped even more. He could see his breath now in the lone lamp. The atmosphere in the room felt heavy, as if he was at the bottom of the sea. He tried to push aside his growing unease. Where was that bottle? He made the mistake then of glancing up, and saw something that froze his heart: the air thirty feet away was moving, a dim shape that rose as Alex did. He forgot the bottle as he watched something take form in the unlit room across from him. It moved when he did, and he found himself drawn towards it. Even as his mind screamed at him to flee, his feet pulled him toward the amorphous, glowing shape. When he was two feet from it, gripped by both terror and curiosity, he raised an arm to reach out – and his fingers encountered something solid, flat, glassy… A mirror. The ghostly shape was in the mirror. Which could only mean – Alex spun and saw a body splayed out on the filthy floor at the bottom of the steps. His own dead eyes stared up at him, and he realized that he hadn’t survived this trip down those stairs that JT really should have replaced. His scream was silent as he realized where he’d be spending eternity.