The rustle of the door opening downstairs signals its arrival. With that soft noise, the fog rolls slowly up the staircase, cold and heavy and noxious. Engulfing everything, it soon obscures the bottom of the stairs from view.
But from the base of the staircase comes a piercing shriek. Rising like a siren’s wail, it pulses out in all directions, causing the glass to vibrate in the frame. Louder and softer, it ebbs and wanes with an unpredictable pattern. For a moment it stops–and then, with the penetrating sharp staccato shriek of some small animal being devoured alive, in never-ceasing torment, it returns.
Doors slam and voices ring out, heavy feet pound up the stairs, down in the shrouded grey mist. The voices sound stressed, tense, often angry. You can never quite make out what they are saying, it sounds vaguely oriental (perhaps), but you can’t be sure because the siren cry often drowns out all other sounds. Perhaps they only sound angry because they must yell to be heard.
Like the narrator in a Poe story, I cover my ears, praying that some day soon it will end. But night after night, it continues. And like a Poe character, I fear that it just may be driving me mad.
How much worse for those poor, lost souls at the base of the stairs, so much nearer to the horror, the dreadful baleful inevitability that this evil will return again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next? How can they live with the sheer, inescapable Cthulhuian dread of what awaits them, and me, tomorrow at the same time?
I reach for the remote, increasing the volume, trying to block out the strange and awful cries. But it never does any good. Tomorrow, inevitably, my downstairs neighbors will again return.
It must be an Alien-Demon Spawn, I tell my wife. Nothing human could possibly make cries like that, surely.