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Ladders scare me the most. It doesn't matter if they're rickety or not, I avoid them. I don't use them; I don't like the sight of them. When I watch somebody go up them, I always fear the worst.

Now, for the record, I fear the worst most of the time. But it's different with ladders, a strange feeling about them. It's a lot like the chills you get when you walk down a dark hallway. You can see barely down the hallway. The doors to all the rooms are closed. Maybe they were open, and you closed them. You closed them because it's an obsessive compulsory action. It takes away the fear of something coming out of the rooms. Maybe you're not scared of any monsters, you're just afraid of the dark. Regardless, you close the doors, and they latch shut. It helps you cope with the suspense. That strange feeling of fear you get when you slowly walk down and you start sweating. You get goose bumps and your body hair starts to rise. Maybe, you start to tear up. The feeling is obvious; you're frightened. You want it to be over. You want whatever's coming to just come. Perhaps you want assurance that there is nothing coming, but we all know that's impossible to know until you're done.

The atmosphere terrifies you and you realize you've only taken a couple steps forward. Well, now let's say you think you hear a couple voices, maybe some whispering. If you haven't already teared up, you've teared up now. But you're almost there, at the end of the hallway; your destination. You're happy. Satisfied that there was nothing there after all. So you go into the room where whatever you needed was, and it's not where it usually is. Now, you've got to spend a bit more time in this dark room. The one where the voices came from, and the one where the gentle breeze feels like fingers brushing your shoulders; which is funny. The windows are closed and the fans are off.

It's that same feeling watching someone go up. The suspense kills me. What if they fall halfway up? What if they fall and crack their skull? Worse, what if they fall hard onto the pole and impale themselves, their lives, from birth, to this exact moment, flash before their eyes? Then, they'll start crying for mom, for dad, for anyone. After that, they die. Alone. It's these thoughts that are similar to when you have your child for the first time and you want to baby proof your house. You start playing some sick scenarios in your head.

What if they get into the antifreeze? The Pine-Sol? The image of your child; frothing at the mouth, crying because of some unknown pain that they were utterly helpless against... flashes. Or maybe; What if he gets into the power tools? What if he plays in the drawers and finds the knives- that little child, innocent and curious, pulls out a drawer a little too hard and the knife falls on top of him. That image flashes in your mind. Maybe it doesn't kill him. Maybe he finds a way to climb out of his crib and he falls on his head. He suffers permanent brain damage and can't speak. You have to help him walk. At age twenty-five. Kid can't even hold a damn fork. They never experienced life because of you and your irresponsibility, and you will never get to experience hearing their first word. Their first Christmas. Seeing them ride their bike. Sending them off to their first day of school. Their first decade of life celebrated. Their graduation, their successful life, their marriage, kids of their own.

Gone. It's like that in a way. Pointless worrying maybe, but; maybe not. He's at the top of the ladder now, trying to get what he needed. The ladder starts to shake, bouncing a little. He doesn't notice, but you do. It could fall at any minute. He could fall and die. He could fall, break his spine, and split the spine in two, sending bones into vital organs, puncturing them. Maybe he could fall flat on his front, and collapse his ribs. You can see them now, his floating ribs protruding off his back while the others have collapsed and punctured his heart. He's convulsing and bleeding out now. Perchance, he falls on his head and his skull shatters. He dies quickly because the brain was destroyed. Like the baby, maybe he doesn't die. Maybe his legs bend the wrong way on impact, or his spine breaks. Either way, he's paralyzed. Dead, or paralyzed.

Maybe you're climbing a ladder to the attic and can't see up above. What's waiting for you up there? The same thing as down the hall? I climb up the ladder and those same voices start calling to me, and I feel the chills down my spine, and the wind that feels like fingers touch my shoulders. That's funny, because the doors and windows are closed, and the fans are off. That's when I look up.

I don't need to describe what I see. Maybe it's just a flash of light, something I see out of the corner of my eye. Maybe it's a face, with glowing white eyes and sharp teeth. Maybe it's your wife that committed suicide up there, when you worked late nights and were always away. Maybe it's a son, who was just curious and pulled the door down, when the attic ladder fell down and crushed his head. Maybe it's your brother, who huffed some paint and suffocated. Maybe it's your mother who got beaten a bit too hard. Maybe it's your father who got a bit of arsenic in his coffee. Or maybe it's you, seeing your own ghost when you scream and fall to the ground, a premonition of what's to come when you slip and land in the wrong place. It doesn't matter what you saw, or what you even imagined you saw. Perhaps it's just your mind. The theories are plentiful, but only so many can race through your mind in the two seconds it takes for you to hit the ground. 

Perhaps you didn't fall off the ladder. You're still up there in all suspense, to grab whatever you needed. You just want to get off the ladder, and back downstairs. Perhaps you found what you were looking for in the room. You're done there, and you want to get out as soon as possible. So you get out, and go back to the hallway. You turn the corner of the dark hall, and stare down where you came from. You have realized that now, all the doors are wide open.

That's when you look down the ladder. Don't get me started on going down.

Written by Scorch933
Content is available under CC BY-SA

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