This is for the Dickensblog Halloweenfic Challenge. I chose a passage from Great Expectations.
I read with my watch upon the table, purposing to close my book at eleven o'clock. As I shut it, Saint Paul's, and all the many church-clocks in the City—some leading, some accompanying, some following—struck that hour. The sound was curiously flawed by the wind; and I was listening, and thinking how the wind assailed and tore it, when I heard a footstep on the stair.
What nervous folly made me start, and awfully connect it with the footstep of my dead sister, matters not. It was past in a moment, and I listened again, and heard the footstep stumble in coming on. Remembering then, that the staircase-lights were blown out, I took up my reading-lamp and went out to the stair-head. Whoever was below had stopped on seeing my lamp, for all was quiet.
"There is some one down there, is there not?" I called out, looking down.
"Yes," said a voice from the darkness beneath.
I heard a dragging on the floor as the voice and its body struggled towards me. They seemed to be carrying extra weight that caused them to move with heavy feet.
“What is your purpose here?” I called out as the visitor paused on the stairs. No answer.
“Hello?” Nothing. I waited one, two, three minutes. The silence became unbearably loud, and I began to step forward, determined to shed light on my visitor as my insides began to fill with dread.
The dragging began again. I stepped forward.
“Wait.” The voice had become harsh, as if it lacked years and years of water. But there was something I could distinguish in it, something familiar that made me tilt my head and close my eyes. I wanted to turn back, to flee the body climbing up the staircase. The dragging began again, and I waited, my heart giving my fear away completely.
I lifted the light up higher and saw the bottom of a tattered dress, white and muddy and filled with tears and holes where the beauty of the cloth had leaked out. The pattern made my stomach lurch and my throat tighten. I backed away as the figure reached the top of the stairs, and forced myself to shine the light upon the shape. Before vanishing, the dark and grey face, as tattered as the dress that its body was dragging, opened its white lips to reveal an endless mouth and muttered “Orlick.”