Estimated reading time — 12 minutes
“It’s called the stairs game.”
“The stairs game?”
“That’s the only thing we were able to get her to say, the parents will be here in about an hour they caught a red-eye back from Houston. Try to get something else out of her because we have to hold her until they get here anyway.”
“What do you think I’m going to be able to extract if you couldn’t get anything?”
“Well you’re younger, have less receding hair, and those pants aren’t tighter by regulation are they David?”
“Fuck you man.”
He actually smiled a little, despite being a dick I think he genuinely thought I might be better equipped aesthetically to get more information.
“Please try, you saw the coroner’s report. We can’t just tell the girl’s parents she played some stupid game.”
“Good, I’ll get an ETA on the parents and check back in later.”
She still wasn’t looking at me directly, it’s like something would disappear or she would lose track of something were she to make eye contact.
“You’re saying a game killed your friend?”
She didn’t respond.
“Look, we know that you are in no way responsible for Sara’s death. That’s not what this is about, and I know discussing what happened to her with a complete stranger is not ideal. But if you know Sara you know Sara’s parents; they deserve to know what really happened to their daughter.”
“And I already said what happened.”
“Your official statement is too vague to be considered as a satisfactory explanation.”
“So you’re saying that I need to elaborate or there will be… complications?”
“Kelly, the only thing you told us was that she played the stairs game.”
“And that’s all I can tell you.”
“Kelly be reasonable…”
I didn’t say anything.
“Look I’m sorry. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s that I can’t. I could be..”
“You could be what Kelly?”
He knocked on the glass and pointed to his watch, clearly I didn’t have much time left until the parents arrived.
“Kelly, we need to find a way to talk to each other. I want to be completely honest with you, Sara’s parents are about 15 minutes out. Even though we don’t consider you a suspect at all, we have to rationalize based on the limited evidence we’ve gathered. If you can’t shed more light on what happened tonight, it’s possible Sara’s parents could file charges that would indicate you as being an accessory in Sara’s death.”
“Give me your phone.”
“I’m sorry what?”
“I can…show you a video that kind of explains.”
“You’re telling me you can’t directly tell me what’s going on, but you can show me something on YouTube?”
“Do you want answers or not?”
Reluctantly, as I’d bought it literally the day before, I pulled the iPhone out of my pocket and handed it to her.
“Thanks. What’s the password for wifi here?”
“I didn’t choose it.”
This was the first time her face warmed into an expression that matched her age; but only for as long as it took her to type with her thumbs.
“Before I show you this..”
“You have to realize I didn’t want any part in this.”
“Part in what exactly?”
“Yeah, that sounds bad.”
“Try to explain it?”
I tried to keep my eye contact friendly, but I was starting to think that it was possible that Kelly played a greater role in Sara’s death.
“It’s like being in a group project.”
I was noticeably confused by this statement.
“As an adult?”
“Jesus, no. Like in school. I never tried to stand out in school, it was never my thing. I was much more confident doing the work and having my name on it while someone else presented it to the class.”
“I think I get that.”
“Alright. But this is the bad version, I think it only really happens to you once academically. You go out of your way to make sure any sort of non-speaking portion of the project is well done. Historically asking someone else to do it allows your contribution to be seen and no heard.”
“That sounds pretty standard.”
“Yeah but there’s the one time it doesn’t work out. The person you’ve elected to explain your work gets it wrong. They’re indifferent because their only role is to briefly explain the work of someone else, someone smarter. So they goof off, and try to amuse your classmates instead of your teacher. At first, it’s not the worst thing really; quite in fact you almost feel like you’re getting to experience a popular glow by proxy. Like this dude who will grow up, just to grow up is somehow making you seem more appealing.”
“What does this have to do with…”
“HI I’M JASMINE JOLLY KILL AND YOU’RE WATCHING THE SCARRRRRRRRRRRRRY STORY COUNTDOWN ON MY CHANNEL…”
She paused the video.
“What I’m getting at is that you never asked to for that glow, or the subsequent disapproving glances from the teacher who liked you because you weren’t interested in that glow until he started talking. It’s the feeling of being tarnished personified.”
We just sort of waited in silence for a few seconds, she was checking to make sure the clip was almost fully loaded.
“Sara was reckless. It wasn’t enough to be thin or happy or smart; she had to be that girl who wasn’t afraid. I don’t mean ‘I’m going to ride a motorcycle reckless’, on her 21st birthday she drove with a blindfold on for nearly a mile.”
“That’s fucking stup…”
I did not mean to let that slip out, but it got a laugh out of Kelly; the more I spoke to her the more concerned I became for her.
“No you’re right it is fucking stupid but that was Sara’s temperament.”
“I’m guessing you were the one who told her when to accelerate and stop?”
“All my life unfortunately. Some friend right?”
From a little ways away I heard the door to the main office slam. The parents would be briefed by the officer and asked to identify the body in the morgue. So this bought me about another 15 minutes; I would have to be the one to accelerate now.
“The stairs game.”
She shut her eyes and held them shut for nearly a minute.
“I’m really sorry but you did ask, I’m already losing 1 with you.”
“I don’t under…”
She hit play.
“Hey ghouls, gals, and geeks! It’s your girl Jasmine Jolly Killer here counting down what I think are some of the scariest creepypasta or internet urban legends I’ve found! Now for those of you who don’t know what creepypasta is it started out as online horror stories which were then “copied and pasted” into e-mails sent back and forth all across the world wide web. Some of the more notable characters from this collection of cyber horror are Slender Man, The Rake, and a lovable kids show called Candle Cove.”
She started scratching the black paint of her nails as I held my phone in my hand.
“Now I wanted to dig a little deeper for you guys because hey you’re my peeps and I need to hook you up with some hardcore horror stories or my reputation will be caput, haha. Now the first story I found is a little boring but bare with me because I still think it’s pretty damn spooky. Now a lot of creepypastas, and worthwhile stories in general, usually are built upon an object or location that when sought after by a protagonist, who whether noble or not, usually experiences something macabre as a result. My absolute new favorite is called…”
Kelly grabbed the phone out of my hand.
“Sorry this girl talks FOREVER, I’m skipping to the…here.”
With the phone back in my hand I pressed play once more.
“I mean can you believe she would eat her boyfriend’s fingers without knowing?! Haha, I feel like I’ve been there. Do you feel me YouTube? Do you feel me? Alright, possibly what I found to be the most psychologically disturbing story that makes elevators way more appealing. The stairs game, as it’s called, is not really a “game” it’s more of a dare? Whatever. Essentially you need to be alone in your house, or I guess alone anywhere really as long as there’s some sort of staircase. It can’t be something with 4 or 7 steps it needs to be 11 steps or more or this won’t work. Now you need to place a candle on the very top step and the very bottom step, nothing specific so we’re talking some shit from Bath and Body or those weird Mexican divinity candles with like a picture of Mary on them. They have to be lit within the same minute, and the bottom one must be lit first. Now…”
My ringtone started playing, that annoying little Marimba standard tone. I still hadn’t figured this thing out fully.
“Will you excuse me for a minute?”
Kelly just sort of looked through me.
“Yeah I’ve got time.”
I stepped into the small hallway with the bench and water cooler.
“Babe, you can’t call me at work like this I’ve told you.”
“I’m…I’m sorry I know it’s just you weren’t here at 3:00 today and I got worried.”
“John we can’t keep doing this. It was a year ago and we weren’t even together.”
“No it’s..not that. Well it’s not totally that at least; look I’m sorry. I’m going to Whole Foods now is there anything you want to eat later?”
“Aside from you?”
He laughed on the other end.
“Make that pasta thing from the other day. That was really good, and if two pieces of cheesecake magically appear in your cart know that I will eat them both.”
“You’re ridiculous, but so am I for calling. I love you and I like you.”
“I love you and I like you too. Also I know you like all that horror stuff have you watched the YouTuber JasmineJollyKiller before?”
“Are you kidding me she’s like the queen of YouTube horror. I live for her weekly updates. She just reviewed “It Follows” a couple hours ago. But I don’t want to keep you, sorry for calling again I just…feel better when I hear your voice sometimes.”
“It’s mutual. Later babe.”
I walked back into the room and Kelly had apparently gotten up to get water without me noticing.
For some reason she was using a coffee stirrer in her water.
She looked up at me with sort of drunk Zooey Deschanel eyes.
“Much to the disappointment of my father, yes.”
“How long have you and…”
“John. We actually just got back together recently we had some…”
She was listening more intently to me than I was to her 10 minutes ago.
“Something like that.”
“You need to finish.”
I rolled my eyes.
“Of course I thought you meant…”
Her nails were all black now. The chipped paint from before the call somehow revived itself, strange. I tilted my phone and pressed play.
“Now, at the top of the stairs you need to write down the number of stairs you have but backwards. So like, if there were 14, you would write 41. Fold the sheet of paper twice and light one end with the top step candle then walk down counting the number of steps out loud. Blow out the piece of paper and the side that’s not burnt light with the bottom step candle. Have something you can put the burning paper in because it has to burn completely for this to work. Once you’re paper is ashes return to the top stair.”
Kelly was looking directly at the back of my phone like she was burning a hole into it.
“Once again, make sure you’re alone. I would never try this and obviously it’s not something real; but hey there are people out there that go out of their way to make it seem real. No matter what these are just stories guys, the steps are specific because they want it to seem like something important. It’s not real.”
“Why would someone go to that much trouble if it’s not real? What’s the purpose?”
“I guess..I guess people just want something more exciting out of life? Maybe they feel like their idea could evolve to the point where it was almost real.”
“What’s almost real, exactly?”
I didn’t even realize I had paused it again.
“Whatever, you’re almost done now.”
I pressed play one more time.
“I’ve only found one ‘interaction’, take this as more than likely fictional, in which a second person was present and the game got creepier. Now there are also about 100 more instances where having another person makes no difference, because once again this is some halloween slumber party bullshit haha. The so called interview with the ‘second person’ just sort of…”
The video screen went static and asked me to re-load the video. I clicked the small sad face and was able to reload it, but it seemed to skip past the part I was at.
“Once on the top stair, shut your eyes. Walk down five steps and then on the fifth step turn around and walk backwards down the remainder. The goal is to trip in this instance, as crazy as it sounds. It’s not listed in the rules but if you’ve done this correctly the last step should be missing. Now once you’re at the bottom of your less than one stair turn around but don’t open your eyes. Very carefully find the bottom step candle and blow it out. There are several variations but they all STRESS the rule that you cannot open your eyes before blowing out the bottom step candle.”
He knocked again on the door with more ferocity than before, like he was trying to get in more than get my attention. But I had 1:43 left.
“The idea is that there’s another you, a doppelgänger who will blow out the candle at the top of the stairs at the exact same time you blow out the bottom stair candle. That’s why you need to play this alone otherwise it’s hard to establish whether or not this “game” was a success. There was one variation I read in which they did the top stair instead of the bottom and the person was ‘pushed by something’ down the stairs. Not only injuring themselves but causing the bottom candle to spark some curtains and eventually a full fledge raging inferno. Did it happen? Probably not? But hey it sure is creepy right?
Now full disclosure I do NOT want you to attempt this but my friends at Cedar Night Scents have provided me a discount code for what they’re calling their “ritual candle collection”. Four candles, all made naturally and include a small description of the perfect “ritual” to use them for. I like them because they smell fucking good, but hey maybe you feel the intrinsic need to prove yourself or scare the hell out of your friends. The candle code is JJKILLER14 and gives you 30% off the regular price. Personally I’m loving the “white magic” candle and have bought about 3 since getting in contact so they have the Jasmine Jolly Killer seal of approval. Okayyyyy? Also I posted this story on Instagram earlier and I thought it would be fun to take some questions to see if I could find anything that resembles an answer so lets see the top 10!”
I looked at Kelly.
“Do I need to watch this part.”
“Dear JJK, love that nickname haha, what happens if the candle at the top stays lit after the ritual? PS I love your smokey eye tutorial.
Well from what I can tell that’s what happens about 98% of the time, and honestly anyone that’s “stating” it’s blown out is probably lying. So I imagine nothing happens really.”
“Dear JJK, you never elaborated on what happens if someone is present while you play the game, what happens?! Love your videos and think you are the cutest.
Well thank you firstly! God knows I try to stay pretty. But…”
The video began to erratically jump.
“Haha, haha, haha. I guess…PRETTY PRETTY PRETTY. I love love 7 PEOPLE FOUND DEAD love love you all all all. Subscribe, like, follow ow ow ow and .. I guess I guess I guess I guess.”
“Is that it?”
Kelly was just staring off again.
“That’s about as far as you’ll get I imagine.”
“Okay, so I know a little more about the stairs game now. Can you connect the dots for me a little more?”
“I was only able to get about 3 minutes further into that video than you did. I think it’s because I’m here you can’t finish it, honestly.”
“Kelly that wouldn’t affect video in that way.”
She just shrugged.
“Maybe you’re right. Maybe I didn’t see my best friend blowing out a candle, and then see her again blowing out another candle at the same time. Maybe that thing didn’t walk slowly down those stairs towards the real Sara.”
I kept eye contact.
“I kept pulling her arm but she wouldn’t move, it was like she was rooted to the spot. I fell backwards as it bit into her bottom eyelid and ripped it downwards until her eye was barely dangling in it’s socket.”
I heard the banging on the door again.
“At one point I thought it was kissing her but it was just ripping her bottom lip off with it’s teeth. The last time I saw life in Sara’s eyes were seconds after. Her smile looked surreal. Unable to cover her bottom teeth as the skin flap hanging on by a few strands of skin and muscle.”
I suddenly had a coughing fit.
“Whatever it was it walked back up the stairs counting the steps in a voice that sounded like it came from every direction. That’s when I called 911.”
Once I got the cough under control, I reached out an held her hand.
“That wasn’t easy for you, and I know that. Thank you. It may seem arbitrary or dangerous to you but the information you gave me will be very helpful. Once again you’re not at fault at all and I’m going out of my way to…”
“This thing…this game. Once you’re a part you, you start losing steps.”
The door suddenly slammed open, and Kelly was held by two men who held her in place. He came in with handcuffs and putting up no resistance Kelly complied.
“We were just discussing…”
“Parents got a look at the body, they’re pressing charges now.”
“The more people you show, the more you’ll lose. I’m so sorry.”
“Kelly what does…”
The men were being excessively rough with her, one actually slamming her into a wall and punching her lower abdomen.
“FUCKING WATCH IT.”
I tried to follow as much as I could, but once they got to the stairs Kelly tripped on the second step flinging herself towards the the side. Kelly fell straight through the stairs. Falling all the way to the bottom, snapping her own neck in 3 places. The expression on her face almost looked like a grim relief, that face has since be etched into my brain.
It’s been nearly a week of dealing with both Sara’s and Kelly’s parents, mutual attorneys, fellow officers, security specialists, and even John. They all wanted to hear about how bizarre the case was, or how it was linked to other unexplained deaths that followed it. In most instances I would just send the same video Kelly showed me, it was the easiest way to explain the situation. But I only started sending it after I started tripping all the time. I don’t know how many people I actually spoke with regarding the case but after so many I started to get this panicked feeling. I live with John on the second story of our building, about 9 blocks from the precinct. There’s always been 23 steps from my door to the street but yesterday there was only 13.
Credit To – xcessiveknight