My Grandmother's Attic - Chap 2
That night I sat up in the bed, reading. I was going to stay awake all night. If Grandma Bunny came by, I’d communicate with her. If I could see dead people, there was no reason I couldn’t talk to them as well.
The scratching started at midnight. I put my book down on my thighs and looked at the dresser, narrowing my eyes. “You little suckers think you’re so clever, huh?” I jumped off the bed and pulled the top drawer open. “Huh?” It was empty. I closed it quickly, pulling the other two open at lightning speed. There weren’t any mice. Or mouse poop. Or holes. Or even… scratches. I stood back on my heels, pondering. Then I realized the scratching sound hadn’t stopped. My nostrils flared and my eyes widened. I felt suddenly completely naked, standing on the cold wooden floor with absolutely no protection from whatever could be underneath the bed. I immediately hopped back up onto the mattress, leaving the drawers open. The scratching continued, uninterrupted by my confident outburst. My eyes searched the wall, trying to pinpoint where it was coming from. It almost seemed like something was scratching the part of the wall all the way at the top, where the moulding was, and then dragged their fingernails all the way down the wall. That couldn’t be right. I decided it was mice in the walls.
I pulled my book back out.
BANG! The wall shook where it had been hit. My eyes snapped away from the book, gazing at the wall in pure terror. The dresser was shaking. BANG! It cracked through the air again. I could have sworn the wall bulged outward with the sound. The dresser shook, nearly falling forward. One of the dolls who sat atop slumped to the side, falling to the floor with a mild thump. I couldn’t do anything but stare. BANG! After the third bang, a moaning sound. A muffled voice through the wall, a pained, hollow wailing. I stiffened. My heart had stopped beating. This was the end, I could feel it. At the very end, I did not pray, but instead said goodbye to my grandmother with a whispered breath, tears silently falling from my eyes. The thing behind the wall moaned louder, sounding as if it were directly against the wall. I waited in agony, wishing I had already died. But death did not come for me. I was forced to listen to the horrific groanings and scratching of an inhuman creature trapped in my grandmother’s attic for hours. Unending wailing. The tears fell until there were no more left to cry, and the thing still moaned. I stayed awake until morning.
“Why do you look so tired? Are the mice keeping you awake?”
My grandmother’s innocent and welcoming face urged me to tell her. I never had any need to distrust her before… but, something held me back. I remembered suddenly that my uncle Bud, Grandma’s son, had been admitted for severe schizophrenia, and I wondered who had admitted him. It was never something I had questioned before, but it sprung up to my mind as I stood there in the kitchen. Had he said something to Grandma to make her think he was crazy?
It was the first time I was actively choosing not to share something with her. Maybe she’d think I was crazy, like my uncle. I couldn’t get rid of the thought, so instead of spilling everything, I just said “Yes.”
“Well, I’ve got some pancakes comin right up!” She said jubilantly.
Honestly, that helped. There was virtually nothing that couldn’t be made better by Grandma’s pancakes. I ate way too many, feeling my stomach tighten and my mood calm. It might be time for a movie, to get my mind off things.
We watched Predator again, it was her favorite, she admitted. Apparently she had been waiting for me to be old enough to watch it all these years… I wasn’t actually old enough still, so she told me not to tell my mom. I think it was right after Arnold covered himself in mud when I drifted away on the couch.
In sleep, I was in an empty house. It was dusty, abandoned. I didn’t recognize it. It was an older house, one that was made up of a long hallway, front and back doors on either end, with rooms flaring off from the middle. Mom said they used to do that for air flow back when there wasn’t any air conditioning.I heard someone from an archway in the center of the hallway. Humming. I stepped forward slowly. When I reached the opening, I craned my head to see. My Grandmother was humming in the kitchen. I kept walking down the hallway. I felt the air getting thicker as I got closer to the end. Something felt wrong in the air. I kept going, senses screaming at me to stop. Suddenly Grandma Bunny was in front of me. I hadn’t seen her as I walked, but I also hadn’t seen her appear. She was just there. She put a finger to her lips and pointed up. I followed the gesture with my eyes, looking directly up at the ceiling, neck bent all the way back. There was an attic door, the pull down string had been cut. I stared for a moment, attempting to understand what it was she wanted to show me. Something sticky and hot dropped on my face. I blinked, reaching up to brush it off. My fingers came off dark and wet. I looked back up. Blood seeped out through the cracks of the door, dripping rapidly on the ground. On me. I gasped, turning to run, and woke up.
Grandma was sitting across from me, assessing my face seriously. I glanced at the TV, the credits were rolling. I wondered how long she had been staring at me like that. I wondered why. I looked back at her face, feeling fear for the first time. I didn’t know if I had said something in my dreams.
“You alright?” My grandmother said, finally. Looking more concerned than stern.
“Mmmhm.” I replied, stretching my arms out. “Just tired.” I glanced around, still feeling uneasy in the house. “I’m gonna go play with the dogs.”
She nodded, but didn’t take her eyes off me as I headed out. It was all becoming too much. I breathed in the sun and fresh air with a new certainty bubbling in my head. I was going to see what was in that attic.