The Attic

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As the sweat trickles down your neck and your heart begin to beat a mile a minute, you curse yourself for standing on line to the haunted house. Your friends persuaded you to go and you grudgingly agreed. Now, all you want to do is run safe into your bed, but your feet are chained to the ground. You can’t move, you can’t breathe; all you can do is walk straight into the snake pit. You step forward not knowing whether to just rush in and get it over with, or go in slow hoping for the best. It doesn’t matter anymore because now you’re inside my attic, with all the darkness and terror in the entire world engulfing you.
As a child, when it was dark out, and sometimes even when light still shown through the windows, I would run passed my parent’s room to avoid even looking toward the attic’s entrance. If I needed to use wrapping paper or cooking bowls inherited from a relative that were kept in the attic, I had to be accompanied by at least one of my parents. The door to the attic is huge and heavy and, depending on what season it is, you would either get a heat flash or an icy chill across your body. The wooden ceiling and walls, illuminated by a single dull bulb, would always be caked in dust and stringy cobwebs. One wall was different and worse then the rest, being covered in grey, thick insulator. My mother would warn me that if I touched it I would never stop itching. I used to believe it was because poisonous bugs infested it. The attic extends the span of my parent’s room, with each step the ceiling gets lower and lower, making its guest feel like they’re being suffocated. As I would drag my feet across the wooden floor, it would creak below me, threatening to collapse. I never dared to travel its whole distance, not knowing what kind of creatures or boogeymen were lurking behind cardboard boxes and black, bulky garbage bags.
One day my family was having a garage sale in which I was forced to sit and watch as my parents sold our overused items to whoever wanted them. Unfortunately for me, most of the items that we were selling came from the attic. At some point in the sale my mom, busy with a costumer, barked at me to go upstairs and get the rest of the candle holders. “Not me!” I said as I shook my head so hard that my ponytail slapped my face. My mom bit her lip and ignored me the rest of the afternoon, too busy with haggling costumers to deal with me. That night, after the last costumer had left and we sold as much as we could, my parents sat me down in the brightly lit kitchen. I swung my legs, not yet touching the tile from where I sat in my chair. My father spoke first. “Alexa, do you like to play games?” he questioned. “YES!” I exclaimed, restless from sitting outside all day staring at strangers. “Well my mom and I were thinking really hard and we thought we could play a game.” Excited, I started pumping my legs even faster. My mom gently handed me a thick parka, goggles, and rubber galoshes. I grabbed them greedily, ready to start the game without taking a long time fussing over costumes. My dad said in a steady voice “Now put these on. This is going to be your protective gear.” “Against what?” I inquired with a squeak in my voice. My mother grabbed my hand. I had a feeling where we were going, but still wanted to be hopeful. I couldn’t believe it when she lead me up the steps to my parent’s room and stopped right in front of the attic. No, this wasn’t happening. Why would we play a game in the attic? They knew I hated that place; I refused to even go near the door half the time why would I want to play a game in it ? Seeing the terror in my eyes, my dad leaned down and said “Were going to play a game where we capture the monsters that you’ve been saying live in there. Now, I would love to capture some too, but they only come out when little children are alone.” At hearing the word “alone”, tears welled up in my eyes. How could they do this to me? I suddenly wished I had eaten more of my vegetables, taken a bath willingly and went to bed when they said it was bedtime. I felt my heart pounding in my ears. “Why !” is all I could stutter out. My mom suddenly had a fishing net in one hand. She leaned down and started to explain. “ We were starting to hear monsters up there just like you said. I thought the bravest person in the house could go and capture them. Could you do that for us sweetie ?” She reached for its door handle which looked cold and rusted. “We will be rite outside the door” I thought I heard her say, but it was muted by the thump thump noise echoing in my head. I looked down and saw the net in my hand which I did’t remember anyone handing it to me. “But I don’t I don’t know how…!” I stammered while backpedaling. My dad nudged me with his knee. Because I was so little, the nudge was able to bring me an inch into the attic. “Once again, we will be rite outside. Ill even leave the door open a little and the light on. We just want you to be brave and get the monsters for us ok?” I was shaking by then and felt like my head was going to explode. I started considering running away from home and wondered if all my Barbie’s plus my tea set could fit in my suitcase. Suddenly I realized the door was left ajar behind me, my parents nowhere in sight. I hadn’t rounded the corner yet, so I couldn’t see the whole attic. However I spotted eerie reflections on the wall. I took a step. Waited. No monsters yet. Two big steps. Waited. No monsters yet, but closer to the bend. One more step. Around the bend now, the monsters cage pointed rite at me. I clutched the net close to me. I stood there. And stared. I suddenly realized I wasn’t instructed on how to summon this monster or even how to go about getting it inside the net once it appeared. Helpless and scared out of my wits, I sat on the floor and started to cry. I remembered all the times I was too afraid to go upstairs and how upset that made everyone. A fleeting thought became a consideration and suddenly changed into an action. I sprang up, checking quickly to make sure all my gear was strapped on tightly. Making a running dash toward the back I lifted my two hands in the air that clutched the net. As soon as my feet hit the floor I started swinging the net back and forth furiously, hitting everything in sight. I banged and pounded on bags, the dust flying everywhere. “Take that ! and that !” I screamed with fury. I hit the bags till my arms ached and my voice was hoarse. With the dust cloaking me I ran out the attic as fast as I could. Slamming the door behind me, I caught my breath against its huge frame. I suddenly realized he handle didn’t feel cold or rusty, it felt smooth and polished. I looked up and saw my parents standing there, smiling at me. “Well….did you get the monsters?” “ I…don’t know” I breathed back, because truly, I didn’t know. My dad ‘tsked tsked’ me as he peered inside the attic. “Seems ok in here…how about we take a look.” I reluctantly peered inside and half expected a monster to come rushing at me for disturbing its sleep with my net. However, all I saw was the attic. The walls were a smooth shade of brown. The lighting was even and properly lit the room. The piles of non-needed items now seemed interesting and called for me to look at them. The insulator looked luscious like cotton candy and was now the color of it too. Both my parents looked down at me and said “I think its time for bed sweetie.” My dad swung me over his shoulder. My mom walked next to us patting my back and talking about our plans to go to the park next weekend. As we walked down the stairs, I peeked up at the attic cheerfully and-even if it was just for a second- saw a slimy green hand pull it shut from inside.





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