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Locked- Up Secrets

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Alli knew something was wrong with the house. Ever since she and her mom had moved there a few weeks ago, there was just this feeling in the air, and it wasn’t a good feeling. It was a feeling that made you want to look all around you, and be by someone else. This didn’t stop Alli though, she was the person to discover things, to look everywhere and figure problems out. So Alli decided to explore the hundred year old house while her mom was at work.
Like every day, Alli’s mom yelled upstairs that she was leaving. Alli immediately awakened with a start, and was sweating from the dream she just had. In her dream she was locked in an old chest, and couldn’t get out, the laugh that was outside the chest still rang in her ears. She shook it off though, “It’s just a dream! It doesn’t mean anything.” She said to herself. So she got out of bed and got dressed. Then armed with a flashlight and her cell phone she started up the steps to the 3rd floor. The dim hallway had pale, peeling paint coming from the walls. A breeze hit the window, making it sound like someone slapped the glass. This short distraction calmed her nerves, and she started walking.
She could feel the sweat between her hand and the flashlight, making it harder and harder to grip the handle. The hair on the back of her neck stood on end and she had goose bumps all up her arms, and crawling up her legs. The musty air clogged her nose and made it the only thing she could smell. Her heart raced, making the blood rushing through her head visible on her temple. It was pumping so fast she was afraid the noise could be heard from outside her.
Each passing doorknob locked away a different room, and a different story. Every knob longed to be opened, to release its burden of secrecy; but something drew Alli to the attic and she was going to follow that instinct. As she got closer to the door, she knew this is where she was supposed to be. A feeling rose from the pit of her stomach as she reached out for the ornate door handle, she gripped the cold metal and twisted. The old metal screeched breaking an eerie silence. She swung ancient door open so she was staring into a wall of black. Then she turned on the flashlight; the light looked like a sliver on a piece of black cardstock. She knew once she started walking up the steps that more light would come in from the window, but it was a big step to actually make herself walk. Then the feeling deepened, along with the bad feeling in the stomach. She took a step and the pull dragged her. Each step made her more and more scared; Alli felt like her heart was going to beat right out of her chest.
When she got the top, she looked around, and took deep breaths. Dust flecks danced in the light that gleamed from the window. The circular window sat facing the long dirt driveway, lined with small peach trees. Alli could see the whole yard, big and green, the unkempt, wild, and free lawn. The idyllic scene took Allis’s mind away from what she was doing. But only for a moment, a cold breeze snapped her back to reality. Her eyes adjusted to the light and noticed all the old furniture, the attic was filled with them; a desk, a bookcase, a chair, a wardrobe.
Looking around Alli, was taking it all in. Then something shiny caught her eye, an ancient chest sitting in the corner. The lock hung, tightly closed, with little pieces of shine escaping the rusty surface. Alli knew this was “it”. The thing that was drawing her up here, she walked towards the chest, and then reached out and touched it’s roughed up surface. The dark chocolate colored wood was nicked up, and had burn marks along the bottom. This chest, Alli knew, held secrets, not just held inside by the lock, but every scratch, scuff and discoloration had a story.
She was trying to pull the lock open when she heard something drop. Alli jumped at the sudden breach of silence. She gathered her wits about and looked around. She knew the noise had to come from somewhere. Then a music box started playing, slow, sad music. It was so quiet, that one squeak of a floor board and the sound would be drowned out. She stepped carefully, and soon found the music box on top of an old dresser. On the floor, right below the dresser, was an old letter opener with the initials M.V. She turned it over and over again in her hands, noticing a small chip missing from the tarnished blade. Alli stood up and jumped back at her own dirty reflection on the mirror attached to the dresser. There was grime along the edges of the oval mirror making it look like Alli was right in the center of a picture frame.
She looked closer at the mirror and noticed more initials I.V., was it a coincidence or were the people related? Alli pondered the question, while unbeknownst to her, evil was taking place. Then the evil came to reality and she smelled it. First faint then stronger, “What’s that smell?” Then Alli sprung to the stairs, dropping the letter opener in the process. “Fire!” she yelled, knowing that no one could or would hear her. She followed the thick black smoke downstairs to the source; her kitchen.
She searched frantically for her phone, and when Alli realized it wasn’t on her, she grabbed the fire extinguisher from its new spot under the bathroom sink. Wielding it as a knight would wield his sword, she charged the kitchen. The smoke was overwhelming as she held down the handle. The thick smoke clogged her nose and burned her throat, but she followed the heat and found the stove. She then released the last remaining foam of the extinguisher and ran out of the room. She coughed out black ash and rapidly blinked her eyes that were filled with soot. Alli then searched for the home phone which had been connected the day before. “My bedroom!” she spurted out in a raspy voice. She ran across the hallway that connected the each room, coughing and choking the whole way.
Tripping over unopened boxes she grabbed the house phone and dialed 911, “911, where is the location of your emergency?”
“1275 Picker Lane” –cough- “help me”-cough- “please”
“Ma’am, I’m sorry, I can’t understand you.”
“Come quick” –gasp- “fire”
“Ma’am, is someone with you? I can’t hear you. I have tracked your location and we have dispatched the fire department, an ambulance, and the police”
-sputter-
“Stay with me and stay on the line, I won’t hang up. Just keep breathing. They are going as fast as they can.”
Alli dropped the phone and collapsed. Blackness enveloped her; her hearing was the last thing to go. She could hear sirens faintly in the distance, but the laughing was the last thing she heard.

Epilogue
I can’t have anyone opening that chest. Its mine. The fire department was just a minute too late, I made sure of that. A nice “accidently” moved couch and locked door can slow down any strong man. Poor girl, bit off more can chew. At least she died before the fire got her. They all do. When her mom was called she was devastated, I heard the police talking about how she drove her car off the Waterman’s Bridge, tragic. The fire department say it was an accident, she put a pizza in the oven and fell asleep. By the time she had woken up, the fire was out of control and she was already being overcome by smoke. Her mom took care of herself, so I won’t even have to clean up for myself. I hope the next owner of my chest isn’t so nosy.



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