Secrets In The Attic
“Tabitha! Get down here now. I’m not going to say it again.” Rolling her eyes, eleven-year-old Tabitha Watterson flops onto her back and stares
up at the ever-present crack in her old plaster ceiling. Mom kept saying that it was going to be fixed, but it somehow always escapes the weekend
“I’m coming Mom!” she calls out in frustration, unhappy at being forced to abandon her bed. And her room, and…pushing back onto her stomach,
and bracing her chin on her palms, Tabitha studies the old book nestled in the blankets. She had found it up in the attic yesterday, while sorting
through the cobweb-covered ‘antiques’ her father swears they can get money for.
They inherited this haunted house (that’s what she calls it) from her great-aunt, who passed away a couple of months ago. She had never met old Aunt
Becky, and there was good reason for it; it’s a three-day drive from their home, and on the other side of the country.
Squeezing her eyes against the thought, Tabitha reminds herself that this is home now. According to Mom, it’s a blessing, because they were about to
lose the other one. Her dad lost his job at the computer company last summer, and the unemployment checks weren’t enough to cover everything.
That’s what her big brother told her, anyway. Mom and Dad didn’t talk about that sort of stuff with her, because they didn’t think she’d
understand. They were wrong.
Virginia. That’s where they live now. It’s much colder here than California, and Tabitha isn’t excited about the snow, as her parents promised
she would be. Glancing up at the thin curtains covering the one old, drafty window in her room, she shivers involuntarily. As if response, the large,
ancient boiler system groans to life, causing the metal monstrosity under the window to emit sounds Tabitha likened to monsters.
Mustering up her energy, she covers the old book with a pillow and slides down to the cold, wooden floor. Dashing across the large room, she pauses
just shy of the gaping, dark walk-in closet which stands in-between her and the exit. Tabitha isn’t usually one to be fearful, but the story she had
just been reading was full of dark magic and evil creatures. She wasn’t sure what the story was yet, exactly…which was why she didn’t want to go
with her mom to do the Christmas shopping. She would really rather just stay home and read all day.
While the large, Victorian style three-story house is pretty much falling apart, Tabitha actually likes her bedroom. She spends as much time as
possible here. Now that she finally has something to entertain her over winter break, before starting at her new school, she doesn’t want to leave
The sound of a car horn floats up to her third-story room, giving her the courage to step past the space in front of the closet. As she does, Tabitha
is quite certain that a wisp of the darkness reaches out, trailing behind her slightly before dissipating. Gasping, she sprints the rest of the way,
slamming the heavy wooden door behind her.
The elf prince brandished his sword, forcing the frightening winged creature toward the heat of the torch. Its wicked eyes glowed red in the dim
light, and princess Abigail screamed out a warning as-”
A thud from her closet jolts Tabitha out of the story, the book clutched tightly to her chest. Her breath coming in ragged breaths, she very slowly
lowers the blanket from over her head, bringing her small flashlight up at the same time.
At first, all she can see is the faded wallpaper and a gloom too deep for her weak light to penetrate. There! The perception of movement among the
shadows near the foot of her bead is accompanied by a skittering sound, and her gasping breaths turn into whimpers.
“Mom…” Tabitha whispers, her tongue thick and mouth too dry to produce any sound. A cold sensation is spreading out from her stomach, and
she’s sure to stop breathing once the paralyzing fear reaches her chest.
“Mom!” she tries again, this time accomplishing a hoarse cry. “Moooooooommmmmm!” she finally shrieks, the adrenaline ebbing enough to give her
Loud footsteps pound down the upper hallway, before stopping at her door. When it finally flies open, her dad is silhouetted in the light pooling
behind him, his face hidden from her.
“What’s wrong?” he demands, sounding more irritated than concerned. He flips on the bedroom light, and Tabitha squints against the glare, trying
to shield her face from the sudden onslaught with the book.
“There…there’s something…at the foot of my bed.” Realizing how silly she sounds, even to herself, Tabitha’s voice trails off at the end of
“Oh really?” Mr. Watterson questions, raising his eyebrows at his imaginative daughter. Eyeing the old, browning book, he takes a step closer so
he can read the cover.
“The Alliance of Princes, and their Quest to Conquer the Dark Evil of Evermore. Really, Tabitha?” he says with heavy sarcasm. “Where in the
world did you find that?”
Embarrassed now, Tabitha lowers the novel and tries to hide it under the blanket. “It doesn’t have anything to do with it, Dad! I swear: I saw
something move and I heard it!”
Glancing around at the bottom of the bed, her dad then makes a scene out of lifting the covers so that he can search underneath. But when he turns
back to his daughter and sees the look of fear on her face, his grin fades.
“Maybe it was a rat,” he offers. “I’ve already caught a few in the traps. “Hold on!”
He runs out the door, and Tabitha listens as his pathway is clearly marked by the creaking floorboards. Once in the kitchen, she hears a door slam,
and then he’s back on the stairs moments later.
“Here!” he says happily, when he returns to her room. “We can put this in your closet.” Holding the trap out in front of him, Tabitha is
impressed by its size. It looks like it could capture a cat!
Feeling slightly better after her dad has managed to go in and out of her closet without being attacked, Tabitha settles back under the covers.
“No more of this tonight,” Mr. Watterson grumbles, removing the book from her hands, and setting on the table next to her bed.
Tabitha doesn’t protest, and much to her surprise, quickly falls asleep.
edit on 3-4-2015 by westcoast because: (no reason given)
edit on 3-4-2015 by westcoast because: (no reason