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Secrets in the Attic (ART2015)

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posted on Apr, 3 2015 @ 08:00 PM
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 projects.

“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 it.

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 voice back.

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 her explanation.

“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 given)

posted on Apr, 3 2015 @ 08:04 PM

It doesn’t last long.

Unsure of what awakened her, Tabitha lays as still as possible in the complete darkness, straining to hear. A very faint squeak, or cry, or…something is coming from her closet. Sitting up, she searches under her pillow for the flashlight and fights the urge to call for her parents again. It has to be a rat. That’s all.

Fumbling with the switch, she finally clicks it on, but once again, the light seems inadequate.

Wanting with all her might to run from the room, she instead bravely squares off with the closet. With each step taken, the pressure in the room seems to build, until it feels as if she’s moving through water.

At the entrance, Tabitha kneels down, straining to see into the thick gloom. It really isn’t that big. She doesn’t understand why the light isn’t working. Then, it dawns on her.

Leaping to her feet, Tabitha reaches out and desperately grabs at the air, trying to find the string she knows is dangling there. When it’s finally snuggly in her grasp, she gives it a yank…and then nearly falls down in shock.

Sitting on the floor not more than four feet from her, his leg snuggly snared in the trap, is the elf prince.

“Young miss; I need you to release me!’

Her eyes widening even further, Tabitha rubs at them and then hesitantly sits cross-legged in front of the little man. “I…I don’t understand,” she whispers, feeling numb.

“It’s quite simple, my dear,” he says through pursed lips. “This wizardry you wield has entrapped me and I am asking you to lift the spell. I assure you, I wish no harm upon you or your kin, but we must end these games, as the kingdom is at war.”

Studying him closer, Tabitha takes in his odd attire. He looks to be wearing something akin to the three musketeers, complete with a plumed feather in his wide-brimmed hat.

“I don’t know any magic,” Tabitha says shakily. “I don’t know how you got here…or how to send you back.”

Scrunching up his narrow nose and wiggling his pointy ears, his bright blue eyes look a bit menacing. “Okay, I’ll bestow one of my powers upon you if you let me go,” he says evenly. “As is our custom.”

“Your custom?” Tabitha asks, confused. “What power?”

Clearly frustrated now, the Elf Prince crosses his short arms in front of his armored chest. “Why must you pretend to be ignorant?” he chastises. “You have ensnared an elf, and therefore must be granted one of my powers in exchange for my release.”

“But I thought that kind of thing only happened with Leprechauns and Fairies,” Tabitha asks, her voice gaining strength.

“The what and what?” the Elf Prince repeats, spreading his hands wide and then shaking them dramatically in the air. “Oh, never mind! We don’t have time for this. Tell me which power you want and then send me back from whence I came. The Elf Princess is in need of rescue!”

Tears threatening to spill over now, Tabitha quickly retreats to grab the book from her nightstand. Sitting back in front of the little man, she sets it down and looks at him pleadingly. “I’m sorry, but I really don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Tabitha wasn’t sure what she expected, but the awed expression he turns upon her is unsettling. “Is this the source of your wizardry?” he asks, gesturing to the book. “Are these the words you cast to bring me forth?”

“I…I guess so,” Tabitha mutters. “But I didn’t do it on purpose!” she hastily adds. “I was just reading your story.”

Frowning now, the Elf Prince tries to open the cover, but between his small size and his leg still being stuck in the trap, he’s unable to lift it.

“Oh!” Tabitha gasps, leaning forward to clutch the rod of the trap that is pinching his leg. With a little bit of effort, she frees him, and it’s obvious that he’s okay as he runs around the book.

“Turn the pages to the end,” he instructs, looking up at her earnestly.

Although he’s only about a foot tall, he is still an imposing figure and Tabitha finds herself doing as she’s told. To her surprise, she discovers that there are several blank pages at the back of the book, and a weird script at the top in a language she can’t read.

“Here!” the Elf prince shouts, hopping eagerly from foot to foot. “You must write a new chapter to my story miss, and usher me back into battle!”

Without hesitation, Tabitha finds a pencil atop a nearby desk and then goes back to the waiting elf. Tapping thoughtfully at her tooth with the eraser, she considers the possible options.

“Should I have you riding a dragon, or maybe make you six feet tall?” she suggests, trying to be helpful.

“A dragon would eat me, and I have no wish to be a giant!” he barks impatiently. “Simply say that I magically reappear at Castle Wimpledoggen with sword in hand, to rescue the Elf Princess.”

Trying not to laugh, Tabitha chews at her bottom lip in an effort to spell the ridiculous word. “There!” she announces, sitting up straight. “I even gave you some new armor.”

She’s hardly finished the sentence, when the Elf Prince begins to fade right before her eyes. “Be sure to hide your book of sorcery, so the words are never again spoken!” he pleads, as his skin turns transparent under his new purple attire.

Nodding vigorously, Tabitha watches in wonder as he steps towards her. Raising his sword far above his head, he begins chanting a confusing jumble of words, before looking back at her.

“For my release, I bestow my gift of gold upon you.” With that, he simply touches her hand with the tip of his sword…and then vanishes.


posted on Apr, 3 2015 @ 08:05 PM
Blinking rapidly several times, Tabitha looks slowly around the small space, wondering if she hadn’t simply imagined the whole thing. That would be much easier to accept. Certainly, no one would ever believe her.

Gathering up the book, she closes it very carefully before tiptoeing to her bedroom door. After making sure that the hall is clear, she sneaks up the back stairs to the attic, careful to avoid the boards that squeak.

Once in the vast, damp space, it takes her several minutes to find the old chest in a far corner, where the book had been tucked away. Cautiously placing it back inside, she buries it under various blankets, vases, and old photos before closing the lid. It was open before when she originally found it, but now that it’s shut, she sees that there’s an old skeleton key sticking out of the lock. Turning it slowly, the bolt clicks into place she smiles at the sound.

Stepping back from the trunk, Tabitha wraps her hand around the key and finally wonders about the words the Elf Prince spoke before leaving. “The gift of gold?” she recites aloud.

Suddenly, her hand with the key in it begins to burn, and alarmed, she opens it, allowing the metal object to fall to the floor. Only…it’s no longer made of metal. Kneeling down to get a closer look, Tabitha squeals in delight before picking the heavy, solid gold key back up.

“The gift of gold,” she whispers, and even to this girl of eleven years, the implications are overwhelming. With the knowledge that her family will never want for anything ever again, Tabitha Watterson backs slowly away from the family heirloom, now locked safely away.

Her Great Aunt Becky’s body had been discovered in this attic, she reflects, still walking backwards, her eyes unwavering from the trunk. They say she had collapsed for some unknown reason, and eventually died of exposure. But now Tabitha knows that the truth is something better left unknown.

“Or,” she says aloud, stopping in the middle of the drafty room. A grin slowly grows on her young, angelic face. “I can write my own story.”

The End

posted on Apr, 3 2015 @ 08:18 PM
great story

posted on Apr, 3 2015 @ 08:21 PM
Well done. That was awesome!

All wrapped up in such a short story but still releasing the readers imagination.


posted on Apr, 4 2015 @ 12:05 AM
a reply to: westcoast

Very nice!

Well done!

posted on Apr, 4 2015 @ 04:10 PM
Thanks you guys!

I have to sit down tonight and read the other entries. It's always so much fun to see how everyone interprets things differently.

posted on Apr, 9 2015 @ 11:40 AM
a reply to: westcoast

This was a splendid read! Wonderfully well written.



posted on Apr, 11 2015 @ 11:18 AM
a reply to: westcoast

Well Written Story! I give You a Flag, and 3 Stars here for Your well earned Keeping!!
Very well done indeed!!!

posted on Apr, 11 2015 @ 08:25 PM
Thank you for the feedback and support! There are some incredibly creative writers here on ATS!!!!

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