posted on Oct, 15 2005 @ 09:11 PM
Stephanie woke to a muffled thud from the attic. She rolled over and looked at the clock; 3:20. She rolled on her back and stared at the ceiling.
There was another thud. Then she heard footsteps running across the floor. She lay hardly daring to breathe until they stopped. A few minutes later
the footsteps resumed. Except now they were in the hallway outside her door. Her mouth was as dry as the overcooked turkey she had for dinner. She
watched in silent terror as the footsteps approached her door and the knob slowly started to turn. She quickly pulled the covers over her head and
held her breath. The door creaked open. The footsteps drew closer. A cold, clammy hand pulled back the covers and grasped her arm.
Stephanie’s breath came out in a relieved sigh. “What’s the matter honey?”
“I can’t sleep. Stevie is making too much noise.”
Stevie? Her mind refused to cooperate and she let it go. “Come on Nikki, let’s go back to bed, okay?”
As they walked towards Nikki’s room, the house was silent. They walked into her room and she climbed back in bed. Stephanie tucked her in and
kissed her forehead. “Go back to sleep now, okay?”
“But what if Stevie makes a bunch of noise again?”
Stevie? She said it again. “Then just ask him to be quiet while we’re trying to sleep.”
“Okay. Night mommy.”
“Good night Nikki.”
Stephanie pulled the door partway shut and headed down the hall to her own room. As she closed her eyes, she was still trying to figure out who this
Stevie was that Nikki was talking about.
Morning crept in on its toes. Stephanie opened her eyes to sunlight streaming in. She got up and headed downstairs to make breakfast. She peeked in
at Nikki on the way down. Still sleeping, good. With the morning sun in her hair she looked like a sleeping angel. Stephanie pulled the door
As she got out the milk and eggs she thought back to the night before. Stevie. Who was this Stevie that Nikki claimed was making the noises in the
attic? She tried pushing the thoughts out of her head for the time being. She had to get Nikki ready for her first day of school.
As they ate their breakfast, Stephanie asked Nikki how she slept the night before.
Nikki took another bite of her french toast and replied “Good, except for Stevie making noise.”
“Nikki, who is Stevie?”
“The boy who lives in the attic.” Nikki replied.
“Now honey, you know there is no boy in the attic.”
“Yes there is and we play together sometimes.”
Stephanie dropped it. An imaginary friend. She had one when she was growing up. She figured Stevie would disappear with the appearance of new
friends at school. She knew that Nikki had to be lonely. Since they had moved to Illinois from California, they had both had it rough. It was hard
for both of them to make new friends. Maybe Nikki and her needed to spend a nice day together somewhere like the zoo?
Stephanie started clearing away the breakfast dishes. “Go get ready for school.”
She dropped Nikki off at school and did some shopping. When she got home she sat down in front of the television. She was watching the noon news
when there was a crash in the kitchen. She ran in there to find a plate shattered across the floor.
“How did the plate fall?” Stephanie wondered out loud. She cleaned up the pieces and went back in the living room. The television was off.
“What is going on here?” She turned the tv back on and sat down. The rest of the afternoon passed uneventfully.
Stephanie picked Nikki up from school and took her to the zoo. They got home around six to find every light in the house turned on. Stephanie
pretended like nothing weird was going on as she turned them all off. Nikki went to her room to play.
Stephanie made dinner and called Nikki down. As they ate dinner, Stephanie asked her about her day at school.
Nikki replied, “It was fun.”
“Did you make any new friends?”
“Yes. Johnny and Jeff and Sue and Beth and Jenny and…”
Stephanie started laughing and cut her off. “Okay, okay. I don’t need all their names.”
Suddenly a cabinet door swung open and slammed shut. Then another and another. They both looked at each other.
“Yes Nikki.” Stephanie was trying to sound strong, but was scared to death.
“Stevie said we need to be careful. He said there’s a bad man here now. Stevie is scared of him.”
“Nikki you know Stevie isn’t real.”
“Yes he is! And he ain’t gonna be coming around as much because of the bad man.”
The lights flickered repeatedly, then nothing.
“All right Nikki. Finish your dinner and we’ll watch a movie.”
After the movie was over Stephanie tucked Nikki into bed. She went to her own room and switched on her tv. A bad man, huh? She shook her head and
lay down. Soon she drifted off to sleep.
The blood curdling scream sent Stephanie flying out of bed and racing down the hall. She flung Nikki’s door open and was greeted by the sight of
her daughters bed bouncing around the room with her on it. The closet doors were banging open and closed as well as her dresser drawers. The lights
were also flicking on and off. Stephanie grabbed her daughter and ran out of the room. Before she reached the stairs, the house fell silent.
Nikki was crying and Stephanie was close to tears herself. She brought her daughter into bed with her. After several hours, they slept.
The next day passed uneventfully. They ate dinner and watched tv. Stephanie told Nikki it was time for bed.
“Can I sleep with you tonight?”
“Sure thing hun.” Stephanie replied.
After the long night before, they both fell asleep right away. Stephanie woke up and looked at the clock, 2:56. Where was Nikki? She was supposed
to be in bed with her. Maybe she went to her own bed.
She got up and walked towards Nikki’s room.
Stephanie’s heart was in her throat as she raced towards the attic stairs where she could hear her daughter screaming and crying. She climbed the
narrow stairs and threw open the attic door.
Nikki was suspended in midair like a piñata. She could see the purpling of bruises starting to form on her neck and arms. Small cuts and scratches
were oozing blood on her stomach and legs.
Stephanie ran toward her blinded with panic. She ran into an invisible wall and was sent flying backwards. She sat dazed, staring helplessly at her
daughter as her cries were slowly choked off.
Suddenly the whole house shivered on its foundation. A groaning shriek emanated from the very fibers that comprised the house. Every board screamed
in unison. There was a single violent shake and Nikki was gently laid on the floor.
Stephanie shook her head to clear it and crawled towards her daughter. She started pulling at her. “Come on Nikki, we’ve got to get out of
Nikki’s voice was cracked. “No we don’t. Stevie’s here. He said the bad man is gone. He said he never should have touched me. He won’t
be coming back.”
“Okay” was all Stephanie could say. She believed her this time.
They spent the night curled together on the attic floor.
Stephanie couldn’t believe her eyes and ears. This beautiful two story house on a perfect street, and it was dirt cheap.
“So, what’s wrong with it?” She questioned the realtor. “What all needs fixed?”
“Absolutely nothing. The roof is new, same as the heat, air and plumbing. New cabinets and carpet as well as tile are all included. The reason
it’s so cheap is that we have a very motivated seller.” There was really no reason to tell her that the previous owners’ son had accidentally
fallen down the attic stairs and broken his neck. Or that his parents couldn’t take the thought of living in the house where their little Stevie
“I’ll take it.” Stephanie replied.
[edit on 10/15/2005 by keymaster]