Let’s start this week out right. Here’s a short story, for your Monday pleasure:

In the Attic

photo-5Something is up there, I’ve seen it myself.  It might just be an old Christmas tree or similar item.  But whatever it is, it’s bundled in a blanket and wrapped tight with cord.

The attic is accessible by a trap door built into the ceiling between my bedroom and my roommate’s. I needed to change the hallway light bulb, which is conveniently next to the trap door. So, flashlight still in hand, I decided it was time to have a look.  After all, I’d gone to the trouble of lugging a dining room chair up the stairs to stand on.  I expected spiders, and I wasn’t too thrilled about that expectation.  But opening the trap door just partway, I immediately saw the bundle.  It was impossible to tell its exact size because my flashlight quit working and I wasn’t about to go head first into the attic with the bundle up there. I couldn’t, anyway. The chair I was standing on was too short. I’d need a ladder.

The neighbors might have one. They’ve lived there for two decades and have everything that all the neighbors need to borrow, from wine glasses to the only snow shovel on our street. I’m sure they use their attic space as usual, for their personal storage.  No one has used our attic in years, why would something be up there?  Catherine lived in the house before us, for five years, and never even ventured to the upstairs landing–let along the attic–since her bedroom was in the basement.  Whatever it is, it’s been there for a long time.

I’m not sure what I know about our landlord.  I’ve never met him, but I did talk to him on the phone once.  My roommate has met him, though.  I know that he never wants to come by, even if there’s a problem with the house.  He’s glad to have repair receipts deducted from the rent, no questions asked, and we’re on our own.

I’m thinking all this, and fussing with my flashlight, on the chair at the top of the stairs, when I suddenly felt as though I were being watched—which is silly. There’s nobody here. Just me and the bundle. And it’s not like the bundle had a smell, even.  But the more I looked up at it, the more I expected it to move.

Standing on a chair at the top of the wooden staircase isn’t the best place to be when you’re waiting for the thing in the attic to move.

So now I’m on my way to convince my neighbor to have a look with me.  With another person around, maybe I won’t fall down the stairs.  And then there will be two of us for the spiders to land on.  Divide and conquer.

I’m also thinking now about finding a stick to poke at it…

My first book, Upside Down Kingdom, is on Amazon.