Saturday – The Attic
I made me way up the creaky stairs and cautiously opened the door, and slipped inside.
Unlike the sparse rooms below, the attic was packed with bags of old clothes, broken clocks, forgotten damaged dolls, old toys, and other duty Knick-knacks.
Along one wall was lined several pictures, old, yellow and damp, of various family members. They were all large photochrom photos, black and white, except for one that had been professionally hand coloured.
That one was of a young boy of about nine, and something about him just did not seem quite right. He had large almond-shaped eyes that just stared out, quite creepily from a slightly oversized head, and I wondered who it was, and what his story had been. No one had ever mentioned a handicapped child being in that branch of the family, but then in that era, things like that were hushed up.
Thank God we no longer think that way!
As I walked through that dusty and damp room looking over the old fashioned traveling trunks, cartons, yellowed newspapers and letters, I began to get a sense of what their lives had been like.
Whatever they had bought of value had been used until broken, then stuffed up here away to hopefully be fixed someday!
I was pretty sure that most of the vanished Frank’s belongings were up here now also.
I remember wondering what had ever become of him, was he the boy in the antique coloured photograph?
Had he not, been quite right?
I shivered again; it was certainly cold up here with the howling wind again picking up outside!
I soon spied, crammed in a corner, a rather unique rocking horse.
It looked like it had been hand made using real horsehair, some of it now eaten away, giving it a rather witchy, disheveled appearance.
The long face was also rather peculiar, looking all for the world like it had been startled by something, its eyes bulging, nostrils flared!
I went over and moved it ever so slightly, and as it rocked I heard the springs squeak, almost sounding like a young child saying “MINE”!
I stopped it, then did it again, this time the squeak sounded just like a squeak should.
I said under my breath, comforted to hear my voice…
“Blimey, this place with its strange moans, creaks, and other noises certainly does play tricks with one’s imagination!”
I turned away, and spying a group of old toys jumbled about out on a table, and went over.
They were all broken in one way or another, some of them with what looked like red crayon marks.
I picked up a doll that had a long fancy dress, its face and hands had been made of delicate porcelain.
I looked it over, seeing that one side of the face had been smashed, which was giving it a rather gruesome, one blank-eyed appearance.
A red crayon that had been lying underneath the doll rolled off the table and fell on the floor.
The noise made when landing, actually echoed in the room!
It was now that quiet, with the wind having dyed down.
The crayon had been resting on some papers and I picked them up.
It was a letter, handwritten by their children’s mother Adelaide, sent from the asylum she had been committed into!
Her handwriting was in a neat, crimped feminine script, it was signed by Adelaide Froes.
It had been written to one of her sisters, and it told of her experience in the sanatorium, of hoping she would be well enough to come home soon. How she missed little Joseph and hoped he was well ( none of the other children were mentioned!)
The letter went on to tell about some of her experiences; constant screams and cries from the other patients, about how one night a man had escaped his bindings and had been entering rooms including hers!
As I read the letter, I was starting to get seriously creeped out, so I put the letter down when I noticed that someone had been scribbling on the bottom of the margin, in red crayon!
It was a child’s wobbly scrawl, and spelled Joseph, with the letter 9 under it.
There was another word beneath the 9 that looked like the spelling of the word “wotcher” in the same red crayon.
I thought of Old Joseph, wasting away in the old folks home, the last known living member of the family( If one believed that Frank was not still alive)!
It must have been him scribbling at age 9.
Of course, It was at that moment the lights flickered off, and I jumped as the room went dark.
But my eyes quickly adapted, I was able to see the open door, outlined faintly by a window set high in the wall.
I Carried the letter with me and made my way quickly to the door.
Just as I reached it, the wind started to howl again outside, causing the house to shake and creak.
And as I hastened through the door, some of those odd noises sounded like something was riding the evil-looking rocking horse, creaking its springs!
Without looking behind me, I hurried down the stairs, firmly shutting the closet door.
Noticing that I was still carrying the old letter, I went over and set it down on the vanity.
Then I left the master bedroom, closing the door behind me…
But I will admit now that I was to return to that room it a bit later that evening, for a most peculiar reason indeed!
Saturday – The Mourning Parlor