The Lonely Attic

The Attic – 1999

Dan had felt pretty ambiguous about his family’s move into the manor house, but the discovery of the attic came as a pleasant surprise. It hadn’t been listed as one of the rooms of the house, and somehow they had missed the door. When they first moved in, nobody had noticed it, but one day he opened a door he thought was a closet and found stairs up to an attic instead.

It was a huge room, spacious, and windowed on three sides. It was kind the kind of place teenage boys had their room in movies and such.

He had to have it.

“Merry Christmas,” his mom said, halfway sarcastically. “If you clean it up and find a way to move all of your stuff up there, it’s yours.”

Best Christmas present ever. He spent the first week of December just poking around. It was filled with junk. Old stuff in boxes. At first he took it as storage, but it didn’t seem to have the normal attic stuff like off-season holiday decorations, old baby stuff, garage sale rejects – stuff you never wanted to see again. He always thought of attics as where stuff went to die, but this was good stuff. Baseball cards, books, some model airplanes. It looked like stuff that might have belonged to another boy. Younger than him, though.

He gave the stuff to his ten-year-old kid brother. “Merry Christmas, Eric.”

“Shut up, asshole. I’m still pissed Mom let you have it, not me.”

“You’re just a kid, and I found it. Besides, I’m leaving for college in a year. It’s all yours, then.”

So once it was cleared out and passed his mother’s cleanliness inspection, he moved his stuff up. It was all done in time for Christmas, so he strung holiday lights in the windows and cut a branch off a fir tree and decorated it with ornaments he found in a dollar bin at the store.

It was fantastic, at first. It seemed so far removed from the rest of the house that it gave him the empowering feeling of being out on his own. With the bonus of still having his mom to do his laundry and buy his groceries. It had a great view of the surrounding land and a spectacular view of the stars on clear nights.  There was a drainpipe right outside one of the windows, which he soon discovered could hold petite girls for late night rendezvous. All in all, it seemed liked the perfect guy hideout.

But it was a creaky old house – somewhere around 200 years old, the real estate agent had said. He felt all of the shifts the most up at the tip top of the old manor. Sometimes he felt as if it slipped through time and space up there, ever so slightly. He would wake up with his head spinning some nights.

His kid brother often talked about how it would be his room as soon as his brother moved out, but it was odd…whenever he mentioned it, doors would blow shut, windows would slam, or the room would creak and groan.

“Not sure the room is ready to give you up,” Eric said jokingly.

He felt himself go pale.

It was a great room for a senior in high school, and had gotten him ready to move out on his own. In a way he’d miss his room, it had been good to him, but those were things he wouldn’t miss.

On the day of graduation, adorned in his cap and gown, he didn’t think much of it when the door stuck a little as he was on his way out.

Thought even less of it when he couldn’t get a window open later that night when he took a girl home after the graduation party.

He didn’t even think much of the way the room seemed to moan in the wind as he started packing his belongings. Or when the window slammed shut as he tried to take down the Christmas lights he had left up since first moving in. He yanked his fingers out of the way just in time. Hell, why not leave them, he decided. Eric would probably like them, anyway.

The morning of the move, however, when he opened the attic door to go downstairs to breakfast and was greeted with a stone wall – that’s when uneasy thoughts began to curl through his mind.

The room didn’t want him to leave.

He suppressed the thought with nervous laughter. Ridiculous.

He pushed on the wall, and called to his brother, thinking it was a prank.

“Very funny, asshole!”

He rolled his eyes. Went to the window, figuring he’d just climb down the drainpipe. It’d probably hold him. It had held a chunky girl or two on a few nights.

When he pulled it open, he was greeted with a painted landscape. Every window was that way.

He clawed at the paint and found stone walls underneath.

Someone had taken the joke too far.

He screamed at the door, at the windows, but he was in a vacuum. Nobody could hear. Or was there even anyone to hear?

He tried prying loose floorboards, but was met with more stone. Through the roof, also to no avail.

He curled in a ball on his bed, thinking perhaps eventually whoever was messing with him would get bored and let him out.

A few days later he realized it was no joke. The room seemed to shudder and sigh as he breathed his last breath.


“Attic? No, this house has never had an attic,” the real estate agent told the new owners who had just bought the Straeon Manor house.

She had been rather displeased that the family before had moved out after just one year, and still didn’t believe the insane ravings that the attic ate their son. What attic? Good riddance to them, the crazies. Granted, all of the owners of the manor over the course of its history had been a bit quirky – there was the strange plant thing with the conservatory, and she still thought the wine stains in the cellar looked like blood not wine – but the new owners seemed a much better fit, anyway.

She hoped they’d last.

Sara is a Kansas-grown author of the fantasy and horror persuasions. She is convinced that fantastical things are waiting for her just around the corner, and until she finds the right corner, she writes about those things instead.

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