The house where
I grew up was old. From what I heard, it had originally been built around an
old log cabin that stood there. It had an upstairs that was almost always filled
with shadows, and several different attic spaces. It creaked a lot.
I often got a
little creeped out in that house. There was an opening into part of the attic
right next to the landing of the stairs. Dad hung a board over the opening and put
in a hook to keep it closed. Mom used that space sometimes to store goods she
canned, like green beans, corn, beets. But she only used the front of it and I
could see it extended pretty far back into the darkness. My brothers told me
about the “things” that lived in that attic and how I better hope they never “got
me.” I believed them.
We slept upstairs
during the winter and I would go up the stairs at night with my back against the
outside railing of the stairs so I could stay as far away as possible from the
attic. I’d watch the hook on that door like my life depended on it. When I’d
come down the stairs I’d often jump over the last few steps so I could get past
the attic before anything grabbed me.
afternoon, probably when I was about ten or eleven, I was home by myself for a
little bit. I’m not sure where mom and dad were. I was sitting in the living
room watching TV when I clearly ‘heard’ footsteps coming down the stairs. I
bolted, out of the living room, down the short hall and out the front door,
never stopping to look behind me to see what shambling horror might lurk there.
When mom and dad
got home a short time later, I was sitting near the front porch with our pack
of hound dogs around me. They asked me why I was outside and I just told them I’d
wanted to play with the dogs. I let them go in first, though. When they didn't scream and come running out, I followed them in.
Years later, I
figured that what probably made the sound of footsteps was a squirrel dropping
a nut down between the walls and it bouncing off the support boards as it fell.
My rational mind tells me this anyway. My imagination is still not quite so