Nightmares I: The Attic
Nothing in this house is what it seems. Haunted by nightmares and events she can’t explain, Megan finds herself drawn into the attic.
From the first time she opens the door she is set on a path toward certain death. It has taken countless children, countless lives. It seethes in the darkness, watching… waiting.
Word Count: 19,962
Genre: Paranormal/Horror/Young Adult
Rating: Young Adult--no sexual content - May require the use of a flashlight and lucky charm to make you feel safe.
Available formats: PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
© Cover Art by Amber Moon, June 2014
New Concepts Publishing
Lake Park, GA 31636
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author's imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.
There was a death-like chill in the night air. The moon was absent from the inky black sky. From a small window emanated a light that trembled and quivered. It fell on the glass of the window and escaped the house every time the beam turned toward it. It vaguely lit the front yard it overlooked. Save for this, the night was impenetrable and as dark as the grave. The small room in the attic was cold and clean. It looked like the killing floor of a slaughterhouse. The group of teenagers sat down in a circle. They were all eager to prove or disprove the stories that circulated about this house and its attic room.
“— and you always know your life is at an end, because you can hear the ghost crying.”
“Is not!” Kayla exclaimed as she sat cross-legged, glaring at her brother.
Caleb held the flashlight under his chin and gave her a deep frown. “No one who enters this room ever leaves alive.”
Willy, the oldest boy in the room by two years, elbowed him in the ribs. He snatched the flashlight out of his hand when he moved to defend himself. “If that were true,” he said as he held the light under his own chin, “no one in here now will get out alive.”
Bob and Sam laughed. Rosie gasped. Kayla grabbed Rosie’s hand and held on tight. Her eyes were pulled inexplicably to the menacing red chest against the far wall. The room where they were huddled was far back in the attic space and contained only that one thing – a large blood red travel trunk. The ancient, faded chest had straps and buckles and was unmistakably one of those used in past centuries to store people’s belongings.
“It isn’t true. Lots of people come in here. The high schoolers come here all the time,” Kayla reassured her friend, even as a shiver of dread crept up her spine.
“But a lot of kids disappear around here too” said Bob as Willy handed him the light. He held it under his chin for a dramatic effect. “And you know the one thing they all had in common?”
“You mean besides being stupid?” Kayla laughed, but the sound rang hollow to her ears.
“And ugly?” Rosie threw in.
“Shut up! That’s not it at all!” Bob scowled.
Rosie stood up. “This is stupid. And anyway, who ever heard of a crying ghost?”
Kayla stood up too. “She’s right. It’s stupid to sit here listening to dumb stories made up by idiots like you.” She turned back to Kayla. “Let’s get outta here.”
A sudden movement to her side caught Kayla’s eye. She turned to the window. It swung outward with a dull screech. The tattered old curtain, sun-bleached to the off white of bone, blew inside like a ghost. Outside, the night was deadly silent. It seemed the whole world held its breath tonight. A screech owl called out from somewhere nearby. The sound almost stopped Kayla’s heart. She held tightly on her best friend’s arm, and silently cursed her brother Caleb for talking her and the others into coming out here when they were all supposed to be at Willy’s.
“Listen, that’s one of the children crying out there!” Calab’s hard whisper came out as a rasp in the dead silence and Rosie put her arm around Kayla’s shoulder.
Bob rolled his eyes at Caleb. “Bull crap, man. It’s just an animal.”
“Yeah, a werewolf,” Sam teased.
Bob was not impressed, but Willy thought it was hilarious. His laughter was infectious. The screech echoed again, the sound cutting through the night like a knife to silence their nervous laughter.
“That sounded real that time. Somebody’s out there!” Kayla met Rosie’s eyes and whispered, “We shouldn’t have come.”
“It is the ghost of one of the missing children, calling to the others to come out,” Sam said defiantly, looking around the circle to see their reactions.
“Don’t say that,” Rosie moaned.
“No, it’s true. They have police records and everything….” Sam looked around to ensure he had everyone’s attention. “All those kids who came to this house at some point for some reason through the years have never been seen again.”
“They disappeared one by one and no trace was ever found again,” said Caleb with his dark brown eyes stretched wide, pinning Rosie down with his creepy stare and giving it a moment to sink in.
Kayla held her close. “Don’t listen to them. They’re just trying to scare us.”
“It’s working,” Rosie replied under her breath and hoped none of the boys heard her. “Jerks.”
The distant rumble of an approaching car on the dirt road drew Kayla’s attention to the window. “Hey, I think I hear a car coming.”
A hush fell over the group and everyone froze. The sound of the engine drew nearer.
Caleb got to his feet. “Let’s get outta here! What if it’s the cops, man?”
Sam went over to the window and looked out. “I don’t see anyone.”
Willy grabbed him from behind and pulled him backward. “Good! Move! I don’t wanna get in trouble for coming in here!”
Kayla pulled on the doorknob. “Hey! It’s locked!”
“Is not! Stop fooling around.” Rosie’s voice quivered.
Caleb shoved Kayla out of the way, grasped the knob and gave the door a tug. “Hey! I can’t open it!”
“Switch off the flashlight or they’ll see us, idiot,” Willy said, snatching at the light that Sam held.
“No way, pal,” Sam hollered. “There’s no way I’m standing here in the dark!”
“He’s right Willy. Let’s just get out. Hurry up and open the door!” Kayla backed up toward the wall. She almost tripped over the red trunk. She gasped and strangled on a silent scream the moment her leg touched its surface. It was as cold as a coroner’s metal slab.