The Cat in the Attic

| December 9, 2014 | 0 Comments

I feel the jolt of Dad’s car as it stops. I look over at the window, aggravated. Dad looks over at me and lets out a large huff. I push my light blonde hair from my face and glance over at him. “What? You expect me to be excited that you’re sending me to someone’s house that I don’t even know? She could be a serial killer.”

Before Dad can argue, a short woman with grey-brown hair steps out in a white night gown. Her hair is curled and messy, and a brown cat runs from behind her foot into the yard. Great, a cat lady. I glance at Dad, who’s attempting to smile. I grunt and push the door open. I fling myself out and take my bag with me.

“Charlotte! I haven’t seen you since you were a wee thing!” Aunt Val calls, rushing down the broken concrete sidewalk towards me. I smile falsely and follow her. Aunt Val takes my backpack and leads me inside. The house is trashed and covered in cats. She leads me into the only clean room in the house. Walls painted white, the floor’s a soft grey carpet. The bed is queen sized and perfectly made with light rose pink covers. A vanity and dresser both painted white and a tall bookshelf of dictionaries and atlases. My jaw drops when I see a small door in the corner painted a perfect silver with a brass knob and a tiny, perfect key hole. I feel the urge to open it. I walk close to it and put my hands on the knob. Aunt Val freaks out.

“Don’t go in there, darling. Okay?” She says, pulling a key from her coat pocket and quickly locking the door. I sit back and look out the window, pretending not to care. She nods, puts the key back in her pocket, and rushes out the room. I know something good was in there, and I nearly die wanting to get in that room. I look at the clock to see the time is around 8, so I pull my pajamas on and get into the bed. I stare at the ceiling and try to go to sleep, but I keep on thinking about that room.

I place my socks on the floor and creep across the bedroom. I tie my long hair into a ponytail by the door, ready to go on my mission. I open the door and creep into the hallway. I walk down the hallway to Aunt Val’s bedroom. My hand reaches for the doorknob. I open the door and in the glowing light of the hall, see Aunt Val sleeping with her eyes open. It spooks me, but I realize she’s asleep. And just in time, I see her coat drifting on the door knob of her closet. I imagine holding the key and unlocking the secrets of the little room. I hurry to the coat and snatch the key from Aunt Val’s pocket. I smile, staring at the tiny, brass key. Aunt Val turns over, grunting, and I run from the room, forgetting to close the door.

I place the key under my pillow and fluff it gently. I lay my head down, close my eyes, and sleep. Before I know it, the morning sun rises and birds screech out morning noises. I wake up to Aunt Val nudging my shoulder. I see her and get worried.

“I didn’t take the key! I swear!” I blurt. Aunt Val looks shocked, but smiles.

“I know you didn’t, honey. I just was going to say that I have to go to work. I’ll be back around lunch time,” she says. Dad told me she works at a Walmart about forty minutes from here. I nod and place my hand under the pillow, feeling for the key. My fingers touch it, and my heart races. She leaves the bedroom and I wait until the garage door closes. I sit up from the bed to pull the key out from underneath the pillow.

“What’s so important in there?” I ask myself as I lift the key to the brass knob. I hesitate, but gently insert the key and turn the knob. With a satisfying click, the door unlocks and I yank it open. A small, grey lantern sits on a step of a large staircase. I stare up the staircase as I bend down to pick up the lantern. A hiss echoes suddenly, and I jump back. A grey cat about the size of a binder stands at the top of the stairs hissing.

“Hi, kitty…” I say, standing up slowly. I shake the lantern before it flickers on a dull light. I hold it towards the cat and it lets out a kitten’s mew. I smile and walk up the creaky stairs. As I pass the cat, I hear her meow loudly and the sound of a door closing echoes through the darkness. I turn around and see the grey cat coming towards me and the light from the bedroom is now replaced by the dark square of the door. The cat’s glowing blue eyes shine in the darkness. I figure nobody ever comes up to visit her in this old attic, due to her bones attempting to poke out of her fur as she crouches near me.

“What’s the matter? You upset? I-I can get you food,” I say as the cat growls. I shine the lantern at her and I see her stop growling and her ears flip back up. She mews softly and lets me pick her up. She lets out a soft meow and the lights flicker on in the attic. Boxes and a bowl, and a large chest. There’s writing on a golden plate on the front. I creep towards it.

Daisy the Cat. Charlotte Smith’s Beloved Pet. Died at Age 14. May She Rest In Peace.

My jaw drops and I look over at the cat in my arms. She looks up at me and I recognize her eyes. My old cat, Daisy. I had her when I was little and ever since I’ve forgotten about her. My Dad must have given her body to Aunt Val so I wouldn’t have to be dramatized all my life. I look at her and hug her tightly. A ghost cat I loved was in my arms. The garage suddenly opens and I hear Aunt Val.

“Hey, Charlotte. Sorry, I forgot to grab something,” she calls. I can’t get myself to let go of Daisy. I turn down the stairs and walk into the hall. As soon as the sunlight hits Daisy, she turns to  dust and her ghost body echoes into the attic. I look in the direction of the mew and smile. Maybe I’ll like staying at Aunt Valerie’s.

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Category: Arts & Entertainment, Creative Writing, Short Story

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