The Girl in the Attic

CHAPTER 2

Christina was shaking, her heart was beating so loud that she could not hear anything over the rapid lub-dub. She wanted to call Dave and tell him how she felt but for one, she didn’t know what she felt and second Dave firmly believed that she had a mental illness.

Christina, a 27yr old real estate agent, satisfied with her life and job, firm believer of living in the moment and enjoying every second of life, had met Dave in a hospital four years ago. She had encountered a head injury because of her “enjoy every second” mantra resulted in a bike accident. Thankfully the injury wasn’t too serious and Dave was a great doctor. Dave fell too, but he fell head over heels for Christina and they had been together since.

They had decided to buy a new place together as a result of which they moved in this good, spacious and beautiful house two weeks ago. It was a love at first sight and Christina managed to get it at a great price. (which shocked even her) The love didn’t last long though. After a lovely uneventful week, strange activities started happening.

It all started four days ago. Dave was returning from work when he noticed that the attic’s light was on. The attic was the most desolate and dirty place in the whole house. Seeing it’s condition, both the lovers had decided to put off the cleaning process and had dumped all the boxes there. Reasoning that the light must be faulty, Dave went up there and switched it off.

It was Saturday the next day and Dave had one of those marathon surgeries. It meant that he’d be out for atleast 13-14 hours. Probably would sleep in the hospital too. Christina had planned a movie marathon for herself. Only if she knew what was to come.

She was making breakfast, when she felt a queer presence around us. As if someone was standing behind her! She turned around….but no one was there. She could still feel it though! The presence. Like someone was standing very close to her. There was an acrid smell, a very faint smell in the air…..she could smell it, feel it. But could not see it.

Christina, laughed at her foolishness and continued with her work. She started humming a song to distract herself from this strange incident and calm her heart that had increased its pace for no apparent reason, when the cutlery stand near the sink fell with a loud bang making her jump.

Now this was beyond strange. No one was there, the day was calm with no wind and the stand was pretty sturdy.

She slowly walked towards it, with one apprehensive hand outstretched. She could feel that presence again, and this time it was talking. Shouting rather. But it was all muffled. And then, something touched her hand. Christina screamed, she backed off from the place, not removing her eyes from the fallen stand.

“What is happening? Have I gone mad? What is all this?” Her frightened mind raised questions she could not explain.

She was just catching her breath when she started on the sound of the bell. Someone was at the door. She ran, hoping to see Dave, but instead found Mrs. Norris, their next door neighbor. She had bought cookies for her. Seeing this tempting opening, Christina left the house, to spend the day anywhere but here.

After convincing herself that it was nothing to worry about, Christina returned home at about 10…took a sleeping pill and was knocked out cold till 10 in the morning. Dave hadn’t returned, but she was feeling good. She decided against telling him everything that supposedly happened.

She was going about her usual morning routines and was almost done brushing her teeth, when those sounds came back. She looked around the bathroom but no one was there. Was it a good thing or a bad thing….she didn’t know. She turned to the mirror again and the sight made her skipped a beat.

There was a reflection of a woman, just behind her. She had a completely burned face and her body was mostly skeleton with burnt flesh hanging from it. The face was agitated! It was angry, it was shouting! The figure realised that it had been spotted. It started shouting which contorted her face to a much more horrific look. Christina’s body pumped up all it’s hormones and she ran, grabbed her phone and ran as fast and as far as she could. Only when she felt certain that she couldn’t run anymore, and that the burnt woman cannot reach her admist these many people did she stop.

Frantically, she dialed Dave and listening to her, his groggy voice went alert. On hearing her story, he asked her to wait where she was whilst he come pick her up. She could tell he didn’t believe her, he was using his “patient voice”. She expected what was to come and accepted all the counselling and medication without resistance.

They spent the night in a hotel, to calm Christina down. However, she woke up in her own bed. Soon her doubts and fears were calmed by Dave, who had taken an off to take care of her. The morning was uneventful….probably all of them were right. It was a chemical imbalance in her brain causing her to see false things and resulting in a condition called schizophrenia. But now, since the medication was working its magic, she felt better.

It was around 4pm and Dave decided to go grocery shopping. Christina felt pretty confident now. She was reading a magazine and having some coffee when she heard scratching noise in the kitchen. She went inside to see what all the fuss was about. Her brain was trying to figure out all the logical reasons, whereas her heart defying all records of a “racing heart”.

She could not believe what she saw. A knife was engraving something on the kitchen cabinet.
|…|-…H
|…|_…E
|…….L
” HEL”

She did not realise how close she had ventured to the cabinet until the writing stopped. The knife dropped, and a coarse, cold hand grabbed her by the wrist. Christina screamed as loud as her lungs would predict….she was crying, pleading to the air to let her go….when she heard a muffled scream going “NOOO”.

She didn’t know why the thing let her go, but as soon as the grip lightened, Christina ran out of her house ending up here, in her front lawn. Crying and whimpering. Wishing she could call Dave, but she already knew what he’d say.

She could not think of anything, all she saw was Mrs. Norris in her kitchen and she ran to her house, ringing ten bells at one go.

Mrs. Norris came rushing out with a hint of worry on her calm old face. The sweet and generous 70yr old, saw Christina and instinctively started calming her and ushering her in. She gave her some tea, and tried to calm her down. Mrs. Norris was the type of person who could make you feel safe. Her presence had a hypnotic effect. Like the one you get when you slip into a warm blanket on a cold day….safe and comforting.

When Christina could talk again, she started telling everything to Mrs. Norris. The old soul listened to her not with suspicion but with pity and wonder. Not once did she flinch on the mention of all the demonic activities. And her only reaction was….

” Oh Dear Lord, this means Lysa has come back”.

To be continued….

Aprajita Rana

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