Short Story: The Enigmatic Attic


Kelsie V. and Tessa H.

Chapter 1 – Ophelia’s Lores

Strange occurrences were surrounding the misty attic up at Aunt Ophelia’s mansion. 

Filling my lungs with a sweet autumn breeze, I reached for the rusty copper door handle of my aunt’s house. I cautiously opened the door, overgrown with unruly wisteria vines and secrets not once revealed. My eyes took time to adjust to the dim lighting, and a small figure came into my view as I let my deep breath out.

“Aunt Ophelia?” 

I stepped in and found an old, weary woman sitting quietly, knitting, her hands trembling with every swoop of her needles. She shifted in her large arm chair embroidered with a faded floral print; it nearly swallowed her up. The few streaks of sunlight that were able to sneak through her thick windows refracted against her rickety oak hutches and illuminated the dust wandering through the air. Yellowed striped wallpaper that told cheerful stories now peeled off of the walls, revealing the crumbling foundations of the once exquisite manor.

“Myrtle?” She sighed and set her needles aside. “Are Sadie and Aspen at it again?”

I tentatively nodded, knowing my parents would never get along. They had been having arguments about every little thing. Especially my aunt’s health condition, since her house was aging as fast as she was. And I was the only one able to keep her company after school, since my parents both had to work jobs late into the night.

Ophelia smiled weakly and tried to change the subject, knowing my relationship with my parents was a rather tense one. “I see you still have Piper.”

Gently grasping the tiny, yet rambunctious, olive-colored frog between my fingers, I knelt down next to my sickly aunt.

“Hey, at least they haven’t taken her from me.” I tried to pull my lips into a smile, and she noticed my forced effort.

Ophelia pulled me closer into a warm hug. Her lavender- and powder blue- colored knit sweater enveloped me like a blanket, a protective layer. “It’ll be okay. Every story has a happy ending, you know?”

“Oh, you always say that.” I shook my head submissively. Tears pricked at the corners of my eyes, but I quietly fought them off.

Ophelia squeezed my hand, her skin softened by time. “But it’s true.”

“For some people, I guess. But not for this fractured family,” I muttered condescendingly, looking down at Piper, her wide, beady eyes gazing back at me. Believe, they seemed to say. Believe.

Chapter 2 – Unfolding Secrets

Ophelia struggled to stand up, her knees wavering, then suddenly crumpling to the ground. She winced, and her eyes crinkled with seething pain.

I bolted to her in fright, hoisting her up and on to the armchair again. My heart was racing all the faster, even though accidents like these happened often now.

“Are you okay?” I uttered as I trembled with as much fear as her. Ophelia’s fingers shook visibly as she pointed to her cane. Little sound escaped from her strained throat, but I could tell what she needed. I guess I had grown closer with her during the time we spent together.

Bringing the cane to her hastily, I placed it in her hands and she stood with a great sigh. Ophelia beckoned me over to her fireplace, adorned with cherished photographs of every relative, wilted daisies and wildflowers in a vase, and a dainty china teapot. Soot littered the base of the fireplace and was smeared across the chipped clay bricks. I curiously glanced around the inconspicuous area, wondering what she had in store for me now. Hopefully, it wasn’t an outlandish story about spirits and ghosts and souls. She had been telling me a lot of those, and they always contained an underlying warning. It was starting to creep me out.

“Come closer,” she rasped, her warm breath drifting around me, thawing my stiff hands. We locked eyes, and I sensed plea and fret in her expression, in the deepened lines of her wrinkles. “I have to tell you something.”

Chapter 3 will be added in an update, so check back soon!