She could hear it. Tapping. Slow at first, then faster…and faster… The house was deathly silent. Only the resonating patter of rain drops across glass filled the home. With every thump of wind against the house, her heart followed. Thump. Thump. Thump. The attic. Something was in the attic.
The lights had gone long ago as the storm tumbled on wards. The house shuddered just as her suddenly cold frame did. Holding the light of her phone up to the attic entrance – she stopped. Standing there was stupid enough. She could feel the tremors of paranoia and fright coursing through her, all because she was fixated on the latch of that door. She should move, run down the stairs, and ring her parents. And yet she couldn’t. She simply could not move.
The rapping noise continued, horrifyingly sudden and loud in her ears. As she stared, she noticed the door beginning to shudder with each noise. Something was knocking on the attic door.
Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap.
It was quicker now, so much quicker. Excited, desperate, angered. A whimper fell across her lips as the knocking became violent. There was no mistaking the rattling door now. It looked near to falling open at the hinges.
Mortified, she watched as the movement and sound stopped. It was the wind. A drought in the house because of the storm. Not realizing how shocked she had been, she noted how her pulse was racing, palms sweating, eyes watering. The perspiration across her body began to cool, sending a horrible chill up her delicate spine. The anxiety seeped from her skin like a weak poison, legs beginning to wobble gently. She began to turn for the stairs.
A scream tore from her throat.
She stumbled into the banister as the thud echoed behind her. Whirling her head around, vertigo claimed her sight. Sickness tore through her body – but not from the turn. The attic door lay wide open. A set of retractable metal stairs clattered and assembled to the floor. Ragged breaths ripped open her lungs in heaves, a wet gulp clearing her dry mouth and disorientated breathing. The thirteen-year-old stared in terror at the pitch black hole leading into the attic.
Tension seemed to hang in the air like fog. Thick, heavy and suffocating. No matter how she breathed, she couldn’t regain her breath. In a thick rush of adrenaline she strode to the stairs, clasping hold of the ice cold metal and trying to fold them back up – no success. It would not budge. She felt a weight on the stairs holding them down, nothing she could do would move them. Blinking her hazel eyes up, she noticed a piece of clothing jamming the stair’s hinges. If she could just pull it free, she’d be able to shut the attic doorway.
In a flourish of adrenaline pumped energy she stood on the first two steps, reaching up towards the grey cloth. The wind must have blown a box of old clothes over. The metal steps groaned under her small weight, shuddering as she clambered up the steps, finally grasping the material with one hand. She tugged. In one swift movement the material came free. And yet…she felt a weight behind the material. She felt a weight…a strength…pulling her with it. Gasping and muttering curses she dropped the clothing, her bare foot slipped against the corrugated metal and she hissed as she stumbled.
She waited to hit the laminate floor, to feel the wood on her side, to be able to stand and run down the stairs and away from this stupid attic door. But the contact never came. The last thing the girl felt was a cold grasp at her hair. In one swift move, she was pulled up. Screams escaped her throat. Cries for help reverberated across the abandoned house. Blood trickled from her shins as she hit them on her way up. Voice breaking. Throat tightening. Breath leaving. Darkness.
The rain trickled across the window panes, slowing to a gradual stop. The wind seemed to soften into a breeze, stopping the icy chills that drifted through the house. A door opened.
“Maddy? We’re back.”
“Sorry we’re so late, love.”
No one replied.
The door into the attic remained tightly shut. Small droplets of blood stained the laminate floor below. Not a sound ran across the house. Nothing but the calls for Madison. Nothing but the small tap…tap…tap… of a weak hand on the attic door.