I never knew we had an actual attic. I've been down to the basement many times because the laundry machines and root cellar which I use for pantry space are down there. But I've never even considered there might be usable space above the bedroom ceilings.
But as I'm sweeping the ceiling in the upstairs hall, evicting spiders who have probably lived here for generations unnoticed, the broom pushes up a section of the ceiling. Frowning, I push a little harder and as the section of ceiling rises, a ladder slides down. I hop back out of the way, somewhat startled. How did I never know about this?
Setting aside the broom, I venture up the ladder, testing each rung carefully as I go. It's sturdy enough. Once my head is through the hole, I survey what I can see by the very dim light. It looks like some kind of storage. It also looks extremely dusty and likely to only get darker. I retreat for the moment, although leaving the ladder down, to finish what I had been working on and consider what I've discovered.
Once I'm finished my cleaning of the upstairs hall, I go down to put the broom away. Washing my hands thoroughly, I prepare and eat some lunch, since the clock is claiming it's midday. Then I gather a pile of clean rags and check the batteries in the flashlight I keep on hand for emergency blackouts. Feeling more or less adequately prepared, I carry the rags and flashlight upstairs and up the ladder to set them on the attic floor.
There is a pounding on the front door. I frown warily, since I'm not expecting company. But I descend first the ladder, then the stairs and go to see who it is. Through the ornate window in the front door, I can see two of the men in the stiff, stark suits standing on the porch. I slide the door chain, a mostly useless security precaution I rarely bother using, into place before opening the door as far as the chain will permit.
"Can I help you?"
The two men exchange what looks like a surprised glance before dropping down to one knee and bowing their heads. "Your highness."
Starting next week, I will return to posting content from my writing. Today, I'm just checking in to wish you a Happy New Year. Here's to a better year than the last one.
(Again, something from a high school assignment. Original date noted below.)
Mom was always a little strange, but when I came home one day to find her decorating the living room with Cheerios, I knew she was over the edge. I mean eating Cheerios is one thing, but looking at them all day and night is just too much.
"What's with the cereal?" I asked her.
"I thought this room looked too plain," Mom answered, "So I thought I would redecorate creatively."
"What's for supper?" I tried to change the subject.
It didn't work.
"Cheerio casserole, spinach, and boiled Cheerio pudding." Came the sickening answer.
I gagged and ran to my room.
At least she hadn't gotten in. I still remember the time Mom tried to redecorate my room with big, yellowing, old fashioned books and pictures of them. It was three months before I got rid of the last one. Seriously, what teenager wants books like Webster's Two Volume Dictionary in their room. It only weighs a ton or two.
But for now my room was the way I liked it. A few posters on the walls, a few things on the floor; not too clean, but nothing to complain about.
I shut the door and threw my backpack at the closet. I'd deal with that later. I picked a comic from under the bed and tried to forget about the cheerios in the living room.
Minutes later, Mom knocked on my door.
"Do you mind if I put a few decorations in your room?" She asked as she stuck her head in the door.
"Yes, I mind," I dropped my comic to the floor, "Could you please leave my room out of your redecorating plans?"
Mom's face fell, but she left me alone until supper time.
I was just dumping my schoolbooks on my desk when Mom called, "Supper time! Wash up and get to the table."
I cautiously opened my door and almost knocked over a large plant pot full of Cheerios. I groaned. Then I gagged on the smell coming from the kitchen.
"Hurry up!" Mom called from the dining room.
I turned around and went back into my room. From the bottom drawer of my desk, I retrieved enough money to buy my own supper at a fast food place.
As I snuck out of the house, I looked at Mom's new decorations. Ugh! I'd never seen so much cereal before. Everything, including the ceiling and floors, were covered in Cheerios.
When I got back home, I found Dad waiting for me in the living room, which had been emptied of Cheerios.
"Where's Mom?" I asked.
"I sent her to live on the Funny Farm," He answered so quietly I could barely hear him, "Her last decorating idea was just too much for any sane person to have to live with."
I agreed with him.
Original date: Sept 5/96
Coming Monday, November 30, 2020
The local library is so well known for odd occurrences that Cora never considers how a glowing, vibrating old tome could possibly have consequences beyond making a mess of the shelf. But then strange men arrive and shut down the library. And in the wake of their arrival, nothing about Cora's quiet world is quite the same again.
Available as an ebook via most ebook retailers and in print via your local Amazon
(This was written for a junior high drama class, as noted by the date at the bottom)
Once, thousands of years ago, there was no moon. At night, the people could see only by the dim light of the stars. This wasn't enough light for people to truly see anything by. Many people became upset because they couldn't do things or go out at night. Some were afraid to go out.
One night, a young woman named Moona, had a need to go out, but could not see to leave her home. She took animal skins and cut a circle from each thin scraped piece. She sewed these together to form a bag. Inside this bag, she poured oil and put a small chunk from her fire in it. Then she went outside and threw it into the air. The bag flew up and stuck in the sky among the stars. Her moon gave her enough light to travel by, but slowly, as time passed, the fire inside went out. Then, one night, it was gone. Moona could not see to go out any more. So she made a new moon and threw it into the sky.
This was repeated once a month or once a moon, as Moona called the time her moon remained lit.
Many years later, Moona made her last moon, then she died. Her spirit flew into the sky and even now, she makes each new moon when the old one goes out.
Original date: May 15/96
Thank you for your prompt reply. It was waiting when I returned to the inn. And thank you for your sage words. It means so much to me to be able to confide in someone.
I visited a temple of the healing god and learned a little: What affliction this is and why the medic hadn’t recognized it. And also I’m past being cured. However, don’t think all is lost. The records found by the priestess suggests this is something I can learn to control. I may, in time, be able to at least visit my family and friends.
For now, I’m headed out to the wildest, most isolated area I can find. I fear learning to control this will not be easy and it’s best if I’m away from populated centres for a while. When I can, I will write again. I hope with good news.
Gratefully and sincerely,
To my dear family,
I hope all of you are doing well. If you do write to me, I can’t promise to get your letters often. I will write to you anyway, as opportunity presents itself.
Speaking of which, it could be a while before I write again. I’ve been a guest of the healing god’s temple. (Don’t fear for me. I’m as well as can be.) But I think, from here, I will be headed to wilder lands in search of some quiet. And perhaps a chance for a different sort of adventure and to learn a little about the natural world. While I’ve loved our life in the city, there’s a lot I could yet learn.
I hope, when next I write to you, I will have a story or two to share.
All my love,
Thank you for being such an inspiration. And thank you for the instruction which has served me well, if not entirely in the way many originally hoped. Perhaps I will never be the lady Grandfather dreamed of when he sent me to your school. I always found it hard to picture myself in that role. But in the military, during the war – what an asset! Again, thank you.
I sincerely hope my trust in you is not misplaced. I’m in dire need of someone to confide in who is willing to advise me. This war has left its mark on me, the worst at the very end.
Usually, when returning from a scouting assignment, I encountered no one. Except the last time. I stumbled upon… or did it sniff me out? I have no clear idea what happened. I was beset by a fearsome beast tagged with enemy colours. That much I do recall. I have no memory of making it back to camp. I’m told I stumbled in under my own power, but grievously wounded. I spent the tail end of the war in the hospital tent, recovering. I know a search was made for the beast. And there was report the site of the attack was found. But the beast itself, whatever it was, had vanished without trace. I’m well enough recovered, at least in body. Honourably discharged with the declaration of the end of the war.
If only that were the end of the tale.
After my discharge, I left camp with the intention of returning home. I miss my family. But one night, camping beside the road… To be completely honest, I have no idea what happened. I crawled into my bedroll and then I woke some distance away, disoriented and aching all over. And blood, I think from a small animal. I don’t know. But I fear to return to my family. Until I know what this is, I don’t want to see anyone come to harm.
I wrote them, of course, to let them know I intend to travel a while, see the wider world. There is an inn I think I may return to frequently. Should you care to write and share your views, I would appreciate it greatly and the innkeeper will hold my letters for me.
Gratefully and sincerely,
To my dear family,
So good to hear all of you survived this horrid war and have returned home safely. You may have heard I was honourably discharged, which is true. But I don’t think I will be returning home anytime soon. As much as I would love to see all of you again, I also want to see more of the world. I’ll write, I promise. And maybe one day you’ll see me in person.
All my love,
Alexandra A. 'Lexa' Cheshire is the author of numerous novels and short stories published through Howling Wolf Books.