As I lay in bed, staring at the wooden ceiling, I can’t help but think of the old decor. The rustic windows, the floorboards weak from overuse. That smell of dust and dry air. I cling to the soft plushness of my comforter. My head burrows itself into the pillow as my feet bunch up the ends of the covers for warmth. It is particularly cloudy tonight, so there is little natural moon light. The room seems so dark and full of question. My mind races with the thought of what could be. I can barely see anything, so here I wait for sleep to come.
As I drift away to a solemn slumber, a noise stirs my body into consciousness. A bit annoyed, I soon delve into fear as I remember my entire family is on this floor, and not above. With my skin breaking into gooseflesh beneath the covers, I try to establish some reality. The house is old and at times, will create noise from the wood and worn out places.
I try to convince myself of this, and close my eyes to fall asleep. Then, I hear another sound, a breath. Try as I might to convince myself it is only my mind, I open my eyes to see a pair of dark ones staring back at me!
I scream, loud, until it screams too. It is my younger sister. She is covered in darkness, while begging me to let her stay. I sit up, and tell her to leave, but I must admit, I would like the company.
So here we are, one adult and almost adult sharing a bed. Tucked in close, so close that I feel her quivering flesh. I too must feel the same. I tell her to stop shaking, but she can’t.
She asks me if I can hear it. I ask her hear what? She tells me it is whispering. I don’t bother to ask what it is. I turn my body over and ball myself up like a small child. She still shakes, but soon my eyes become heavy, and I awake in a room bathed in sunlight.
It is daytime, finally. After getting dressed, and going down stairs, I see our maids, Hilda, and Beatrice. The cook, Rose, prepares a variety of egg omelets. I ask them if they’ve seen my sister. When I awoke, she wasn’t in bed with me. But they say they haven’t seen her since yesterday.
During breakfast, my parents eat while their eyes dig through their phones. It is a regular morning, silent and impersonal. I ask them if they’ve seen her. Who, they ask. My sister, I say. With their eyes firmly on their devices, they simply say, no.
She is seventeen, and has a habit of doing what she wants. But we are at a summer retreat in our grandparents home. I didn’t think she would be so eager to break free with all her friends being so far away. Yet, regardless of this, my parents do nothing, but make excuses. She is simply a brat doing rebellious teenage things, they say.
After eating, I go upstairs to see if she went back to her room. Why I didn’t think of this first is beyond me. Upon entering her room, I see nothing but a messy bed, and not much else. I don’t even smell her perfume, something she would put on before leaving, or anything out of place. I close the door and walk out to see an empty hallway. At one end, a window, from the right, a stairway leading down. To the left, a stairway leading up. On the other end of the hallway, a door.
I go towards the window and to the right downstairs. As I leave, I do so with the ache in my mind that something is not quite right…
The following is a short story. Part two A Stranger Upstairs
Author is Jasmine Clark. The work is fiction, and shall not be published, or sampled without the author’s permission.
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