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4/14/08
What We Did This Weekend, or Alternatively, Eat Your Heart Out Bulwer-Lytton

It is a dark and stormy night on the eve of the second Friday in April, and the house where our tale begins is dark except for the lone light that shines out dimly through the torrents of rain- the room on the second story of the house where it's occupants huddle together while they wait out the brunt of the fierce storms; talking of happier things like the pros and cons of having a dedicated 220v line for the hot tub vs a 110v standard plug model. The hour is roughly half past ten and the storm lashes against the windows in its relentless attack on the wood (and concrete, and vinyl siding) structure while brilliant white lightening flashes and thunder booms through the turbulent night like cannon fire from a ship's deck. Suddenly, a strange thump-thump-thump-thump! noise resounds through the house, seemingly originating from directly above the occupants' heads, almost as if the storm had blown a stray tree limb or something of that likeness onto the roof, and it was rolling off again; which admittedly is a bit far-fetched as a theory since there are no trees close enough to the house to drop limbs onto the roof. The occupants of the room, two human and two feline, cease in their discussion, (the humans' discussion anyway, as the felines had no particular opinion and were just listening at this point) regarding the energy efficiency of hot tub voltage over a period of time as compared to the cost of hiring a local electrician to run a dedicated line for the increased power, and glance up at the ceiling as if to ask themselves the cause of the mysterious thumping, and from where upon it originated. After a brief whispered conference, the room's inhabitants agree that the most logical place in which to look for the source of the explicable thumping sound is indeed, in the very attic that abides above their heads, that is, the very same attic that is always advanced upon with a slight feeling of unease, especially on storm-tossed evenings such as this one, which only serves to amplify the creaks and rustles and general creepiness that comes with a dark, seldom used space.

And so Tony, as his parents had called him in the hour of his birth seven and twenty years previously, as the sole man of the house, (for it was the simple virtue of his gender that won him this particular unpleasant assignment in the first place), was elected to sojourn up to the attic space and investigate the aforementioned thumping, and upon a successful survey of the area, report back with his findings as to the source of the unusual sound to the other occupants of his group waiting earnestly below. Resigned to his lot, Tony removed himself from his bedchambers, donned some pants, took up a small flashlight normally kept in the bedroom for the sole purpose of providing a light source during power outages caused by storms such as the one that raged on this very night, and journeyed into the hallway outside the bedroom to slowly lower the creaking trap door and ladder that leads from the hall up and into the attic above. As Tony advances hesitantly up the ladder, he is reminded of the long pull chain attached to the single light bulb that allowed the user to illuminate the attic prior to climbing the stairs; unfortunately, that pull chain snapped into multiple pieces roughly a year past, thus requiring the explorer to ascend the ladder on faith and allow himself to be engulfed completely by the inky black void that is the attic entrance before being able to access the light at the top. Meanwhile, the storm rages on; rain slashes up against the bedroom window, lightning flashes, and thunder booms loud enough to shake the house while the stalwart Tony, armed only with the little red Scooby Doo flashlight, steps up on the first rung of the ladder, then the second, then the third, until his entire head and torso disappear into the black, the tiny light from the flashlight no match for the murky darkness. Another thump! The flashlight's beam darts madly back and forth, searching in the shadows of Christmas decorations and boxes of old clothes and books, the ray of light cutting through the dust and the stale smell of air that has been closed up too long. As rain pounds on the roof inches above his head, drowning out all other sounds save his racing heartbeat, Tony's every instinct tells him that he isn't alone up here. Suddenly, the flashlight catches something over in the far corner! A pair of eyes stare back at him from the darkness! His fingers fumble for the lone light bulb's pull chain, and the figure of a masked stranger materializes out of the shadows, his malice-filled eyes locking with Tony's from behind the anonymity of his disguise! Tony freezes in surprise, but as survivalist instinct long ago buried under the guise of civilized existence rises out of dormancy once again, he realizes that his greatest chance at survival is to outrun the intruder back to the opening of the attic, leap from the ladder, and slam the door shut, thus trapping the burglar in his attic-cage until the proper authorities can be notified and can come to our aid, thus ridding our attic of this malfeasant intruder that has taken up residence- the crafty (if now comfy) raccoon.

2 comments:

Jean said...

Great story! Im going to guess this said masked bandit is still prowling around in the attic?

Erin said...

My heart was pounding, I tell ya! So brave of Tony to go up. I hope you can manage to evict the prowler.