Growing up, I found myself to be very fond about literature. I would spend hours coming up with poems or short little stories and writing them down on paper. I had, and still have, so many that I ended up collecting them in a flat file.
I remember placing my first story in that file. The file was small, its colour little blue with a title that read ‘Lizzy’s Property’ messily scrawled on top. It was all then topped off with a bunch of star stickers stuck around the brim of one side. I held that file very near and dear to my heart. In fact, I remember myself crying in sadness when it went missing and then crying in joy when it was found. I never thought I would value a file that much.
My passion for writing seemed to be endless back then. I would fill in page after page after page with short poems, stories, drawings, anything I would think of adding I would add. I was very well known amongst my relatives to be a massive literature addict. At one point, they even gave me a nickname. ‘The Writing Child’. I was never too pleased with that nickname, it always appeared to be too cheesy or dramatic for my taste but it stuck around and I could do nothing about it.
It was all too clear that I was born with a wild imagination and that I had a creative spirit. I had a knack for writing fantasy stories about anything that would bewilder me. Aliens, princesses, mythical creatures, the list goes on.
After a few years my passion began to diminish and I would only produce one story every so often. And said story would be terrible, nonsensical and completely flawed to no end. By the time I was 15, I stopped writing altogether. It didn’t interest me anymore, it didn’t provide any fun to me and I would burn myself out when I would try to write. The file was long gone and I never bothered to look for it. I guessed it was a part of growing up.
Now, my 24-year-old self decided to experience a pang of nostalgia. After all, its good to reflect on your past once in a while.
I asked my mother in advance if she could give me that keys for the attic when I would come around to visit. We made plans and it was settled that I would come by on the 5th of September at around 3 o’clock. Since my mother lived alone, that would be the best time for her since she has a busy schedule.
Eventually that day rolled around and by 2:50 I was already there, opening the wooden brown polished door that my mum’s has always had and never replaced since I was a small child. As I entered, the aroma of a cake baking mixed with Aerosol spary sneaked its way into my nasal cavity.
I placed my keys down the table and looked around. Everything was practically the same as before say for a few pictures being taken down and some new decorations. Looking into the kitchen, I saw my mother bussling and running around in the kitchen like a madman. Chopped onions, chopped garlic and chopped carrots were messily scattered around on a tiny chopping board. She had one tea towel over her shoulder, her sleeves were rolled up and a blue apron was tied around her.
Chuckling to myself, I went to the fridge to fetch myself a drink and sat down at the table. For a 58 year old, my mum was pretty fit and fast. She was zooming around like a wild coyote.
I quickly chugged the drink down, had some small talk with my mum and made a be-line for the attic. I opened up the small section that had the doors and ket them fall down in place. Rolling the keys in my hand, I hesitated a little bit. Looking up at the stairs to the attic, it soon dawned on me exactly how old and a little bit frightening the notched, wooden stairs looked. They had a grey tint to them and they seemed to be stained. I never actually went into the attic before, as I always had no reason to traverse up the stairs to it, until now.
As I put my foot down on the first step, it creaked. At that moment, it seemed as if everything fell silent. The pictures hanging on the walls seemed more menacing, the darkness of the attic seemed to grow and my muscles seemed to have tensed up. The silence was so deafening, you could hear a pin drop. And I did hear something drop, something metallic cling against the floor. However, I payed no mind, as if in a trance, I took another step and, yet again, the stairs creaked.
Each step I took towards the attic seemed to make everything seem 10 times more distant, menacing and more…old? How would that be possible? Maybe it was just my imagination playing with my thoughts. That and the fact I was utterly terrified of the dark so seeing the attic as nothing but a dark abyss of black colour wasn’t helping me the slightest.
Lucky for me, I was careful enough to bring a flashlight. As soon as I stepped in, I turned it on, shining it all over the walls and floor. Everything was dusty and looked aged. Spiderwebs where everywhere but there weren’t any signs of spiders anywhere. In fact, there weren’t any signs of life to be seen. All of the things up in the attic seemed drained from any colour. Everything was black and depressing.
Walking around, I began to find things that reminded me of my childhood. Stacks of books, dusty toys, boxes full of old drawings. It was peaceful in a way, to look back at how I was when I was merely a small child who still had to learn so much about life.
I was soon snapped out of my daze when I heard slamming errupt from behind me. I swiftly turned around and saw that something or someone had pushed the stairs up, thus closing them and locking me in the attic. Panic soon swept over me as I ran over to them whilst fidgeting in my pocket to fish out the keys. To my dismay, the keys were gone.
Dropping to my knees, I began to bang on the ground, yell for my mum and push the stairs down as well, desperately trying to get out. Nothing. Absolutely nothing happened.
After continuing for 10 minutes straight, I soon layed down on the floor, effectively giving up. Waiting is all I could do since no other way out seemed possible. No windows were in sight and there were no other exits. I sat up, with the flashlight still in my hands.
Then I remembered why I came up the attic in the first place, to find that file. Standing up, I shined the light across the room. Boxes, books and webs were present, but no files. I began rumaging through the boxes. The attic was very very cold, making me feel like I was in the middle of Antartica. What was strange was that even though we were in the middle of summer, the attic felt like it was winter time.
After going through 2 boxes, I finally found it, my special file. However, it did not look the same as before.
The file was devoid of any colour. It was just a grey plastic mess. Scratches were visible over the title I had drawn on the file. The stars which were once yellow and intact were now stained brown and ripped. The smile in my face quickly turned to a frown.
Even though I had lost the file years ago, even though I had no interest in bringing it home with me, even though I expected it to be in a not-so-great condition, it still made me sad to see something so joyful be turned into something so dark and depressing.
Placing down the file, I began to stare at it, still taking in its awful state. For some reason, I wanted to give the file one last sign off before leaving it to rot up in the attic where no one would find it.
Opening the file, I saw one blank page sitting on top. Then, a pen seemed to appear next to the grey mess. Without questioning it, I picked up the pen and slowly started to write across the page.
A low, deep growl emmitted from the file as I kept on writing. I began to hear whispers encouraging me to continue, low pitched whispers begging me to go on. The file then started making a pool of a dark, black substance around it. It began pooling everywhere, touching my knees and shoes as it engulfed everything around it. The whispers never stopped, instead, they grew louder and louder.
I didn’t stop. I kept going, feeling nothing but the urge to write. The black substance was making its way up the walls and ceiling. Drops of it began to fall on my head, hands, face and the paper. Soon, it had encapsulated everything, trapping me in. The whispers continued, but a new voice seemed to appear just behind me. Cold hands placed themselves on my shoulders.
Thats all it said. It repeated it again and again.
I had no other choice. I had to do as I was told. Smiling, I remembered my childself writing in the file.
I never would have thought that the voice still was able to encourage me after all those years of seperation between us…