dVerse Poets #2 – Halloween: The Attic

This is for the Halloween Poetics on d’Verse Poets Pub.  I have submitted one already but couldn’t resist doing another. Here is the link for the fun at d’Verse:  http://dversepoets.com/2015/10/20/10958/

 

The attic in Bessie’s house was always cold. Even in July when all other attics in the world were housetop ovens, this one was cold.  Bessie was my father’s mother – Grandma Hayes.  She was a tiny, feisty wizened little woman and stronger than an ox.  Even at 80, working in the field, she left grown men behind in her dust.  And her attic was always always cold.  None of us liked going up there for anything.  We’d rock paper scissors and the loser had to go.  Slowly on the up trip, racing down the steps as if the devil were nipping at the heels.  Once, my cousin Tommy and I got into a fight; ugly fight rolling around in the red dirt – noses bleeding, tee shirts ripped.  I lost.

Grandma Hayes’ youngest grandchild died, died in that house one cold rainy Christmas.  One morning she was sniffing and sneezing and whiny – no one could touch her because she ached so badly.  The family doctor was called and came bringing into the small Christmas tree smelling room, the smell of rain and cold.  He said she had a cold and gave her baby aspirin and told her mother to give her another dose at bedtime.  In the morning, she lay still under the covers – cold and blue – her long curly red hair dank over the pillow.  Her sister in bed beside her ran screaming down the attic stairs, ‘”Sandra won’t wake up Sandra won’t wake up Sandra….”.  Up the stairs the adults ran.  Curled into herself, smaller than a terrier puppy, she lay making barely a dent under the quilts.  A few days later she was buried in the family cemetery.  Laid to rest in the red mud, the mud oozing down onto her casket.  The cause of death was an aspirin overdose.  No one knew she had eaten a bottle of the orange flavored baby aspirin for candy a few days before she died.

I lost the fight.  I had to go out of the blazing July heat up into that cold attic to fetch down a jar of watermelon rind pickle.  I stood before the door breathing fast and trying to calm myself.  I grasped the door knob and began the slow ascent of the narrow stairs.  Almost at the top, you could look through the railings and see the bed.  No, I said to myself. No.  I leaned my forehead against the rail and forced my eyes open.  NO NO NO.  Across the dusty pillow was the glint of long curly red hair, picking up the lone sun beam that had strayed through the tattered curtain.  I could not make myself go forward and I was afraid to turn my back.  I panted, almost faint with fear.  Not there not there not there.  I saw her small face.  And then, she opened her eyes.

Summer heat becomes
frost and fear – the scariest
ghost stories are real.

 

free public domain

free public domain

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