Jessica loved visiting her grandma’s house. It was a big house, on the outskirts of a small town, with large yard and an orchard in the back. Jessica’s grandma lived alone, though there was a gardener who dropped by every week to tend her flowers.
Jessica’s grandma was quite an active woman for her age, and was rarely in the house at all. Often, she took Jessica with her, to the market or to meet friends at the coffee shop or to the enormous park that seemed to take up half the town. But there were times when she went out alone, leaving Jessica in the care of Ellie, a helpful but often absent-minded teenager who lived nearby and whose parents had known Jessica’s grandma for many years. Before she left, Jessica’s grandma always made sure to mention one thing: Jessica had no restrictions on her, and had full run of the house. Except the attic. Jessica was never to go up to the attic.
She had often wondered about that. There was a small set of stairs in the passageway that led up to the attic. Jessica would sometimes stand at the bottom of those stairs, looking up and wondering what secrets lay in there. But she never dared go up. She had, on some nights, heard the stairs creak, followed by the creaking of the attic door. Strange noises came from in there. Whispers, but they didn’t sound like hushed human voices. They sounded…strange. She had asked her grandma about them once. The question went unanswered, but there was a look in her grandma’s eyes, a look that made Jessica shiver whenever she thought of it. She never asked about the attic again.
It was just another summer’s day at grandma’s house. Jessica ran up the stairs to the first floor landing and headed for her room. It was too nice a day to stay cooped up inside. Ellie was going to take her out to the pool, so she went to grab her bathing suit. She passed by the stairs that led up to the attic, and stopped. She heard voices. The same inhuman voices that she’d heard on some nights. She had never heard them during the day before.
Curious, she put one foot on the stairs, but promptly stepped back when she heard it creak. She looked around nervously. Ellie was down in the living room, talking on the phone to a young man she liked. She referred to him as her boyfriend, but could never say the word without her cheeks turning bright red. She would likely be on the phone for a while. Maybe Jessica could just take a quick peek in the attic. Who would know?
After another moment’s hesitation, she made up her mind. Just one peek. She climbed up the stairs, which creaked loudly. The voices from beyond the attic door got louder, sounding excited. What was in there? Jessica’s legs were shaking. Did she really want to know? The voices were really loud now, and definitely not human. She was having second thoughts. This was a bad idea. She turned to go down and the voices stopped. Jessica stood there for a moment, surrounded by complete silence. No, she could hear a voice again. It was Ellie, still on the phone. Curiosity overtook caution and Jessica placed a hand on the door to the attic. She could feel it pulsing gently, to the rhythm of her own heartbeat. Jessica took a deep breath and pushed the door open. Eyes looked back at her from the darkness. So many eyes. Jessica opened her mouth to scream but the sound never came out.
Before she knew it, she was just another pair of eyes in the attic. She didn’t know how much time had passed, but she could hear voices outside. It was Ellie, calling out for her. Surrounded by darkness, Jessica felt hungry. She could feel her hunger intensify as the voice got nearer and she waited for the stairs outside to creak.