Short Story Fiction
The Attic
Scott A. Gese

The stairs led to a place where discarded memories were stored, and a secret room could be found.

the atticTama66 / Pixabay

The stairs were steep and very dark.

They were the keepers of a private domain, a sanctuary, a room of distant memories. The young girl’s curiosity had been directed toward a narrow door at the end of the upstairs hallway. It was a seldom used door standing tall behind a small and easily moved end table.

A quick peek through the keyhole revealed nothing. A turn of the unlocked doors ornate handle and a slight tug revealed much more. Its dried out hinges squeaked as it swung open. A dim light from a small window at the far end of the long hallway was enough to reveal the bottom of the staircase.

The young girls imagination took hold as she sheepishly poked her head past the threshold and peered up the stairs into the darkness.

She was old enough to know an attic when she saw one, and curious enough to enter.

She cautiously took the first few steps. They creaked and groaned their disapproval toward anyone who stepped upon their treads. She stopped to let her eyes adjust to the darkness. Then a few more, waited, then further up until she was swallowed by the darkness.

When her eyes reached the level of the attic floor, she slowly peeked above it. A small unwashed window bathed the room in a dim glow of afternoon sunlight. It was enough to give her a faint view of its long held secrets. To the young girl, attic’s were rooms where long held memories from a distant past were tucked away in old wooden trunks and dusty cardboard boxes. Long forgotten treasures left for others to discover. Today, the “others” would be her and she would not be disappointed.

She continued up the stairs and slowly walked among the items as she took them all in. A steamer trunk, old floor lamps, a dozen or more dusty boxes and an old dress form. She stopped to admire the ornate trunk. She ran her fingers through a thick layer of dust then walked to the window. A swipe of her hand wiped away years of dust, dirt and grime. She gazed out at the street far below.

Suddenly, the old stairs were groaning again. She turned to see a figure in the dim light just before the room brightened. The young girls Grandmother stood at the top of the stairs. “Cassie, what are you doing up here?” She asked.

“Just looking,” she replied, thinking she was about to be scolded.

“I see,” her Grandmother replied. “Can I look with you? It’s been years since I’ve been up here.”

The two spent several hours going through boxes of old clothes, books filled with photos and other faded memories.

Eventually, Cassie noticed a door off to the side of the room. “What’s in there, Grandma?” She asked.

Her Grandmother smiled as more old memories rushed forward. That was your Grandpas quiet room,” she replied. “This is where he came when he wanted time to himself.”

She opened the door and they both went inside. Light from another small window revealed an old rocking chair next to a small table. On it were a pipe stand that held several old pipes, an old book and small desk lamp. Across the room was a bookcase filled with more old books.

“Your Grandfather loved to read. When I couldn’t find him in the house downstairs, I knew where he was.”

Cassie picked up the book from the table and sat in the dusty old rocker.

“He was a very lucky man to have a room like this.”

The comment caused Cassie’s Grandmother to more vividly remember her long departed husband and those happier days of her past. She wiped a tear from her eye and agreed. “Yes, yes he was.”

She took hold of Cassie's hand. "I think we've had enough old memories for one day. Why don't we go downstairs. I'll make us some hot cocoa and together we can make ourselves a new memory."

The old stairs creaked as they made their way down. The attic door was closed and the old memories were left behind for another time.

© Copyright 2023 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.

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