Sunny and I went up to the attic to look for Halloween decorations.
She was a bit spooked, walking close behind me. I don’t think she likes cramped spaces, not to mention how chilly it was. Suddenly, a little spark was caught in the beam of the flashlight I was holding, followed by a dark shadow. It scurried across the ground.
She hugged onto Norville, letting out a startled squeal.
"It’s okay," I told her, as calmly as I could. “It was just a silverfish. They don’t hurt.” I gave her a light hug. I panned the light over more boxes, trying to figure out where in the heck we put the dang decorations for the spooky season.
"I'll... I'll ch-ch-check over there," she said, trying to be brave. But, I could hear the stutter.
"Sure, call me if you need me," I replied, gently. I continued looking, but all I saw were Christmas, Easter, and then more Christmas decorations. Like, I know my dad likes Christmas but sheesh!
"Uh... H-Hey, I think I f-found something," I heard her call.
"Oh ye--ow!" I bumped my head on the angled ceiling. Grumbling, I hunchedly made my way to her to avoid another bonk. "Yeah?" I asked.
I have to admit, the way she was bent over, in her skirt, and then looked back over her shoulder... She was... Really cute. B-But, she was nervous, don't think about that silly stuff, now.
She made room for me as I approached. "Huh... I don't remember this being up here," I muttered, seeing a small chest. It looked like a Halloween thing: it was made of a dark wood that wasn't smoothed out, so it was kinda bumpy.
It had a lock, but that lock was so rusted it crackled and broke as soon as I gave it a gentle tug.
She let out a nervous mew.
"Let's see what's inside," I suggested. I opened it up, and within was a layer of silk or some other such fabric. I worked that away, and uncovered the spines of several books. "Oh whoa," I muttered, gently tracing my fingers over the vertebrae of soft-leather bindings. "I wonder what these are," I thought aloud, selecting one at random.
She rested her chin on my shoulder, probably raising up on her tippy-toes to do so, as I opened the book up. It had the most delightful crackle that made both of us shiver with satisfaction--nothing like the sound of an old book stretching itself from a long slumber.
"Weird..." We both whispered, as I turned the pages. The book had diagrams, and calligraphic scribing that was tricky to read at first.
"It looks like a spell-book," I remarked.
"Where could it have come from?" She asked.
"My dad was in lots of plays and stuff like that," I told her. "I bet this is a prop or something from one of those." I settled onto a page, and rested my finger along the script. "Asahn, l'ibn thil l'theer," I said aloud.
"Wh-Wh-What are you doing?" She asked, nervously.
I chuckled. "Casting a spell," I joked. "Craugh otum aruh ehz'hn b'thehl."
"Stopit-stopit-stopit," she pleaded in quick whispers.
"Aw c'mon, I’m only having fun," I replied. "It's just a prop. My dad probably wrote all this." My eye fell back onto the page. "Gair'oht liquai, sabin l'ibn lumh!" I finished the spell, and closed the book with a soft thump.
She held onto me tightly, letting out another nervous mew.
"Chill, girl," I told her, "that was clearly mumbo-jumbo. Heck, I probably didn't even say any of it right, anyway,” I handed the book back to her, “let’s keep this in mind, but I still gotta find the real decorations. I think they’re over…”
I brushed past her, slowly walking along and panning the light over the boxes and bins. Suddenly, she squealed. I whipped back to where she was, and the book fell onto the floor.
“I-I-I-It moved!” She stammered, taking another step back. She gasped when she bumped into me.
I wrapped my arms around her, holding her tight. “Pretty sure it just fell,” I chuckled, nuzzling her cheek. “It’s kinda gross up here,” I remarked, letting her go. “Why don’t I keep looking, and you can check on mom and see if she needs any help wi--”
Just then, the sound of a page turning caught our ears.
“S-S-See?” She pointed. “It moved on its own!”
“It was just a draft or something,” I reassured.
But then, the pages started turning rapidly.
“Whoa!” I held her arms. “Did you see that? It moved on its own!”
“It. Was just. The wind.” She sneered back at me in a mocking voice.
“Okay c’mon,” I insisted, turning and taking her wrist in my hand. “Let’s get outta here and get mom.” Even as I tried to take her a few steps away with me, I could hear some strange noises coming from behind. A tearing sound, like the pages were ripping from the book.
I took a hurried step--and her wrist slipped out of my hand.