An eccentric aunt goes away and leaves her niece in charge....
|I always stayed clear from Aunt Zina. The whole family did because she was simply too strange for us. She dabbled in the powers of diamonds, looking to them for guidance in all her important decisions. She made spells and chanted in certain times of the year, according to the moon. She'd partake in such uncanny rituals that made we wonder if she was ever really related to us at all. When I asked my mother about her, her voice would dull down to a whisper, as though being overheard and she would tell me that Aunt Zina decided to keep following through the old religions and ancient rituals that is largely based on superstitions and supernatural beliefs. Mother told me how she herself aborted these ideas very early on and vowed to stay clear of them until the end. Someone many many years ago way before Aunt Zina or my mother were born, were of these old time religion. It for the most part died out from generation to generation, but Aunt Zina's intrigue got the better of her and she adopted these ways very early on.
My intrigue was raised a little as to what kind of things, Aunt Zina got up to when she was by herself in that big dark house. I never felt the pull however to follow my intrigue, until one afternoon mum came to me, nervously rubbing her hands. Her face was pale and her steps were measured. I waited patiently for her to speak, offering gentle props. "Did someone die?" I asked.
Mother shook her head. "No, that would probably be easier to deal with." I felt a little scared at the time. "We need to go and look after Aunt Zina's house for a while whilst she's away."
"Oh." Was all that I could muster to get out because fear and concern were mounting up, making it hard to speak.
Mum continued. "So she never asks for any favors,and I think it won't be too bad. It's only three nights."
"Three nights, that's way too long."
"She has to go into town...Some conference."
"Don't know....She' waiting on the phone, what should I say?"
"I don't know, your choice mum."
Mum nodded and smiled worriedly.
"Zina, we will come, but only for 3 days, nothing more.....Yes, we will. See you tomorrow."
I was angry that it was all happening so soon. "Tomorrow, the long weekend? Great, what about my friends, what about my date mum?"
"It'll just have to wait."
"Why are you doing this?"
"Zina is my older sister. She's never asked for anyone and she raised me when your grand mother died."
"Fine then, three nights in a strange house, fine!"
I packed my things and we drove out early the next day. Even as we drew closer to the place, the air became more dense and thick, there was some omen hanging over you like a heavy cloud. It stuck on your skin like a cobweb you couldn't take off. I took my head phones off and peered out of my window. The long path leading up to the massive house was a dark coal color. The mansion was spectacular to look at. It reminded me of an ancient castle, seemed strange to be lived in by just one person.
I found myself asking. "How did she come to live in such a place as this?"
Mum cleared her throat as she sat silently for a minute and turned off the ignition of the car. "It's our great great great Grand dad's house. He too was a firm believer of the Wicca religion. He was like a Warlock, he's wife a Witch....White sorcery, but in my view no sorcery is good." She popped open the boot. "Let's go."
I pulled my gear out and waited for mum. Mum pulled out her small bag and walked up the path, pausing half way for me. I followed slowly behind. Mum dug into her pocket, and pulled out the oddest looking key I ever saw. It was long and spindly and shaped like a bone. "A key was cut for me a long time ago, Grand dad's intention was for us to live together but I refused. I always kept the key safely hidden though, just in case I had to visit my sister one day."
I didn't answer, just quietly walked, taking in the surroundings of the three story mansion. With a fresh coat of paint and a mean clean it wouldn't be half bad.
Mum was very nervous as she approached the door. I could tell by the way her fingers trembled as she put the key into the lock and turned. She tucked the key safely back into her coat pocket. She pushed the door open, it moved forward with a groan. The place was clean inside. Aunt Zina kept it well. We walked down the enormous hall way and into a side room that had a huge long table that was already set and waiting for us. We heard a shuffling noise behind and automatically turned at the same time, but saw nothing. "Maybe a mouse." Said mum.
We were very hungry and thirsty and walked over to the table. There was a silver card of paper in the center. It read. "After such a long journey, you must be hungry and needing refreshments. Please help yourselves to the cold cuts of meat and the ale provided. Your rooms are the second story up, Victor will be along shortly to help you. Oh whatever you do, please ignore the sounds from the Attic. It is the way it has to be."
Mum re read the last part of the sentence three times in whispers before placing the letter back away in the envelope,
"What do you think she's got in there? I asked.
Mum ignored my question and passed me a tray of bread roles. I took one and bit into it slowly.
Mum looked around her at the odd pictures on the wall. "This place creeps me out. She got up and turned on a light switch. The Chandelier above gave a dull glow. We ate the rest of the meal in silence. Not knowing what to do afterwards, we decided to put our things away in our rooms. Not wanting to be alone at night, I opted to stay in mum's huge bed. We were both so tired and went to bed early but I lay there stiff as a board, afraid to breath and I couldn't sleep. I just had this evil spiritual presence about me, it seemed to be all around me, inside my head and heart, it made me feel sick. I poked mum and got no response so she must have drifted off to sleep. I covered my face with the pillow and tried and tried in vain to sleep, but wouldn't allow myself too in fear that something terrible might happen if I did. My eyes were sore and my lids were heavy but I would not give over to it. Then I started to hear it...The whining, terrible wailing. It was soft at first, so soft that I thought I may have imagined it, but then it became louder and louder, until it encompassed the whole building. It was in my ears and head, it hovered over me, around me, piercing my heart. I could not ignore it. It was so shrill and terrifying that it woke mum up with a start. "What's that?" She asked, grabbing my arm. "I don't know...It's coming from down there, in the attic."
"Aunt Zina told us not to go there, remember?" Mum said.
"But something is in trouble...In terrible pain, can't we at least see if they need help?"
"NO, we must stay here where we're safe."
"But it's too loud, I can't sleep."
"Don't go anywhere." Mum said.
I sprung up and threw off the sheets. "I have to mum. I need to know what it is."
"NO." Said mum. "At least not on your own."
Mum and I edged our way through the house, flicking on dull lights as we passed. The nearer we got to the Attic, up and up, the louder the screams became. At the small dark door, mum pushed. She squeezed her way through the entrance and I followed. At first we saw nothing but cobwebs and old boxes and sheets. Then suddenly a light filtered through supernaturally in the center of the room. An old rocking chair moved back and forth with an invisible presence that howled and howled. Mum said. "Show yourself."
Suddenly the image of a young girl with her head bowed down appeared. Her flowing red hair cascading over her shoulders and the back of her chair.
I was so terrified I wet myself. The hot urine ran down my legs and onto my toes and suddenly froze. Mum seemed a lot braver.
The young woman mumbled incoherently in languages we could not understand.
Mum pleaded with her. "What are you saying?"
The young girl said in a hushed whisper. "You can't help me, no one can."
"Please, what did you say?" Asked mum.
The girl sat, bolt up right and her eyes glowed red. "I'm cursed!"
I ran as far as I could away from the attic but mum was still there and I couldn't understand why she wasn't following me. I thought I heard conversations going on back and forth in hushed tones as though mum understood what the monster in the Attic was talking about. I crept cautiously back to the attic and crouched by the door to listen.
"That was a long time ago, you need to let it go." Mum was saying. "You need to let this place go. It doesn't belong to you any more."
"But, Zina has something of mine I need, or I will never move on."
I heard mum's calm voice respond. "If you have the stone would you then move on?"
The girl responded. "It was mine to begin with. Grand daddy gave it to me. My cousin stole it."
"I know." Mum said.
She called out to me. "Sarah, go to the cupboard in the room we are staying in. There is a safe in the wall. Zina told me of it when I was just a child. I never believed her. Quick, go to the safe now, turn the dial three times anti clock wise and make an arch with your fingers. Take out the emblem and shut the safe. It will automatically lock.
"I'm not coming back in there." I called to mum.
"Just do it, hurry. I'm trying to free this girl."
I ran as fast as I could but almost there I heard a voice from behind. "Why aren't you in bed, young lady?" An old tall man smiled strangely at me. Then he laughed. "Is this what you want?" He opened his hand to show me a tear shaped emerald, glowing green. I reached for it but he pulled it away. "Zina told me to protect this whilst she was away. Did you think it'd be that easy? You don't even know what would happen if it were in the wrong hands do you? You should let that young lass cry because she is pure evil. She wants this, she craves it, but she cannot have it! Never! Don't you see? There will be evil all around us, don't you know? She's not of our kind..."
"Who are you?" I asked.
"Victor, Zina's keeper. Now I'm telling you, you should have heeded the warning not to go there. You must stay away."
"No! My mother is there. I need to save her. She thinks she can help the girl."
"Then they are both doomed, she will be trapped there forever with her."
"NO." I went to turn and run to go back to the Attic but Victor had grabbed my arms and his long bony fingers were biting into my skin.
"Let go!" My mother's up there!"
Victor laughed. "Do you still want this?" He said showing me the jewel.
"I just want my mother."
I ran and ran up the rickety stairs to the attic. I pushed open the door and climbed in. I was too late! The demon had gotten too impatient of waiting for the stone I suppose. My mother was hunched over in a dark pool of red and the young demon was consuming her! A gruesome image of blood was around her lips. She looked up at me and smiled. I was frozen with shock. I couldn't even move. I heard heavy footsteps behind me and someone had come through the door and thumped down. It was Victor. "You will pay for this." He said. "You have destroyed one of Zina's own."
The drunken demon, high on blood, clambered slowly over to Victor. "Give me the stone and I'll be gone."
Victor laughed. "You want this? Then Come and get it!"
The demon girl reached Victor and stretched her pale, bloody arms out to clasp the stone. Victor lunged forward and rammed the emblem deep into the girl's chest. She screamed and died almost at once. Victor then crouched over my mother, trying to heal her I assume. Then he looked up to me and shook his head. "You shouldn't have come to the attic. Helping people was always your mother's down fall. My powers aren't strong enough to heal her. I will have to summon Zina from her conference."
When aunt zina arrived, whom I'd never met, she went into loud raging wails and hysteric screams at seeing her sister so brutally killed and she tore out large sheets of her own hair. Victor stopped her. "Enough of that! You are wasting time. Leave some energy to heal her. Put your energy into that!"
"I should never of asked her to come here."
"Come on now, too late for regrets. Heal your sister, your power is stronger than mine."
Zina put her hands over the lifeless body of my mother's gaping wounds. At first nothing happened but by and by a glow surrounded my mother. She was raised up from the ground, mid air a few minutes, before floating back down again and all her wounds were clean as though nothing ever happened. Mum gasped and breathed in some air. Zina embraced mother and Mother tried to speak. Zina asked her not to. Victor carried her up to bed. It took a week for mum to be able to even move a little, but she never fully returned to her old self. The sadness was too much for me and I decided to go back home alone, leaving Zina to look after mum.
One night I had this eery feeling that something wasn't right. I couldn't sleep. I was gently nudged by something and I woke up. My mother was standing there in a long night gown. I think it was one of Aunt Zina's. I was frightened to see mum there in the middle of the night but mum said. "I'm here to say good bye, Sweet Sarah. I never completely healed. You were right never to want to go to that place! But I know there's a better place where I won't feel pain."
I kissed my mother and watched sadly as she faded away.