Ty listened hard to the sound, looking up at the locked door and wondering what was going on in there. The new house was creaking and not just because of the wind, there was something in the attic.
Mum and Dad said it was nothing, just the noises old houses make but Ty was old enough to know what was normal and what was not. The sounds in the attic were defiantly in the not area. It was difficult to make out what the scrapping, scratching and low moaning could be, maybe an animal?
Ty turned and went down the large staircase, he was just high enough at eight years old that his hand could hold onto the too smooth banister. The hall light was on at the bottom but the corridor was still dark. Light was spilling out of the living room door like a welcome sign and focusing on that helped Ty make it all the way there.
His parents were on the sofa watching the TV which for now was balanced on a coffee table. Around the room, were stacked cardboard boxes and mis-match furniture – some from the old house and some from the new. There was a empty fire place in the back wall and the left wall was all windows that were now blocked out by heavy curtains.
‘Mum, Dad,’ Ty called out, ‘I think there’s an animal trapped in the attic!’
His parents turned to him, looking at first disgruntled then confused.
‘What do you mean, Ty?’ his Mum asked.
‘Come and listen to the noises.’
‘That’s just the house,’ Dad explained.
Ty shook his head and held out his hand. He led his Mum upstairs, his Dad following behind. They past their bedroom, the bathroom, TY’s bedroom, turned the bend and came to the front of the steps leading up to the attic. There they stood and listened.
There was nothing at first, just the faint drift of noise from the TV and a car outside. Then came a low moaning like a cat or dog in pain. A tapping of claws? Nails? on a wooden floor, a scratching like a dog wanting to go out and the sliding movement of wood against wood.
‘See,’ TY whispered.
He watched his parents looking at each other.
‘It does sound like something, doesn’t it,’ Dad said.
He walked up the stairs slowly, each step creaking under his weight. He felt around the door frame, disturbing a line of dust which floated down to TY and his mum.
‘What’s he doing?’ TY whispered.
‘Checking for a way to get in,’ m=Mum whispered back.
‘Ah ha!’ Dad said and turned to show them the small key in his hand.
He unlocked the door and turned the handle. A mouth of darkness yawed before them.
Ty crept up the stairs, feeling nerves and excited at the same time. What was going to be there? Something hidden from the past?
The light pinged on and an awful smell filled the air. Ty stopped and put his hand over his mouth, he was going to be sick. He swallowed a few times, saw his Dad was also effected by the stink and carried on climbing to join him.
The attic was a mess; furniture broken, contains of boxes ripped up, things scattered everywhere and some animal had been to the bathroom all over the place it seemed.
‘What an earth?’ Dad muttered.
Then they both saw it coming out from behind the remains of a chair a large dark shadow which was slowly creeping towards them.
TY grab his Dad’s hand, feeling numb with fear as whatever it was came closer.
The shadow came into the edge of the light and they saw it was only a dog. A big, fluffy brown dog which was trailing a lead behind it.
‘What is it?’ Mum called as she came upstairs to join them.
‘A dog!’ Dad cried, ‘the last family must have left him behind!’
‘What a stink and mess!’
The dog hung his head guilty and give a swing of his tail.
‘Poor thing! He’s staved. Who would do such a thing?’ Mum added.
‘Bad people,’ Dad answered then tried to call the dog over, ‘come here boy, we won’t hurt you, come on.’
The dog didn’t move and let out a little moan.
‘Come here dog,’ TY called, ‘you hungry?’
The dog whined and came forward, shaking slightly. Once the dog was close enough, Dad held out his hand which the dog sniffed then Dad took hold of the lead and they all went down into the kitchen.
There it was clear the dog was very hungry and thirsty. He was also friendly enough and grateful to have been saved.
Dad untangled the lead and found the dog was wearing a collar with a tag.
‘His name is Rex,’ Dad announced.
‘Rex,’ Ty repeat and hugged the dog, ‘we’ll take care of you now!’
(Inspired by; https://secretkeeper.net/2018/10/08/weekly-writing-challenge-162/ with thanks).