At first she thought it was a mouse scrabbling about in the attic overhead but the longer she lay there listening,the less familiar the sound became. Someone talking to themselves perhaps, the occasional exclamation, even an amused snort of laughter, but all the while accompanied by a strange scratching noise in the background.
When she finally climbed out of bed, being very careful not to waken Oliver who was snoring contentedly beside her as usual, and put on her dressing gown to begin climbing the stairs very slowly on slippered feet, she was amazed at how calm and unafraid she felt.
The heavy oak door to the attic room was firmly shut as usual, with just the faint hint of a draft of air around her bare ankles as she lifted the old iron latch and gently pushed. The room was poorly lit by the glow of a single candle placed upon a wooden table. Where there would normally have been a pile of boxes, a few broken chairs and an old iron bedstead, she could make out the wood panelled walls of a small study. A pile of leather bound books lay on the floor and in the corner built into the panelling was a single bed with rumpled sheets and a shabby velvet curtain.
Seated at the table, surrounded by papers, ink pots and quill pens sat a man writing hastily, scratching at the paper, his long hair tied by a ribbon, shoulders hunched over to catch the best of the candlelight. As she stood watching him, motionless, paralysed more by amazement than fear, something suddenly disturbed the man’s concentration and he swore loudly, banged his fist on the table and knocked the inkpot to the floor.
“Damn and blast it to hell!” he shouted, without once moving his gaze from his writing. “Get out of here you confounded woman, you can see I’m at my work!”.
There was something in his manner which demanded obedience, even in these unusual circumstances and she found herself turning back towards the stairs, closing the door quietly behind her. Once back in the bedroom she climbed beneath the sheets and lay staring at the ceiling and the attic room overhead. All was quiet once more and she began to feel immensely drowsy, her mind drifting towards oblivion, convinced now that she must surely be dreaming.
She was woken by Oliver bringing her tea in bed, whistling and annoyingly cheerful as usual. “You’ve slept late! ” he said throwing back the curtains, “Strangest thing, Lizzy, I found the attic door open this morning and there was a great big black stain I haven’t noticed before on the floor up there, right in the middle, looked like ink or something, be a devil to get out of those floorboards.”
The rules of the challenge are to post 5 posts over consecutive days, attaching a story to the photo, fiction, non fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day inviting a fellow blogger to join the challenge, I’m going to invite the splendid Sarah Vernon from First Night Design to join the fun today but there’s no obligation!