Saturday, October 24, 2009

Alma (part 1)

Devoted Reader,
Halloween, to me, is more of a feeling than a holiday. The chills and thrills that I get from watching those old horror movies flit across my television screen just make me feel alive! Call me twisted if you must but I just know that there are many other horror fans out there like me who shiver at the thought of all the cool horror stuff spewing from our televisions at this particular time of year.
It was my love of watching old horror movies, reading scary mystery books, and never missing my favorite science fiction television shows that spurred me towards at little ultra creative writing of my own.
This story is somewhat longer and will be entered here in two installments. I hope you’ll come back tomorrow to see how the story ends . . . Alma would really like that!
I call this tale . . .

Alma (part 1)

“Hey, Mom, who’s this,” Holly yelled, waving an oval picture frame at me from across the attic.
Could it be, I thought squinting through the flurries of dust motes Holly’s waving had created. Alma, my God, I hadn’t let myself think about Alma in years. I could feel a pulse throbbing above my right eye as I snatched the picture from my daughter for a better look. The sweet little girl in the picture had large blue eyes and masses of curly blonde hair tied back with an aqua ribbon.
“It’s Alma,” I whispered, more to myself than to Holly. “My sister Alma.”
(Born with a caul over her face!)
“I have an Aunt Alma,” Holly asked, wrinkling her pug nose.
“No, Honey, Alma died long ago.”
“How come I never knew about her?” twelve-year old Holly questioned, hands on slim hips.
“Alma was . . . different. Our family never talked about her much. Come on, now let’s get Grandma’s attic cleaned out. The couple that bought this house would like to move in next week.”
“Why is her nose bleeding?” Holly was still studying the picture.
“Her nose isn’t bleeding, Honey.” I started folding up old clothes and sorting them into boxes.
“Holly, would you start over there in Grandpa’s corner? All those tools and jars of nails are going to the church. Can you pack them up in these boxes for me?’ I handed her two cardboard boxes.
“Mom, her nose IS bleeding.”
“No,” I said stubbornly. My hands trembled.
“Mo-om, look. It’s blood. Why take a picture of someone with a bloody nose?”
I didn’t want to look.
“Mom, what’s wrong? Why are you wiping your hands like that?” Holly’s voice took on a high, fearful whine. Without thinking, I was scrubbing my hands across the old clothes.
I struggled to pull myself together for her sake.
“Nothing’s wrong, Honey. I’m fine, really. Just brushing off the cobwebs.”
(Blood on my hands—under my nails. Alma’s nose bleeding?)
A gust of wind whirled through the dust motes and hit the attic door, slamming it shut with a crash.
“I’m scared,” Holly whined. “Can we go home now?”
(Excellent idea. Let’s get the hell out of here.)
I hastily wiped my hands one last time on one of Dad’s old spaghetti strap tee-shirts. “I think we’ve done enough for today,” I tried to keep my voice from shaking. “What say we go for ice cream and finish this tomorrow?”
Holly was already yanking at the door. Her wide blue eyes—
(Like Alma’s)
turned back to me, straining and stricken with fear. “The door won’t open,” she said in a panicky whisper. We’re locked in!”
“Don’t be silly. It’s probably just stuck.”
But the door wouldn’t open.

(continued in next installment)

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