“Where are you?” little Mike called out, no longer motivated to play hide and seek, reluctantly he climbed up the ladder to the attic. His older sister would surely not be hiding up there in the haunted place?
“Where are you?” little Mike called out again. “I give up you know, I no longer want to search for you Lisa!”
Still there was no reply. “Are you in the attic?”
Slowly his eyes adjusted to the darkness, his knees scratched on the cold floor, “Ouch!”
Lisa was no were to be seen, but then the attic was barely lit by the small rooftop window.
“Lisa?!” he wailed, “are you here?” Getting up onto his feet little Mike tried to reach the light switch, to his dismay he was still a few centimetres too small.
His tiny heart pounding he decided to be brave and find his sister in the dark. He knew from his last visit to his grandparent’s house that there was a big crate with many toys from his mother’s past in one of the far corners of the top floor. Just, which way to go, he wasn’t too sure.
“Lisa?” he whispered into the darkness where he was heading. Still no answer. He hit his foot against a sharp object on the ground. His recently found courage evaporated into thin air, sat down and started to cry.
“Little Mike, is that you?” he heard his sisters voice coming from the shadows too far away.
“Yes” he sobbed. “Where are you Lisa, I no longer want to play hide and seek!”
“Oh come here and join me little Mike.”
On all fours he crawled toward his sister.
“I don’t want to play hide and seek anymore Lisa! I searched you all over the house, just to find you here, but we never hide in the attic!” he leaned in for a reassuring hug.
The girl put her finger on his lips, “shh, little Mike, everything is ok, I will protect you, you know.” Wrinkling her forehead she added, “Did you forget that I told you that I no longer want to play hide and seek?”
The small boy shook his head, he did not remember her saying those words. “Can we leave the attic Lisa? Or can we at least turn on the light? I am still too small to reach the switch!” he looked at the ground, feeling a bit embarrassed about his lack of courage.
As if she had not heard him, Lisa started rummaging in the big crate behind them. “I found some really cool things Miky! Like a …” Her words trailed off. “Oh!”
“What is it? What have you found?” Little Mike could not hide his uneasiness, he always felt as if they were in a forbidden territory when in the attic.
Lisa produced a crumpled piece of paper. “It is thick and very smooth, mmmm”, she thought out loud. “It’s either from a book or from a diary, let’s get some more light so that I can read what it says.” She took her relieved little brother by the hand and together they made their way carefully through the attic.
“I am going to climb down first!” Lisa imposed on her frightened brother, who did not like the idea of staying in the dark attic any longer, especially not by himself.
Climbing down the creaking ladder little Mike blurted out: “why did you go up there without turning on the light?” After all he would never go up there all by himself, and if he would well then only if the light were turned on.
Lisa was visibly thinking about his question, “I don’t remember. But that does not matter now” she turned her attention to the crumpled piece of paper. Straightening it she squinted her eyes a bit to see what was written.
“What does it say?”
“Little Mike, you know that I am still no quick reader, and this handwriting is absolutely horrible, like a doctor’s”.
The boy looked at his sitter who could already read, what he saw was not reassuring, her face seemed to grow paler. She held on to the bottom of the ladder and plopped herself onto it. “This is really strange” she murmured.
No longer daring to ask any more questions little Mike looked at Lisa concerned.
“It reads here: Ticks and tocks of essential time, sink the spirits lower than wine.” She whispered.
“What does that mean? I don’t understand.”
“I think it means that I shall not waste my time or something like that. It is a message that erm, that” she interrupted herself, staring out the window she seemed void of words.
“Lisa, if it is mom who wrote this then we can just go ask her what it means”. Little Mike suggested.
“No, we cannot ask her” the red headed girl replied fiercely.
“Why?” Her brother cocked his head.
“Well, it is something that I wrote. I wrote this when I was an adult. It is a message that I hid here, when everything had broken to pieces, when I had the feeling that I had spend to much valuable time with things that were not important, that I tried to hide from life.”
Little Mike did not understand, how could he? “Lisa, I am lost!”
She patted his head “I wrote this in the future, and now I remember that I did, to leave a little hint to my self today, of how to live and not live my life.”
“Is that why I could not find you when I was searching for you? You were hiding in the future, inside mom’s trunk?”
Lisa kissed her brother’s blond head, “yes, something like that. But now, let’s make the most of our childhood! I’ll count to 100!”
I decided to participate once again in Friday Fiction with Ronovan Writes. This time the prompt was to use the sentence: “Ticks and tocks of essential time, sink the spirits lower than wine.” For some reason, this hard prompt took me into an attic with a young boy. You can join in yourself and find the other participants stories here. Oh and comments are always welcome.
© Solveig Werner 2016. All rights reserved.