It was the night of Halloween and a creeping fog had descended, blurring the orange glow of the street lamps. Little Jenny was dressed as a zombie bride. Her older brother, Paul, for reasons best known to himself, was wearing full England strip and had half a football pulled down on his head with “red stage blood” matting his hair and running down his face.
As they reached the end of the road their pumpkin buckets rattled satisfyingly with the plunder of the evening: packets of refreshers, lollipops, chewy sweets and more than a handful of those soft-centered strawberry ones that always get left at the bottom of the Quality Street tin. The children stopped at the last house before the woods – number 13 – a dark Gothic monstrosity squatting in the shadows of an ancient oak tree. A bat flitted low across the path and looped up into the eaves. Jenny shivered.
‘Come on Paul,’ she whispered through her blood smeared veil, ‘the lights are out, let’s go home.’Paul smiled slyly. ‘Why, little sister? You’re not afraid are you?’‘No!’ she answered indignantly.‘And anyway, there is a light on – look!’ said Paul, pointing to the top of the house. Sure enough the light of a candle flickered in an attic window.‘Come on scaredy pants!’ Paul set off down the path swinging his bucket.
Frosted spiders’ webs clung to the bushes and the gravel crunched under Jenny’s wellies as she ran to catch up with her brother. He was already on the porch. Winking at her, Paul reached for a brass doorknocker shaped like a bird’s skull. He brought it down with a rap, crying out ‘Trick or –’.
Before he could finish his sentence, the heavy door creaked open on rusty hinges. Both children gasped as a black cat dashed out through their legs.‘Let’s go,’ said Jenny.
‘They must be upstairs…left the door open on purpose,’ suggested Paul, bravely leading the way inside.
The hall was full of cardboard boxes of all sizes arranged in haphazard piles. Dustsheets covered the furniture. A chandelier stood to one side wrapped in bubble wrap. Rectangles of darker paint marked the positions on the walls where mighty portraits had once hung. The air was heavy with despair.
As the children stood there looking up at the shafts of moonlight that pierced the stained glass windows, they became aware of someone, or something, moving around at the top of the house.
Taking Jenny’s hand reassuringly, Paul led the way up the winding staircase. Up and up the creaking stairs they went. Higher and higher, past locked doors, until finally they reached a metal stepladder leading up to the attic.
The noises suddenly stopped.
‘Trick or treat,’ Paul stammered weakly as the two children took their life in their hands and clambered up the ladder and through the open hatch…
Shadows danced as the solitary candle flame flickered in the breeze. The attic was piled to the rafters with more boxes. Dark shapes lurked all around.
‘Is anyone here?’ called out Paul.
‘If you’re a ghost, make yourself known to us,’ ventured Jenny.
The air suddenly turned cold. The children’s breath plumed in the air.
A low cry echoed through the darkness.
‘I cannot move on,’ said an ethereal woman’s voice.
‘Are you a spirit trapped on this earthly plane?’ inquired Jenny, being an expert at such things.
A shudder vibrated the floorboards.
The boxes in the corner of the room began to move as they were pushed aside by an unseen force, and then a hunched figure materialized out of the gloom. The children clung to one another as what looked like a witch lurched towards them with outstretched arms, wailing like a banshee.
That’s when Paul remembered he had a torch and switched it on to reveal a sweet old lady in a shawl carrying a pile of National Geographic magazines in her hands. She was definitely alive and not undead.
‘No! No! No!’ shouted Enid, flinging the magazines into a packing box and stamping her slippers in frustration, ‘I cannot move on because the removals people let me down. I’ve been packing boxes for two weeks. The electric’s already switched off. And I’m meant to complete on Monday… I’m downsizing and there’s no way all this stuff is going to fit into my new place!”
‘Oh,’ said Paul.
Enid sat down on a box, weeping in frustration.
‘Would you like a Refresher?’ asked Jenny.
This horror story could so easily have been avoided if Enid had contacted Attic Self Storage. We have a friendly man with a van who could have helped box and move all her stuff with the minimum of fuss. She could also have chosen a secure storage unit to store all her extra possessions.
We have 24-hour access and CCTV cameras that are always monitoring the premises and allow us to guarantee that our corridors are 100% un-haunted by ghouls, ghosts or billowing clouds of ectoplasm. Attic Self Storage is also alarmed and protected by sturdy gates and electric shutters so in the event of a zombie apocalypse both you and your valuables are safe from marauding flesh eaters. All our lights come on automatically too.
Children like Jenny and Paul will be happy to hear that we have big bowls of refreshers, chews and lollipops on our reception desk, as well as enough cardboard boxes and bubble wrap to create the most frightening homemade costumes imaginable.
Happy Halloween from the not-in-the-slightest-bit spooky Attic Self Storage.