For us, the house was home. Sure it was small compared to most houses, but in fact it had plenty of rooms, even an attic. The door had a strange squeak which I found charming, the walls were well-painted and the plumbing actually worked. Overall, moving here seemed like a fantastic idea, especially to me at first, which is why I can see why my family find it confusing that I now live in fear of the place.
For two weeks we arrived and started unpacking in frenzy. I have a brother and we were told to choose our rooms. Our parents thought it would result in us having a logical discussion, but instead it was a dangerous race up the stairs to the most desired room. Of course, being both boys our aggression was truly shown and as my brother reached for the doorknob ahead of me I tackled him to the ground.
Our battle was brief because we were soon separated by our father who reminded us of the best way to decide who gets what. No, not a discussion to see who had more logical reasons to live in the room; instead we use the classic method of rock, paper, scissors. Unfortunately, it didn’t go my way, probably karma for my aggressive behaviour, but I honestly accepted it quickly. Whatever rock, paper, scissors says goes.
With that I moved up the hallway to the adjacent room and began unpacking. Those two weeks I actually enjoyed, until at least it came to the day where we had to clean out the attic. On that weekend we were led by our father up a shaky ladder into the attic space. I never fully understood how stuffy a room could become until I entered the attic. You could almost taste the age of the air.
The three of us cleaned out boxes that would be under study in a science facility. It was dust and mould of such strange colour you would think we were in another world. Once a majority of the old junk had been cleared out we discovered what appeared to be a violin. Now, nobody in our family was particularly musical or even musically inclined. We looked it over and I knew my dad was wondering how much it would sell for. Of course, that had to wait as we were still busy throwing out the old residents junk and moving ours in.
It didn’t take long for the violin to pass from my family’s minds, buy it stuck around in mine. Like I stated before, we are not musically inclined, but my curiosity with the violin was clear. I would stare up at the trap door of the attic every time I passed beneath it to go to my room. I would wonder what the sound would be like if I actually did play it. It was a curiosity I was sure would pass, but even after a month of thinking about it, this curiosity wasn’t going away anytime soon.
After this month had passed I found that it I wasn’t just curious about the violin, it was curious about me. We were all heading towards our rooms to prepare for bed, climbing the stairs and taking turns in the bathroom. Of course, I was last, because scissors beats paper. As I waited outside the door my eyes shifted back towards the attic trap-door to discover it was open and the ladder had descended.
I would have thought it was someone in my family that was up there, but I knew full well where each member was, so it couldn’t have been them. For the longest moment I felt like climbing the ladder and taking another look, but I am young. Even I am not ashamed to admit that the idea of climbing into a dark attic terrified me. I reached the foot of the ladder and pushed it upwards till the mechanism clicked in ladder was pulled up, shutting the trap door.
I waited a little longer, brushed my teeth and went off to my room. The look on my face when I saw the violin on my desk chair must have been priceless because I backed away from it in surprise. It sat there, out of the case with the bow resting on the armrests. I didn’t question it as much as I should have; instead I walked straight up to it and held it. What I found at first strange was that the violin felt warm, but I soon realized that was in contrast to my hands. My hands felt deathly cold and I immediately place the violin down so I could breathe into them.
Eventually there was some semblance of warmth, but it passed like a flick of the switch. There wasn’t much I could do about them, so I picked up the violin, seeing as it felt warm in my hands and tried playing a note. The moment the bow strings touched the violin strings I saw a puff of grey smoke drift off them. At first I thought it might have been dust from all its time in the attic, but I could indeed smell burning.
Sliding the bow along it more smoke appeared and once more a noxious smell of fire filled my nostrils. Due to the smell and discomfort in my cold hands I placed the violin down and went to bed, having done more than my courage could take. As I climbed into bed I was shocked by the coldness in my hands. I stared at them intensely and saw that they were in fact turning pale and then a shade of purple-like blue. Worry immediately flooded my mind and I left the bed, running to the bathroom.
I turned a tap and let hot water run. Its steam began to fill the room and I held my hands beneath it. Despite my best efforts the cold continued and my hands stayed blue. I turned the hot water to its highest setting and let it run down on my hands. I knew it was hot because a stray drop would splash onto my normal skin and I would feel it burn. However, it didn’t happen here.
Desperation caught up with me and I ran downstairs into the living room where the fire still burned. You know the rest of the story from here. My mother discovered about thirty minutes later saying she smelt something burning. I had no idea what I was doing until I heard her scream. One moment I held my icy hands above the fire to force warmth back into them with child-like panic, but upon glancing at my mother and back at my hands I saw blackened stumps. The horror of the sigh was terrifying. I never seen burn victims before, but when I saw my hand I was truly disgusted. Most of the meat of my hands was charred, the bone revealed and the fat bubbled and boiled, dripping into the fire. I was taken to the hospital, work was down on my hands, but I couldn’t feel a thing. Eventually it came down to an oblivious decision.
It is why I am telling you this story so that you may record it, because I myself cannot write it. The violin was in the attic, it never left and my parents never understood. It was sold to someone else, but despite the cursed item leaving our home I still felt a presence...a sense of fear embodied now in those rooms. Something more is going on there, but it is no longer my problem.