The Eerie At­tic

Reader's Digest International - - Drama In Real Life - Red­ con­trib­u­tor DIGSDAWS

IT SEEMS SO CLICHÉD to start by say­ing “I don’t be­lieve in ghosts, but …” How­ever, that’s where I’m com­ing from. A few years ago, I moved into a one-bed­room apart­ment in Melbourne, Aus­tralia; it was my first time liv­ing on my own.

The apart­ment block had been built in the 1930s. I’d been there for a few months when I came home from work one day and went into the bath­room. I saw some­thing strange: The wooden board cov­er­ing a hole in the ceil­ing that led to a small at­tic space lay bro­ken in two pieces on the ground. I ex­am­ined the bro­ken pieces. The board was an inch thick, and it would have taken a Bruce Lee to break it. I thought the land­lord had sent some­one to work on the at­tic.

I e-mailed pic­tures to the land­lord ask­ing if any­one had been there (with an un­der­tone of an­noy­ance, since she hadn’t warned me). Her re­ply read, “Please call me as soon as you are able to.” I called, and she ex­plained that her last two ten­ants had said the same thing hap­pened. She promised

to re­place the board, and she did.

A month later, I woke up one night around 4 a.m. I had so many goose bumps, it felt like some­one was rub­bing his or her hands on me. Ev­ery­thing was silent, but then I heard this sound com­ing from above my bed. It was a drag­ging sound, like some­one pulling a sack of pota­toes. I was frozen stiff with fear. I thought, Some­one is up there for sure. There is no way an animal could make that sound. Af­ter five min­utes, I man­aged to work up the courage to turn on the light and walk to the bath­room. I was armed with a cricket bat.

When I looked, I saw that the new board cov­er­ing the hole was bro­ken in two! I felt sick. The drag­ging sound had stopped. But I heard some­thing else—whis­per­ing. The sound was clear and com­ing from the at­tic. It sounded like chil­dren’s voices, and I could hear one sen­tence re­peated over and over: “It’s your turn ... It’s your turn ...”

I switched on ev­ery light in the apart­ment to make things feel nor­mal. It was 5 a.m. and dark out­side. I watched TV to try to un­wind. Then a fuse blew. My pet budgie, Dex­ter, whom I kept in the kitchen, usu­ally never made a sound at night, but he started squawk­ing like he was be­ing stran­gled. I’d never heard him make those sorts of noises—he was scream­ing. I grabbed my car keys, ran out, sat in my car, and waited there un­til the sun came up.

When I saw peo­ple walk­ing their dogs, this com­forted me enough to go back in. The front door was open, but I thought I hadn’t closed it when I’d run out. I went to the kitchen to check on Dex­ter, and he wasn’t in his cage—I felt sick again. All my win­dows were closed, so I looked every­where in­side. When I walked to the bath­room, I heard splash­ing. Dex­ter was half drowned in the toi­let! I took him out, washed him, and dried him. I was so con­fused. At 8 a.m., I called the land­lord and gave her a wa­tered-down ver­sion of the night. “Oh, wow, you heard the whis­per­ing too!” she said.

I stayed in that apart­ment for an­other 18 months. I heard the whis­per­ing on a few oc­ca­sions, and twice the board cov­er­ing the hole in the ceil­ing moved. Al­though I live else­where, the land­lord re­cently called. She said that her new ten­ants had begged to speak with me about some of the stuff that’s been go­ing on there. Forget it—it’s their prob­lem now.

I was frozen stiff with fear. I thought, Some­one is up there for sure.

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