Friday, October 31, 2008

A Demon in My View

Here's a little Halloween story for you. My grandmother's family lived for years in an old house that was actually a house within a house within a house. See, the old homestead had originally been a log cabin and then another house had been built on part of the same foundation and still used the original chimney. Then years later the family extended the house by adding on to the second house.
Here's the beginning of the creepy part. When they added on they covered over one of the interior windows, but left the window in place on the outside of the house, so the house has a window on the outside that isn't on the inside. As a child this absolutely fascinated me. They had locked the window and left the curtains and blinds in place when they had walled it up, so you couldn't actually look into the window. Many times I tried, stacking up bricks or boxes so I could climb up and try to see into the room that wasn't there.
Here's where things get creepier. I was talking to one of my second cousins, who had lived in the house when she was a small girl and she told me about an experience she had there. The place was built in an old fashioned style where the front door opened into a wide hallway that led straight to the kitchen in the back of the house and doorways on either side of this hall opened onto bedrooms and such. There was a very narrow flight of steps just inside the front door that led up to an attic. The attic had one of those doors which was flush with the ceiling so you had to push it upwards. I remember going up there a few times as a kid and it was a very dark and spooky place. What little light the room had was supplied by a single naked bulb and one small window at the far end.
Anyway, my cousin said that one Christmas when she was five or six the family was having a party there at the house and she was standing in the doorway of the parlor when she heard a creaking noise from the front of the house. She wandered down the hall and heard the sound again which caused her to look up the stairs to the attic door. The door was open just a crack and she could see some...thing looking down at her.
She described it as 'the devil' saying that it had yellow eyes like a cat's, a mouth full of sharp teeth, and curling horns like those of a goat. What she could see of its body was covered in shiny red scales. The thing was apparently crouched in the attic and holding the door open. She could see the fingers of one clawed hand on the edge of the door. Then the creature brought its other hand into the light from the hall and beckoned to her.
She ran screaming back to the parlor and when her mother accompanied her back to the foot of the attic stairs, the monster was gone. Our memories often play us false, especially our childhood memories, and I figure this was really a dream that my cousin had, though she remembered it as something that actually occurred. Still the details impressed me. Particularly the hand holding the door open so the thing could peer down the stairs. Not the sort of thing you'd expect a small child to invent.
Dream or imagined event it makes for a darn creepy story and somehow in my mind the tale of the demon on the stairs is always linked with that window on the outside that isn't on the inside. Because I figure if there is a demon residing in the old family home, it lives in the room that isn't there. Happy Halloween and pleasant dreams.

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