Walking Shoes... Chapter 1
It was so dark and damp in the attic. Caroline had no idea why her father chose to buy this old house. She wasn't sure if she were more angry at him or sad that he had suddenly taken her and her mother away from the only house she had ever lived in. to really make it worse, he moved them to Maine. The was nothing in Maine except winter and snow and, oh yes, more winter and snow. Surely he had lost his mind when he bought this house. She curled her nose as she walked through the attic. No matter how much she complained to herself, this was her home now. She might as well get to know all about it.
Caroline caught a movement off to her right. She turned to see what it was. Nothing... absolutely nothing. The smell of dust and mildew filled her senses. She sneeze once, blessing herself as she did. The East side of the attic looked to have been a bedroom at one time. The bed-frame still sat where Caroline figured it had set since whom-ever had lived there before them had it setting. Curling her nose once again, the odor reminded her of wet towels that had set too long on a floor. It was a stale and the stench polluted her lungs with an almost putrid aroma. Again, she was certain she had seen something move beside her.
"Hello???." Caroline jumped a bit at the sudden interruption of her thoughts. She recognized the voice immediately.
"Up here, Cuz. Come on up the ladder."
A head popped up in the center of the hole leading up to the attic. "Hi, cousin. Nice of your dad to bring me up here for the summer. What are you doing, Caroline?"
"I am snooping. I want to see what is up here. I may ask Daddy if I can make this my bedroom."
"It smells a little damp up here, don't you..." Sandra's sentence was cut short by a sound to the left of where she now stood. "Ummmm, what was that?"
"What was what, Sandi?""Something moved over in the corner. Do you have rats up here. Oh God, if there are rats up here, I am out of here. I hate those things."
"Calm down, o.k.? There are no rats up here. I thought I saw something move up here before you came up." Caroline looked up towards the ceiling. She saw a shadow move across the roof beams. Silently, she walked to where she had seen the movement. A small ladder nailed to the wall led her up into a tiny loft. She murmured a "wow" that was louder than she had meant it to be.
"What??? What did you find, Cuz? Did someone hide their millions up there? If they did, it is yours now, you know. Finders, keepers and losers weeper. We can buy..."
"Shush for a minute, Sandi. I will show you in a minute." Caroline pulled herself in to the loft. A cubby-space was a better definition of where she was. Inside the loft was a small bed with a cardboard box that still had clothes inside it. A make shift dresser, Caroline thought to herself. There was a small cabinet built into the wall above the bed. Slowly, she opened the cabinet door. As she did, a chill ran through her body as if she had just opened a freezer door. Her body shivered as she reached inside the cabinet. She pulled out two little pairs of shoes. One pair looked as if it had they had never been worn. The second pair had holes in the souls and the shoe strings, made of leather, were tattered. Suddenly, she felt something strike her in the back of the head, hard enough to knock her off balance. Caroline fell backwards from the loft and landed on her back.
"Ouch, Cuz... that is what stairs are for."
Caroline stood up, the shoes still in her hand. "Something hit me in the head up there."
"What do you mean by something? Is there a bird living up there? What do you have in your hand? Are those shoes?"
"Jeez, Sandi, Take a breath. No, it wasn't a bird and yes, these are shoes in my hand. I found a little room up there. Just a bed and a cardboard dresser. I found these stuffed in a cabinet above the bed."
Caroline saw Sandi's body shudder.
"It really got cold in here. Did you open a window up there?"
"I opened no window but I did feel the cold you just felt, while I was snooping. I did feel the same cold you felt, when I was in the loft." Caroline saw Sandi's face go pale. Her eyes widened as she stared at something behind Caroline. "What the hell are you looking at?"
Sandi raised her hand and pointed behind Caroline. She put her fingers to her lips and whispered. "Shhhhh. Turn around very slowly. You don't want to scare her."
Caroline turned slowly, until she faced the other side of the attic. She took a step backwards and felt Sandi's hand cover her mouth. "Shhhhh, don't scream or she might leave."
Both of them watched as the little girl began to move forward. She was dressed in a long white dress that went all the way to the floor. When she moved, she glided more than walked. She stopped in front of Caroline. Reaching out with her hand, she took the shoes from Caroline. She glided back away from Caroline and put the worn pair of shoes on her tiny feet. Suddenly, another figured appeared. It came over to the little girl. The apparition took the shoes from the little girl. With out warning, the women slapped the little girl hasrd across her face. Caroline and Sandi moved backwards, getting as much distance between them and the ghosts.
Then, the woman spoke. In a voice that made the two girls gasp, the aparition began to scold the little girl. "I have told you over and over the living are dangerous! I have also told you that your shoes were forbiden! I may have too beat you more unless you stop taking these shoes!" The woman lifted her hand into them air to strike the little girl again.
"Wait, you don't need to do that! I took the shoes from the cabinet. She had nothing to do with taking the shoes." Caroline spoke with a little shake in he voice. "Who are you? What do you want?"
The aparition moved forward, stopping directly in front of Caroline. She reached out and with one movement, she slapped Caroline hard in the face. Caroline stepped back, holding her hand to her face, where the apparition had struck her. The little girl went to the corner of the attic and sat down. Tears streamed down her face. She cowered when the other apparition approached her. Covering her face, she spoke in a tiny, weak voice.
"Please don't hit me, Mommy. I just wanted to go for a walk in my walking shoes. I wouldn't ruin my Sunday shoes." The woman stopped and looked at Caroline and Sandi. Reaching out, she touched Caroline's face, tenderly this time. She leaned forward to speak to Caroline.
"She is a naughty girl and dis-obeyed me. Do not give her these shoes again! She must learn to listen!" The woman took the little girl by the hand. She roughly pulled her towards the wall. Caroline and Sandi watched as the little girl was dragged away, Her big brown eyes were filled with tears and a look of pleading for help. As the two ghosts began to faded into the wall, Caroline and Sandi looked down at the floor. The tiny foot prints were smeared with blood. They both looked up just in time to see the bare, shoeless feet of the girl. Blood oozed from the cuts and scrapes that covered her tiny feet.
Caroline looked at Sandi. "We have to save that little girl! No matter what else we do, we are going to find out who she was and save her from that aweful woman."
The walls of the attic shook and dust fell from the ceiling. A voice echoed from the crawl space. "I am not through with you two girls!!! I will finish with you when I am finished with Eliza!" The sounds of crying filled the attic. Caroline and Sandi raced for the opening and quickly descended the ladder, closing the door to the attic behind them.