The door to the attic looked like any other door in the house. It was normal size, a light-tone, with decorative rectangle impressed into the wood. Beyond those doors it was like any other attic, accept there was a dark, ominous presence that didn't want them up there. It burned Amya as it tried to scare her off, it punished her for coming close.
Amya stood in front of the door, Remi beside her as she questioned her decision to go back in. She had brought wrath upon herself and her step-sister. What would be next? Could she keep Remi and herself safe? What if it attacked their parents? The responsibility was crushing.
It had been Jason who had pulled them from under the bed. Whatever had been attacking them fled the moment her father entered the room, knocking the glass of water over on the carpet and grabbing her arm. There was no black, shadowy creature, no large eyes, no tar-like substance on the floor or flowing down the walls.
She did, however, get in trouble for the water on the floor. " Honey, your abuela also believes a slice of bread nailed above the front door will keep out spirits. It just doesn't make sense.
When Amya had come to, she was in the living room surrounded by three pairs of bright blue eyes staring at her. Remi had tried to explain what she knew, but all she could remember was that Amya pulled her onto the floor then under the bed, then it started shaking violently, and black things were reaching for them.
Amya described it as a dream, but she knew it was no dream. She was wide awake, and the shadow creature was there to threaten her.
"We'll never know if we don't go in." Remi brought her out of her thoughts.
"I know, you just didn't see that thing this morning. You can't blame me for being a little apprehensive." Amya chastised.
They turned back to the door, an uneasy silence between them. With a deep breath, Amya stepped forward and opened the attic door.
The odor hit her first, the putrid smell of the shadow creature permeated the room.
"Ugh, it smells horrible," Remi mentioned.
"It's trying to ward us off, it smells like the creature from last night," Amya explained. She took the first steps up the stairs, the wood creaking under the weight.
Remi followed her, the scent thick enough to cut with a knife. They choked and gagged on the aroma so strong they could taste it.
When Amya stood on the floor of the attic the smell dissipated, leaving behind the stale stench of dust, old boxes, and mold. Rem's box still lay open near the wall closest to the stairs.
"It's huge and filled to the brim, how are we going to find what we need?" Remi asked.
"Did you tell her everything?" Rem's voice filled Amya's head.
"Yes," Amya replied as Rem came around a corner of shelves.
"What?" Remi asked confused.
"It's Remington; he asked if I told you everything."
"He's here now? Remi gasped.
"Not as bright as her mother I see." Remington chuckled.
"Rem," Amya warned, "All this isn't easy to digest, she's doing her best."
"Wait, is he making fun of me?" Remi questioned.
Amya shook her head and moved forward into the dust-covered maze. "We start with Remington's box. I didn't get to finish, and there may be a clue in it. I think he was trying to figure it out before he died."
Remington shrugged, "I can't remember if I was or not. It's all a blur."
Amya looked at him from the box, "If not why would it have attacked us?
Remi turned in a circle looking all around the attic, "You know, it's really creepy when you talk to thin air. It feels like a nightmare is a nightmare and you are going a bit crazy obsessing about it."
"Sounds familiar," Remington murmured, but he perked up quickly, "can I hit her?"
"No, you can't hit her," Amya blurted, instantly regretting it. How in the world was she arguing between her step-sister and a ghost?
"How do we know he's not the one doing all of this? If Mom told you he went crazy and died in the woods, he could be the one haunting us." Remi accused.
Amya rolled her eyes, "The two of you are too similar. No wonder you have the same name. Let's just start looking through Remington's box and see if we can find a clue."
She rifled through the box pulling out pictures, trophies, and sketches. Amya sighed, a whole life reduced to one box. It was sad
"Yeah, really sad." Rem mocked her thoughts.
"Ugh I hate that you can hear my thoughts, it's pretty annoying." Amya chastised him.
He knelt, face to face with Amya, "You are the first person I've been able to talk to since I died."
How lonely that must have been. So many years without conversation. Amya liked her space, but to have nobody for so long, sadness washed over her.
"Don't feel sorry for me Amya, I have you now. You brought me back into the house. Even if it is just in the attic." He smiled at her, warmth showing in his blue eyes.
She opened her mouth to reply when his head jerked away. "Wait, that."
He pointed to a piece Remi had just sat out on the floor among his sketches.
"This one?" Amya picked it up. A sketch of a book on a desk. It seemed unassuming enough.
"Yes, I remember that." He pressed his eyes shut tight as if that would make the memory clearer. "It's important; I think we need to find that."
"An old book, what does that have to do with anything?" Amya asked.
Remi leaned over, "Looks like an old diary."
"That's it, a diary. I was looking for that before I died." Remington told her.
"Well that decides it, Rem's box has got some answers. Let's take it down to my room and see what else we can find." Amya loaded the item back into the box.
"Good, you talking to yourself in an old attic is starting to creep me out," Remi mumbled.
"I'm hoping he can come with us," Amya told her.
Remi scoffed, "Great, more talking to the air."
She loaded the last of the drawing into the box and headed back down the stair to her room.