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Growing up in the city was both a gift and a curse. I was used to the rumble of cars going past at night, it was a central location, and there was a lot of shit to do with my buddies.
My father was the one who grew up with the city life, my mother was a country girl, she was born and raised on a farm in the middle of nowhere. I loved visiting her old house.
My Grandmother, was a widow 5 years. She was always alone in a big farm with an old two story red brick house. My Gran would always say she's happy with the memories of old in her house, but I could see it hurt her to be alone all the time, so I visited almost every weekend.
It was Saturday and in the middle of October when the snow started to fall heavy. I had to get the bus out to Grans early to avoid being stuck and having to wait for an hour watching the snow only get worse until the plows came. It was about ten minutes of a walk from the bus stop to my Grans, providing I took the shortcut through her field.
It was covered in white, I was shivering so much with the cold, my teeth were chattering and my knees were unsteady, causing me to stumble and fall flat multiple times. As I got up for the umpteenth time after crashing into the snow face first, I caught something out of the corner of my eye, it was one of Grans only neighbors, Dean. He was young and bought a shitty little cottage about five minutes away from Grans house. He was overly ambitious and irritating. I waved so as not to be a snob.
"Hey Dean, what the fuck are you doing standing in the middle of the field?" I shouted over to him.
He smiled and walked over to my side. "Gotta funny feeling in the house. I swear it sounds crazy I know, but it's haunted.." he said seriously and looked at me.
I was trying to hard to contain my laughter than my face had gone completely red. "Don't be so insensitive, Lilly." he laughed and prodded me in the arm. "I'm selling it." he said after a long pause.
I stared at him. He was the only source of entertainment I had when I was at Grans. He'd be gone. Plus the field was so eerie, the thought of him not being far was comforting.
"Don't look so sad," he said with a cheesy grin, "I'll talk to you still." he winked at me and nodded and walked swiftly back in the direction of his cheap home.
I sighed as I suddenly felt completely alone. The entire field, trees included, were white. I couldn't feel my feet and decided to get the circulation running again so I started jogging to my Grans. Every step of the way sent a sharp pain up my leg but the motivation of the creepy field being behind me sent me on my way. When I finally reached the gate of the exit, I hopped over it and doubled over. The cold air was catching my breath, my throat was dry and scratchy. I slowly got up and smiled when I saw smoke coming from my Grans chimney. I quickly walked over to the front door and knocked loudly.
"You!" Gran said as she jolted the door open and brought me inside in front of the fire. "You're late. Very late. Two hours? Bus?" she took my jacket and shoes. "Soaking! Walked through the field?"
She was murmuring to herself in between all this and I couldn't get a word in, I laughed and she looked at me and smiled. "Sorry darling."
"Sorry for being late, the cold took it's toll." I said quickly. She looked at me in the eye.
"It's ten o clock. We'll have to catch up tomorrow. Dinner's in the microwave. You know where I am if you need me." she yawned.
"Not in the mood for a late night." she said and kissed me on the forehead.
"Night!" I called after her slightly startled.
Guilt seeped in as I looked at the clock. Half ten. Shit. I rolled my eyes and got up. "Go out early, Lilly? This is your idea of early." I murmured to myself. I stretched realizing how tired I was myself, I made my way to my moms old bedroom. The door was locked. I sighed and called down to my gran. Her bedroom was at the top of the house and mine was at the bottom, it usually made me feel uneasy but when I was tired I didn't really care about the ominous noises, presuming it was just the countryside norm.
"Oh! Yes, I was cleaning around and the door kept blowing open so I locked it." she chuckled and took a key from her dressing gown and unlocked the door.
"Thanks." I said smiling at her.
"If you're too cold, there are blankets in the attic." she nodded and bustled back down the hallway. The attic.. I went up there when I was young, in search of something to play with and the stairs creaked up slowly, locking me in there for an hour. I was six, not independent and I cried the whole time. Ever since then I never went up there, seeing as though it was eleven years ago I felt silly for thinking about it.
As soon as I hit the pillow, I was out like a light. Suddenly, I woke up with a jump. I was shivering. There was no blanket on me, it had fallen down the side of the bed. I pulled it up and tried to go back to sleep. It was no use, my teeth were chattering again. I climbed out of bed and switched on the light. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me, but when I went to open the door, there was a shadow right behind me. I brushed it off. I'm just tired, I thought.
I stood out in the hallway. The door to the sitting room was open it was dark inside and gave me a funny feeling, so I walked over and shut it. I went to the toilet so I wouldn't have to get up out of bed later to do it. When I stood in the hallway again, ready to pull down the attic stairs, I noticed that the sitting room door was open again. I felt uneasy and took a deep breath.
"Just get this over and done with." I whispered to myself as I pulled on the string and unfolded the steps.
I climbed up them quickly, trying not to look behind in case I saw something I didn't want to. When I reached the top I frantically searched for the light switch, after two minutes my heart was flooded with relief as I felt the string. I pulled on it and the small, cluttered attic was illuminated. I saw the four woolen blankets on top of a box in the far corner and quickly went to retrieve them.
I spun around and much to my surprise, I saw my Grans head peeping in at me from the exit of the attic. I gave out a yelp, and then chuckled realizing it was my Gran. Something wasn't right about her, her eyes had no sparkle, she had..well..no expression. She opened her mouth as if to say something, but snapped it shut again and started to climb back down the steps, I went over to the exit and climbed down. When I reached the bottom I smiled. "I was just col-" I looked around. She was gone. Must have went back to bed. I shrugged and folded the stairs back up. I turned around to go back to my room.
My gran was standing at the entrance. "Don't you like the cold?" she said- well, I don't particularly like to say "said" she.. well, she hissed really. It was a cold, sullen voice to match her expression.
"Oh..well..I was just..I couldn't sleep so I.." I was stammering and she smiled. It wasn't her usual warm, friendly smile, it was sadistic and unpleasing. I moved past her, as I brushed off her it felt as if I had brushed past cold marble. I swallowed hard. "G-goodnight.." I muttered and shut the door on her face. I heard an almost growl like sound coming from outside the door.
I turned off the lights and wrapped myself in all of the blankets. Still shaking. I thought maybe she was sleepwalking or something like that. I'd ask her in the morning. It took me a good hour to get back to sleep. Everything was still. Too still and I was under the impression that someone was watching me.
When I woke up in the morning, I could hear the radio in the kitchen and smell bacon and pancaked. I smiled and stretched. I suddenly remembered what happened and hopped out of bed and walked into the kitchen. My gran looked bright and fresh and was humming along to the radio, she smiled widely at me. "Making your favorite!" she giggled.
"Smells like heaven!" I laughed and then scratched my head, wondering how to start the conversation. "Gran, I didn't know you sleepwalked." I laughed. But felt disheartened when she looked at me confused.
"Lilly, darling, I am the soundest sleeper of all time!" she laughed loudly and went back to humming.
My heart was pounding in my chest. I slowly walked back into my room. The door slammed shut behind me. I turned around, almost in tears. My "gran" was there again. This time she was angry. My heart sank.