Herb Explores the Attic

Herbert gave his lower lip a quick bite, ignoring the way his gum scraped against the braces in his mouth. Something was making a rustling noise behind the grungy old trunk with the elaborate clasps that sat in the corner of the attic. Flakes of dust floated in the one shaft of light coming in from the high ventilation window. He had just enough light to see. Now the rustle turned into a bump. Bump! Bump!

26 responses to “Herb Explores the Attic

  1. Herbert Comes of Age.
    . . . . . . . .

    “Don’t be a wuss ,” Herbert told himself as he waited for another sound.

    BUMP!

    He cringed again. Before he could reassure himself, BUMP! BUMP!

    Herbert thought of his older brother’s last words before he left for the army. “Stay out of the attic Herbie. You never know what’s waiting for you.”

    He loved his brother, but he hated to be called Herbie. Not as much as he hated Herbert, with the accompanying tone of disapproval his mother wrapped it in. He wanted to be called “Bert.” That was a tough name. A seven-year old boy without a brother to protect him needed a tough name.

    “So why don’t I feel tough?”

    A growl rose from behind the trunk, first more like a groan, then a throaty evil sound.

    The trunk suddenly lurched toward him. Maybe an inch. Then again. Its metal bottom screeched ever so harshly as it moved. Herbert felt himself dribble in his pants. He felt like a Herbie. A big Herbie wuss.

    A tempest of dust began to billow from behind the trunk. Two hairy and pointed ears moved like sails across a midnight swamp.

    The growl grew louder. Herbie gripped himself as the trunk bolted a foot toward him and a head appeared. Eyes, red and bulging, stared at Herbert. A mouth with curled lips let a mucus drool drip to the floor, revealing teeth, jagged and rotten.

    Herbert took a step backward.

    The creature rose with an urgency and stood, knees bent, ready to pounce.

    Herbert knew it was time for “Bert” to stand his ground. He snarled his lips, opened his mouth, revealed the metallic hardware that surrounded his teeth, and let loose the deepest screaming growl he could muster. Spittle flew from his mouth as his braces glimmered in the beam of light from the window.

    Bert lurched forward, hands held like talons. He ripped and clawed at the creature as his hands sliced the air. And with a blink, the creature was gone.

    Herb searched behind the trunk and all around it. He was truly alone.

    He ran the tip of his tongue across the braces on his teeth and along his inner lips and gums. He tasted an unfamiliar flavor and spit into his hand. It was blood. Probably his. Or was it the creature’s? He spit a second time across the trunk. His territory was marked.

    He turned toward the attic door, confident and brave. No longer Herbert. Definitely not Herbie.

    “My name is Bert!”

  2. I have a new story published today at OUT OF THE GUTTER ONLINE. It has adult content likely not suitable for the Little-House-on-the-Prairie crowd.

    But, one never knows 🙂

    http://www.outofthegutteronline.com/2015/03/working-overtime.html

    There’s no voting involved, but one can leave commens there.

  3. A Regular Boy Action Adventure

    Hell in the Rafters
    By
    Sgt. H. “Mac” Arthur USMC (ret.)

    Part 7 – A Desire to Kill

    I was on Zom patrol five klicks out of firebase Stairmaster. The air was heavy with the stench of rot and decay; the kind of smell a regular boy never gets out of his hairy nostrils. Above my head, swarms of dust flies were looking for an easy meal. They say a single bite is enough to kill, but neither dust flies or the slow and painful death they cause were on my mind as I slammed a clip of 30 cal. AP into my M1.

    I soon found myself wading waist deep through a seemingly endless polyp paddy. The polyps look like overgrown trash bags filled with the kind of clothes nobody wears, but, tear one open and it’s “lights out” as you slowly bleed to death through orifices you didn’t even know you had.

    The Zom bastards hide in the polyps, so I made sure my ivory handled 14 inch hardened steel Bowie knife was close at hand. A regular boy can’t be taken seriously until he’s had the experience of sticking his shank deep into the belly of some dirt bag Zom and twisting it until all 47 feet of its digestive tract are wrapped around his blade like a spool of garden hose. I almost dared them to come get me.

    I had just reached dry land when I heard a sound coming from behind what appeared to be a pile of neatly arranged glass spheres. Ornamental fragmentation cluster grenades. A typical Zom trick. Not one to be caught flat-footed, I emptied my clip into the red and green jungle. I can still hear their screams and cries for help as I reloaded and let ‘em have it a second and third time.

    Further up that booby trapped trail, I encountered the enemy base. A crude wooden structure reinforced by stout iron hardware. I could hear the Zom scum inside. Banging on the walls they were sure would protect them. Not just banging, but taunting. I screamed, “Taunt this you Zombie scum.” as I trained my mil-dot laser sight directly on the center of their soon-to-be-firewood fortress. It was then I noticed the foul odor of a seven foot tall dead walker standing just inches behind me. I had only minutes to react.

    Part 8 – Collateral Damage

  4. oliviascarlett

    Herbert knew they shouldn’t have broken into the old house but he always did what his best friend, Tara, told him to do and today was no different. The abandoned house stood at the end of DeCatur Street, closest to the lake, and hadn’t been lived in for more than twenty years. Word around town was that it was haunted but Tara said there was only one way to find out.

    “Tara,” Herbert whispered. “Get up here…I think I hear something.”

    “I’m coming,” Tara said as she lumbered up the attic steps behind him. Once she reached the top, Tara stood with her hands on her ample hips as if to ask, “what?”

    And there is was again. Bump! Bump!

    “See, I told ya,” Herbert said as he motioned to the old trunk and took a step backwards. “This was your stupid idea…you go look.”

    “It’s probably just a squirrel or a bird,” Tara said as she shoved her way past Herbert and went to investigate. “Seriously, Herbert, you’re such a pussy.”

    Herbert took another step backward. “Be careful,” he warned. “It could be a ghost or something.”

    Ignoring Herbert’s advice, Tara made her way across the squeaky wooden floor and stepped behind the dusty old trunk and looked down when a hissing sound arose behind her. Startled, she turned around and squinted to see through the dust and debris that suddenly engulfed the attic. But it was no use, she couldn’t see two inches past her nose and all she could hear was the relentless hissing sound which grew louder. “Herbert, quit fooling around,” she demanded.

    But Herbert didn’t answer.

    Tara abandoned the trunk and turned around and began to walk back towards the steps, her arms spread out wide in front of her as she sifted her way through the heavy dust. “Herbert, I’m going to kick your ass when I find you!” She screamed when something cold and slimy grabbed her by the ankle and pulled her down to the floor.

    And then she was gone.

    Twenty years later –

    “Hey, Jeremy, let’s go break into the old house down on DeCatur Street….I hear it’s haunted,” Kevin said as he let out a hardy laugh and then licked the side of his ice cream cone.

    “Okay,” Jeremy said and jumped onto his bike. “Let’s go, there’s nothing better to do in this stupid old town anyway.”

  5. Silverstein Potter

    Scratching his head and wiping his eyes under his Harry Potter glasses, Herbert peered over the old trunk. At first glance, he could see only stacks of old parchment paper that occupied much of the wooden floor space below. On the paper was a peculiar writing. Perhaps, it was a language from some foreign land. At closer examination, he could also see a small wooden chair, no bigger than a thimble, sitting in close proximity to the parchment papers. Who could ever fit in a chair that size?

    Bump! Bump! There was the sound again. Now as he peered behind the trunk he could see a watch case bumping against the wall.

    “Help.” Said the squeaky voice coming from inside the watch box. Whatever or whoever that was inside the box could talk.

    Herbert felt like Alice in Wonderland. Things were definitely becoming more curious by the minute. He expected a white rabbit, at any moment, to come running through the room proclaiming he was late.

    Herbert picked up the watch box and slowly opened it. His eyes were intent on discovering the contents. When he caught a glimpse of the owner of the voice, he was dumbfounded
    .
    “Jiminy Cricket? You’re real?”

    “You’re talking to me aren’t you? Now, we have to hurry. I need you to gather up those papers before he comes back and finds that I’ve escaped.”
    “Who are you talking about? And what makes you think that I am going with you? My parents would kill me.” Herbert place the opened watch case on the floor and Jiminy hopped out.

    “He took your parents to the oak tree at the end of the meadow. We must hurry before he carries them to the Dragon’s Lair.”

    “Dragon’s Lair? Do you know how crazy you sound?” Herbert pushed his glasses up on his nose and scrutinized the cricket.

    “You’re the one talking to a cricket. Now, who’s the crazy one? Grab those newspapers and be quick about it. Your parent’s lives are depending on us.”
    Herbert watched as Jiminy hopped down the attic staircase. Deliberating for a moment, he decided he might as well follow the fairytale cricket and see where he led him.

    Herbert turned and scooped the papers up in his hands and followed Jiminy’s lead.

    He wondered just how Jiminy knew his parents. What kind of danger were they in? Had he fell and knocked his head and couldn’t remember it? Was this all a dream? He needed answers. And the only one with those answers, at the moment, was a green cricket with a cane. Herbert ran to catch up with his accomplice. Yes, things were becoming more curious by the minute.

  6. Jumpin’ Jminy! Anyone ever know anyone really named Jiminy?

  7. I shall make it a practice never to talk to any more crickets!

  8. Silverstein Potter

    Ha! I know that has been such a problem.:)

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