Sunday, May 7, 2017
1st 5 Pages May Workshop - Kusma
Name: Julie Kusma
Genre: MG Magical Realism/Historical Fiction
Title: In Katie’s Attic
Katie would die if she had to wait any longer. “Come on and click already.” Her legs dangled over the edge of her bed. She swung them back and forth faster and faster in hopes of quickening time. “Come on, come on.” As her tic-tocking reached maximum speed, she tempted the bed skirt to strike. The stiff lace bit the back of her calves. “Oh, never mind!” She kicked off the ruffles and landed on the floor with a thud.
“Kathryn,” her father yelled up the stairs.
“Yeah Dad, I’m in my bedroom.”
“Leaving. Be back by five. Stay in, okay kiddo?”
“Dad, I will be all right.” In stillness, she listened for the front door to lock.
Last year, Katie had hated staying home alone while her father worked. Each day seemed exceptionally long without her mother. Katie’s depression, unwilling to lift, dwindled her friends down to none. Her friends viewed her somber company like the woolen sweater she got last Christmas—uncomfortable. Katie adjusted to living—to not having a mother, but the sadness wouldn’t leave. She didn’t suppose her pain would go away either.
The loss of her mother wasn’t the only change. This summer, everything was different. Katie stumbled onto a secret and, for the first time since her mom died, Katie looked forward to waking up. Click. There it was. After two or three minutes Katie felt comfortable no one was home—no one was listening. She flipped to her belly and crept to the end of her bed. Cautiously she peered around the frame’s edge.
“My name is Katie. Well, actually Kathryn. Kathryn Louise, but you can call me Katie. I suppose you could call me Kate, but I guess I prefer Katie. So, call me Katie.” She sat up, cautious not to arouse the lace beast and sank against the footboard. “You’ll need to remember my name so you can call for me if we get separated along the way.” After catching her breath, Katie jumped up and placed her hands on her hips. “Oh, you do know you are coming with me, right?” She paused for a moment then matter-of-factly added, “Well, if you’re not sure, just go. I can only take serious treasure trackers with me.”
Katie thought about the situation. “You’re not frightened, are you? I hope not because nothing really scary ever happens. Well, sometimes, but so what, it’s fun.” Not waiting for a reply, Katie went on, “The first thing I should mention is that we are treasure tracking.” She stepped through her bedroom door and headed down the narrow hall. The tips of her fingers trailed along the flocked wallpaper. “By treasure tracking, I mean digging through piles of junk. Then we will spot the one gem waiting all this time for us to find it. Don’t worry.” She leaped toward the ceiling, “They jump out at you.” Her eyes grew large. “Some things may whisper to you.” Katie turned back over her shoulder. “Now, don’t start getting weird on me. Can you imagine, a little box or something saying your name?” Katie paused as the image formed. “Anyhow, a talking box calls your name—super freaky, right?”
The smell of the morning’s pancake breakfast lingered in the air and caused her mouth to water. She enjoyed the aroma down the worn hallway path. Her head turned toward the sun as she passed the first set of balcony doors. Squinting out some of the light, she liked the trees waving outside. She passed the second balcony and around the landing of their central staircase. She always wanted to slide down the handrail, but her dad had forbidden her to do so. Her stomach knotted as she drew near her parent’s—her father’s room. She stood a several steps short swallowing down the knot growing in her throat. Katie still had to force herself past. She hurried toward the smaller hallway. Here she would gain entry to the attic’s stairs. “Hey, you're still following me aren’t you?” Each step replied. The creaking of the floors was one of the many reasons Katie loved living in this old home. “So when we begin doing this, grab any item that gets your attention. We will collect the stuff and select the one most attention-grabbing piece. This is where the real adventure starts.”
Katie lived in her great-grandparents’ home. Her dad told her that his grandfather purchased the home as a kit in 1918 from the Sears Honor Built Modern Homes Catalog. Each generation handed ownership down to one of their descendants. Her dad, an only child, inherited this honor. Katie’s grandparents were no longer living—neither was her mother. Even though they weren’t alive, Katie believed her mom was with her. Sometimes she sensed her grandparents too. At one time they had all lived there together. Every room in this house reminded Katie of her family. This was the best reason for loving her old house—memories. The home was rich with memories Katie enjoyed living among them.
“Here we are. Are you ready? You’re not going to believe this” Without hesitancy, Katie gripped the glass doorknob. This portion of the home was for storage but to Katie an abandoned place. Being situated above the central part of the second floor made an odd cross configuration. The exposed trusses created a beautiful vaulted ceiling where the four sections joined. A lone dormer in the section overlooking the street gave everything charm. Packed with antiques and furniture no one used, it had taken Katie the whole first week of vacation to reorganize things into a comfortable space. The reward was huge. Katie discovered her family’s magic. Now, every cabinet and drawer had become home to potential adventures waiting for Katie.
“There might be cobwebs.” Katie swiped in front of her face. The dusty air reeked of old things, but Katie didn’t care. She made her way toward an open space in the middle of the area. “Don’t worry, in a minute; you won’t even know you were here.” Her mouth drew into a grin. “Seriously, because, in a minute, you won’t even be here.”
Katie ran to a cleared space in the center of the room. Here, she could turn around and survey the entire attic. Twirling, she listened for a treasure to call. "What? You've found something? Let me see." Katie rushed over to an old steamer trunk covered in dust. "Wow, that was fast," she said. "Sometimes it happens this fast, but most of the time it takes longer. You're a natural at this."
Katie stood staring at the blackened trunk. Embossed grapevines wound their way over the entire metal surface. Oak wooden slats added strength to the frame, and two latches and a large lock secured its lid. Katie blew some dust hoping to uncover a monogram. Initials would designate which relative it had belonged to, but there were no initials. Katie knelt next to the trunk listening for any message or guidance it might provide.
"Wait, don't touch it," she pleaded. Katie hadn't explained what was going to happen. She hadn't explained that the tracking part of treasure tracking involved little astral projection.