Bess sat on the wooden bench, in front of the metal tool shed, while Mr. Mars cleaned the lawnmower. “Do you think there are ghosts?”
Mr. Mars wiped his greasy hands on a rag. “Haven’t seen any.”
Bess laid her book to one side. “I heard noises in the attic. Megan and I are afraid to go up there.”
Mr. Mars chuckled. “Shall we go look?”
They went in the back door, of the red brick apartment building, and up the back stairs. Bess followed Mr. Mars up the creaky uncarpeted stairs until they reached the attic door. There was a loud creak when he pushed the wooden door open and strolled into the dimly lit cluttered room.
“This room gives me the creeps,” Bess wrapped her arms around her chest as she peered into the shadowy corners. “I’ve got goose bumps.”
The air was filled with the sound of shuffling feet and the constant rattling of the shutters when Mr. Mars crossed the room to pull the cord on the overhead light. The bare bulb bathed the room in a golden light but didn’t reach the corners. “It’s time everything was cleaned out. Most of it is junk anyway. Will have to fix the windows and shutters. Could be the source of your noises.”
“Want help? It’s boring because Megan is grounded and can’t even have company.” Bess said as she looked around. “We always hear creaking and footsteps.”
“Hmm.” Mr. Mar stroked his goatee. “Two can get the job done faster. Maybe find the source of your ghost.”
“Our apartment is one floor below and often hear noises at night,” Bess said, as she pulled out a box of old newspapers.
“Time for a bonfire.” Mr. Mars looked through another box of old magazines and books.
Bess rummaged through the books. “Can I keep them? Don’t throw them out. Here is an old copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.”
“Of course, you can have them,” Mr. Mars said, as he opened another box. “Why, it’s full of old toys. Wonder who stashed these? There is a teddy bear on top.”
“They could be donated . I’ll add the teddy bear to my collection,” Bess said. “Hey, look at these albums.”
Often wondered where those disappeared to,” Mr. Mars said. “The wife almost turned the apartment upside down searching for them.”
Bess knelt in front of the box of toys and pulled out two dusty teddy bears. “Just need cleaning and cuddling.”
“Shall we continue?” Mr. Mars said. “No sign of your ghost though. Possibly tree branches scraping the windows. Was it windy when you heard the noise?”
“No, not always.” Bess set the books, teddies and albums to one side.
“A slight breeze makes those old shutters bang,” Mr. Mars pointed towards the ceiling. “Look there.”
“Look at what?” Bess asked as she looked upward.
“Follow me. I think that’s the source of your ghost,” Mr. Mars strode across the rough plank floor towards the window.
Bess looked up at the ceiling as a beam of sunlight peaked through. “What has that got to do with the noises?”
“See that nest in the exposed beams,” Mr. Mars said, pointing. “The window is broken and the wind makes the shutters bang and creak. Critters can get in.”
“Why yes,” Bess answered. “Is it a bird’s nest?”
“Don’t think so,” Mr. Mars said. ” I will set up the step ladder and we’ll have a look.”
“Can I look first,” Bess asked when the ladder was ready.
“You bet,” Mr. Mars said, as he steadied the ladder.
“How cute,” Bess said, as she looked at the baby squirrels nestled together. “They wouldn’t make that much noise would they?”
“They run around at night and sleep during the day. Will get someone to fix the roof and window,” Mr. Mars said, as Bess climbed down.
“What will happen to the squirrels?” Bess asked as she sorted through a box of magazine clippings. “There are a lot of old recipes and pictures in this box. What do you want to do with them?”
“Will have to ask the wife,” Mr. Mars said. “Most will go into a bonfire. It’s a fire hazard up here. The squirrels will be relocated.”
They worked silently each lost in their own thoughts and soon had piles for donation, bonfire and keeping.
“Help push those old dressers against the wall. Someone might be able to use this old furniture. The wife donates items to needy folk,” Mr. Mars said, as he leaned an old oak mirror against the wall.
“Can I have the mirror and corner book case?” My shelves are overflowing,” Bess asked.
“Of course. You’ll need a place for those old books.” Mr. Mars said. “You have been a big help. Been putting this job off for months now. Glad it’s done.”
“Won’t Megan be surprised when she learns the source of our ghost,” Bess said, as she headed down the narrow stairs.
This is a story of what Bess’s life was like before she became sick. If you like this story then maybe you would like to read the free first chapter that is on one of the pages.