Twelve years after their divorce, mom finds her ex living in an attic. She lay in complete darkness, trying her best not to make any kind of sound as she heard it move closer. She couldn’t see anything except for the ceilings, boards, and the dust coming off of them. With every movement it made, she saw a nail fall out of the ceiling and land on the floor with a loud clang. The footsteps kept moving about her until they stopped directly over her headboard.
Tracy knew all too well how hard it was being a single mother of five children. She and her five children lived in Rock Hill to share the financial burden. Some of her children were adults and willing to lend a hand. Still, though, Tracy found joy in the small things. She was happy to call the old house their family home, but she had no idea that part of its history would come creeping back in to surprise her.
So one day, while all of her children were out, she heard something strange above her. It was weird because she was supposed to be the only person in the house. She knew that her neighborhood didn’t have the best track record, so a break-in was possible. She looked around, but all of the doors and windows were still secure. Was she going crazy?
She had to think about things rationally. She didn’t want to panic when there could have been an explanation. She couldn’t find anyone in her house or any doors or windows open. She was left scratching her head. Tracy prided herself on her nerves.
She wouldn’t panic for no reason. Maybe it was a trick of her mind. Paranoia can set in when you’re home alone, after all. She just assumed it was something she had imagined and went on with her day. But the noises only persisted.
Random bumps and scrapes in the attic whenever she was alone. Her children told her none of them had been in the attic recently. When she asked. No one ever went in there. There had to be a reasonable explanation, right?
A few days passed and Tracy heard the noise again while dusting the furniture. But now they weren’t just in one place. They were moving through her house. Then it dawned on her it could be a possum, a raccoon and trigger, and not something more sinister. She called pest control on Monday, but it seems that whatever was in the attic didn’t like that idea.
It was three in the morning when the noise started up and woke Tracy. It was right above her bedroom now and it was moving. She listened to the sounds of whatever it started moving towards her, but she lay frozen when it dawned on her that whatever it was couldn’t have been as small as a raccoon. Her pulse went up to that of an Olympic runner. She could taste iron in her mouth.
Was she in some kind of horror film? The reasonable part of her mind still tried to explain it as a lucid dream or rather a nightmare. She couldn’t think of another explanation. It was like she was part of a Stephen King novel. She was frozen in her bed.
She couldn’t move at all. She decided to do what children do when they think something is under their bed. She just threw the covers over herself and tried to sleep. She knew that this wasn’t a permanent solution. If something was lurking in her attic, she had to get rid of it somehow.
She couldn’t sit by and let it stay. Tracy had no idea who she could turn to for help. If she called the police or told anyone what she’d seen, they’d probably just laugh at her or call her crazy. But while she still had no idea what was up there, she couldn’t go on living like this. In the light of morning, she felt brave enough to face her fears head-on.
Relief washed over Tracy when she went downstairs and saw her nephew, who was visiting two of her sons. Emboldened by the comforting presence of three big men in the house, she casually asked them to help her move a few heavy boxes out of the attic. But nobody could have prepared for what they were about to find there. The men walked into the attic while Tracy waited at the top of the stairs. But it didn’t take long for them to realize that something was very wrong.
A foul, pungent smell hit them, and they saw piles of garbage strewn all over the floor. All the old coats that Tracy kept up there were stacked next to the heating unit in the corner of the room. Then they saw it. Something was lying on the floor in the corner behind the boxes. It stirred as soon as the men walked in, they all looked at each other in complete shock for a few seconds.
Then the man realized he’d been caught. He leaped up, dashed past them, and exited down the stairs. Tracy caught a glimpse of his face as he rushed past, and a terrible realization hit her. She knew the man just as the man dashed past Tracy to escape. She had seen his face, but surely it wasn’t possible.
Twelve years ago he had done a few odd jobs around this very house. The pair had dated briefly and had gotten married. But when she found out about his criminal record, she quickly broke things off. How long had he been in the attic? She felt sick.
The police arrived to search the attic and made a terrifying discovery. The man had been living there for weeks. He had packed all the old coats and jackets into the heating unit and was sleeping in the heating unit, Tracy explained. The police also found plastic cups, which the man had been using to relieve himself. But then an even more frightening discovery was made.
The man had adjusted the air vents in the ceiling so that he could watch Tracy while she slept. Tracy was horrified when she realized he’d been spying on her for weeks. It’s got me, Flabbergasted, she said in an interview. How can you look at someone through an air vent? Even worse, nobody had any idea how the man had crept up into the attic.
The only way in was through in the hallway between the children’s bedrooms.