I woke very cold at dawn and crawled back into the attic. It was all just my imagination. That was what I told myself. A woman killed her baby and locked it in the trunk and fled town hoping no one would ever find the trunk. It was her secret. I should not have opened the trunk. It was her secret. Hers. And Fathers. I should not have opened the trunk. I found the photographs were I hid them and I decided to destroy the photographs so the secret would be safe. But then I saw the photograph of Her and Father. But oddly, the pose was somehow different. They seemed closer together. Almost hugging. I don’t remember the pose as being like that before. I shoved the photographs back under the moldy cushion. Then I saw the mirror. Something was written on the mirror. I crept up and on the mirror someone had written with a greasy pencil ‘Help me’.
I ran to the door and kicked it and pounded it and screamed until Maeve came in. “Shush child! I am trying to smuggle some food up and you are going to bring your Mother up here!”
“But there is something on the mirror!” I dragged Maeve to the mirror but there was nothing on the mirror. So I dig up the photographs and showed her the photograph of Her with Father. She recognized Father but she did not know who the woman was.
“Don’t show this to your Mother! Hide the pictures child! Quick!” I barely hide the photographs under the moldy cushion when Mother stormed into the room. “Johnny here is scared Mrs Nicholson” Maeve explained. “Of the dark. Of being alone. Surely he has been punished enough?
“Mary said you pounded the floor all of last night to keep the children awake in the nursery” Mother shrieked waving a finger at me. “You frightened the little ones! You evil child! You evil scion of Them. You ….you….you….Hogg!”
“I didn’t!” I shouted. “I spent the whole night on the ledge outside!” Mother flogged me bloody.
Maeve wept but left after Mother stormed out, locking the attic door. I sat rubbing the blood that dripped from my nose. Then I felt it again. A tiny baby’s fingers touched me, as if caressing me.” I cried out to brush the ghostly fingers away as if wiping cobwebs away. Then I went and dug out the photographs and I stared at the photograph of Father and Her. The pose seemed different. They were hugging and almost kissing. I was furious now so I stared and stared and stared to catch them moving. But they did not move. It was only a tintype. But then I blinked and when I rubbed my eyes from staring I saw that the pose had changed. They were now kissing. I shouted “You are cheating! Not fair! Not fair! How can you be with Her Father when we all need you so much more! We are your real family! Why are you with Her!” But it was just a photograph and photographs don’t move — as long as you are staring at them. I shoved it under the moldy cushion and pouted. Then I really and truly banged the floor and stomped and made as much noise as possible so Mary and the kids downstairs in the nursery below could really hear me and recognize the difference between me and whatever was sharing the attic with me.
I realized I might have dropped the hat pin and I dug all around the junk on the floor and indeed there it was! It was almost 10 inches long and quite lethal! I had a weapon! I clutched it. Oddly, I could not see where the mink stole was. Then I found a crayon and I went to the mirror and wrote ‘Who are you? How can I help you?” I stared and stared and stared but nothing happened. After all it was only some old mirror. So I went digging to find anything I could use to wrap myself in at night. The outside ledge was awfully cold. I finally found some moldy curtains and I hung them outside on the ledge to ventilate. When I came back inside the mirror had different writing on it. The writing said ‘Give me a name!’
I pondered that as I searched for the mink fur. I simply could not find it anyplace. I could have sworn I put it on the tray which was still on the floor. So I wrote on the mirror ‘Weasel’ to test it. I pretended to fuss about and then I spun around but it was too fast. It had already written on the mirror ‘Can’t you tell a mink from a weasel?’
“Yes!” I shouted. “You gave yourself away! And you are not in trouble! But you got me into trouble! Where are you hiding!” I searched all over the attic but Weasel was hiding. But when I turned my back I could hear Weasel scurrying around or scratching. I got quite red faced and vexed but finally I sat down woozy from the lack of food. I fell close to the mirror by ‘accident’ and pretended to close my eyes but actually I was secretly peeking into the mirror. Sure enough, Weasel slithered up to my back and the mirror snared his momentary reflection. It looked like a weird sort of long scurrying animal with a decidedly strange face. “How can you see Weasel when you have glass buttons for eyes?” I whispered as I pretended to be faint on the floor. Weasel slithered over my hand and vanished in a pile of junk. I opened my eyes. The two glass button eyes were resting on my hand. Weasel laughed from under the junk.