The Guy In Our Attic

Hot take: I think entertainment shouldn’t make me want to die. I avoid horror movies like I do near-acquaintances in malls—when going to malls didn’t mean you were potentially sentencing others to immeasurable suffering… used to be only yourself—by practicing my belief that if I can’t see them, they can’t see me.

Maybe I’d get more out of horror movies if I watched the screen instead of the backs of my hands and if I didn’t read the Midsommar Wikipedia plot summary before promptly seeking aftercare. (…There’s no “but.” We all know I’m not changing. Personal growth? No thanks.)

None of this resistance, however, could have prevented what happened on Friday. Friday night was dark and stormy, naturally, and Mom and I decided to cancel our tennis plans. Finishing my pork bun, I left the kitchen and started up the stairs to my bathroom. I stopped on the second step.

the guy in our attic, open attic hatch, scary story

The attic hatch was open. I stood there, halfheartedly gaslighting myself. I frequently create false memories, i.e. of the Berenstein bears, of losing my water bottle at a restaurant only to find it’d never left the house, or of my general competence.

Could I have just never noticed it was open? But why now? It looked so obviously different even from the foot of the stairs. My mind, desperate for my life to be interesting, immediately suggested it could’ve been a person who’d moved it, but the hatch was at least 10 feet from the floor with nothing nearby to stand on.

Me: Mom, did you open the attic hatch?

Mom: What attic?

Before I could pack up my bags and leave the country, I realized she’d just misheard me. She brought up a ladder to the second floor and I pre-entered 9-1-1 onto my phone. She set up the ladder and climbed three rungs.

Mom: Should I go up there?

I thought when I habitually checked behind the shower curtain for a murderer and some comedian was like, so then what happens when you find one? You’re gonna rip open the shower curtain and scare him? Now he’s trying to kill you and he’s angry. Congratulations.

shower curtain intruder joke, scary story

Me: Science says no.

I texted a friend my address with a picture of the open attic hatch and the message “If something happens to me, it’ll be the guy in the attic.”

Friend: You should put out food and see if someone takes it.

I tried to recall whether I’d written her into my will, if I had a will. Otherwise, why was she trying to get me killed?

Me: HELL no

Me: This isn’t Parasite 😭

Meanwhile, my mom, who probably wasn’t as deranged but still confused as to what had opened the hatch, called her brother.  I took my bathroom essentials downstairs and sat, watching the foot of the staircase.

Ten minutes later, she called me over to say that it’d been the storm. The winds had created a pressure differential and pushed up the panel.

Me: But have there not been more severe storms before? And you’ve never seen this happen here?

Mom: Nope. Go to sleep.


Mom: What, you want to sleep with me?

me, 22 and ashamed

Actually, I’d been considering never sleeping again. But I gathered up the shards of my 22-year-old pride and took it upstairs, where I inched around the hatch area, half-expecting someone to slide it open again and peek out.

The next day, my friends who didn’t consider my situation just a day in the life asked what’d happened. I answered, probably to their disappointment, and we all moved on.

Or, sort of. Sometimes when I walk around that area and hope he’s doing all right. If he’s reading this, by the way, he’s welcome to some Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Someone has to stop me from eating it all.

the guy in our attic, open attic hatch

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Last post: Showing My Serial Killer Apartment

6 thoughts on “The Guy In Our Attic

    1. I watched this standup special recently where a comedian talked about how he and his friend went to sleep feeling there was someone in the house but not finding anyone. The next morning they found a homeless woman in there.. so he was like you SHOULD be scared when home alone at night! (Also—sorry this response is so late, took a sabbatical)


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