We only ventured up in Aunt Mary's upstairs once. Dimly lit, smelling of dust and age and dark old wood baking in the summer heat. I'm sure you smelled that smell before, of aged wood, like someone had ground overly ripe orange peels mixed with potpourri into the seams of the wooden boards. There were two rooms and a bathroom, at least from the brief glance I got of it.
I couldn't tell you what any of the rooms looked like.We never walked into any of them. I never even used her bathroom once -- so I couldn't describe it to save my life. I always made sure to empty my bladder before leaving the house. My mother didn't like making restroom pit stops during our trips.
The weird part about it was that we never got a sense of adventure just to explore the house, like every kid does. We had already established the fact that THIS house wasn't the usual run-of-the-mill place. It wasn't a house where you knew every nook and cranny. It wasn't a place where you knew to not touch that vase/bookshelf/urn sitting on the mantle/china cabinet/end table.
The upstairs was just creepy. When it was suggested, quite unexpectedly, by my aunt to go exploring upstairs, I was a bit startled by the request.
There were times I went to her house with just my mother, other times when my siblings were with us. I believe I was the only sibling there for this time--or at least the one time who went upstairs.
Every time I thought about the upstairs rooms, the image of the photo album came back to me. There's a picture in it where the camera flash didn't snap as my cousin stood there in her band uniform. The picture in itself is spooky, with her standing there, like someone hiding in the shadows and you only catch glimpses of their outline from the small flashes of colors from their clothes.
I had that image in my mind when walking up those creaking steps. Had that image in my mind when staring at the half-closed doors. Had that image from the one room when the wind blew the curtains--and the house creaked when settling on the foundation. Ghosts in the shadows. Hidden things that don't want a little kid disturbing the atmosphere of the house from ages long past. The breeze, the creaking aged boards, the strange smells.
Yeah, that was enough to give me the heebie-jeebies. I let out a cry of fright as if my cousin's photo had come to life in that house and something lurked there in the shadows, telling me by the creaks that they walked toward me.
creeeaaak.... creeaaakkk.... CREEEEAAAAKK
I hightailed my butt back downstairs. When my mother asked what the problem was, I shrugged my shoulders and did like every kid does. I bowed my head and mumbled that nothing was wrong. No kid wants anyone, especially not their teasing siblings, to find out your spooked about something. Because THEY will haunt you every waking moment with their taunts of being a scaredy cat.