The Man in the Attic.

Ron and Karen both sat sullen faced in the darkened living room as they listened to the howling winds of the hurricane outside. The boarded up windows blocked out much of the light along with the the terrifying sights of the storm. Occasionally they heard the sound of something breaking or something heavy falling but could only guess what that sound was.

Adding to the dreadful mood were the remnants of the fierce argument that took place days before the hurricane’s arrival. Okay, so their son Ian didn’t do anything to get his life going, but that was no reason to throw him out of the house and tell him not to come back. Little did Ron and Karen know, however, that instead of being forced out, Ian went back in through the garage, and through a series of well-timed events, managed to climb into the attic, where he had been hiding all this time.

Then Ian followed a strange hunch and discovered a ladder that descended behind the wall of his parents’ bedroom at the other side of the attic. After climbing down the ladder, Ian was amazed to find a hidden bedroom, complete with a bed, a bathroom and a small refrigerator, and there he was safe and sound while his parents worried about him and pondered his whereabouts.

Life was good for Ian until the bedroom’s lone occupant suddenly appeared, not at all pleased with Ian’s presence. An argument ensued along with a physical struggle that created a commotion Ian’s parents could hear from the living room. And then…

“MOM! DAD! HELP!”

Ron and Karen jumped as they heard Ian’s screams from out of nowhere. Ron grabbed his flashlight and cautiously began tracing the source of the screams.

“Ian? Is that you?”

“YES!”

“Where are you?”

“Down here!”

“WHERE?”

“Down here! Next to your feet!”

Ron immediately shone his light down on the floor and was startled to see Ian’s face behind the air vent under the cabinet beneath the kitchen sink.

“IAN? What are you doing down there? How’d you get down there anyway?”

“Dad, there is a small bedroom under this house!”

“WHAT?”

“A small bedroom under this house! Just go in the attic to the space above your room and go down the ladder behind the wall! That’s where the bedroom is!”

“AND IT’S MINE!” a third voice suddenly rang out. Ron jumped back while shaking his flashlight.

“Who the hell is that!” Ron yelled.

“The guy who lives here!” Ian yelled back.

“So there’s someone living in a hidden bedroom under MY HOUSE?” Ron bellowed. “I’LL BE RIGHT THERE!”

So Ron and Karen quickly ran into the garage to climb into the attic and made their way to the hidden ladder, where they quickly climbed down to enter the hidden bedroom where Ian and the stranger continued their physical altercation. This room was very dark with the sole source of light being the battery-operated lantern shining through the air vent from the living room.

“STOP!” Ron yelled. “Will someone PLEASE tell me what the hell is going on? Who the hell are you?”

“Classified information,” the stranger said.

“Nice to meet you, Mr. Information,” Ron replied. “What is this place?”

“Classified information,” the stranger repeated.

“What are you doing here?”

“Classified information.”

“You’re not telling me anything,” Ron sneered.

“All I can say is, this is government property, and you are trespassing.”

“Trespassing? This is a bedroom located under MY house and to get here we had to go through MY attic,” Ron said. “And besides, I take it my tax dollars are funding your presence here?”

“That would be correct,” the stranger said.

“Well then, I’d like an explanation,” Ron said. “unless this is another example of excess spending.”

“That’s classified information,” the stranger repeated, producing his gun. “Now please leave or I will have you arrested for trespassing!”

“My tax dollars at work,” Ron sighed. “Come on, Karen, let’s leave our vagrant alone. But we’ll come back. I still want to know what’s going on. Oh wait, that’s -”

“Classified information,” Ron and the stranger chimed together. Shaking his head, Ron climbed up the ladder with Karen close behind. Ian, however, did not follow his parents, instead he crawled under the bed to investigate what was going on.

Feeling he was alone, the stranger slid a metal plate over the air vent to completely darken the bedroom. Seconds later a small, flashing green light was switched on and Ian could hear the stranger’s voice.

“Agent Zero,” the stranger said.

“We’re waiting,” came the reply over what sounded like a radio.

Then there was a loud hissing noise, and Ian lifted the bedspread from under the bed to see the stranger begin to disappear under the floor in his seat as a hidden platform began to lower. Ian quickly scrambled out from under the bed for a better look and looked down the hole in the floor to see a dimly lit metal chamber with a door at one end. He could see the stranger begin walking towards the door as the platform began to lift the chair back up.

Ian immediately knew he had to get down to where the agent was if he was to find out what was going on, but how? The chair was now halfway back to the floor when Ian decided to just jump down the hole. Down he went, bouncing off the chair and down to the floor below for an inelegant but safe landing. By now the chair had reached the floor above and the machinery operating the platform shut itself off.

Ian made it. The only way now was in.

To be continued…

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