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There's A World In My Attic
A short sci-fi story by Chuck Keyes
John Ravenwood cheerfully moved into his late uncle's estate. A huge southern house, built in the mid eighteen hundreds, filled with precious antiques, and past mysteries. He just finished carrying in the last two boxes of his belongings, and now he's sitting on the sofa enjoying a cold bottle of beer. His cell phone sounded for his attention with the theme from the Twilight Zone.
"Are you all moved in?"
"Yup, I just finished bringing in the last two boxes."
"Is the house nice?" asked Misty."
"Its way beyond the word nice, and by the time you arrive on Tuesday, I'll have all the cobwebs swept out of the corners, I'll have the kitchen stocked with food, and we'll have a first candle light dinner celebration in our new home."
"Oh, John, I am excited. I'm still in disbelief that your uncle left you his house."
"Dear, it's more than just a house, it's a mansion. I'm still in shock, but this morning I signed the papers with attorneys and we're the proud owners of this mansion. Right now, I'm sitting in a huge front parlor, looking up at a large portrait hanging over the fireplace mantel of my dear departed Uncle Sheldon. Although I don't recognize him; however, I've been told I met him a few times when I was knee high to a grasshopper."
"Your mother says he was a creepy man who lived in recluse."
"Misty, he was an intelligent man, and sometimes too much intelligence can make a man eccentric."
Misty giggled. "You're sticking up for your weird uncle because he left you his estate."
"Yeah, and I don't want to speak badly about my father's brother. Besides, I think it’s a church rule when someone dies your suppose to say good things about them, so St. Peter will let them through the gates of heaven."
"Okay, but if your Uncle Sheldon's portrait is creepy, I don't want it hanging up in my parlor."
John chuckled. "Well, my Uncle Sheldon is a little creepy looking. He has the evil eyes like a mad scientist who wants to dominate the world."
"Are you trying to scare me?"
"My dear, you’re a decorated Houston police officer, which means nothing can scare you."
"Starting next week I'm going to be a Dallas Detective."
"Congratulations, you got the position you wanted!"
"I sure did, but I had to call in many favors. Have you found a nice room in our mansion to use as your novel writing office?"
"Yeah, I did. The mansion has an office and library with huge windows looking out at the flower gardens. It's a perfect atmosphere for me to write a bestseller!"
"That's wonderful; I guess I'm happy for you. I'll see you next Tuesday."
"Honey, I love you, and I will write a bestseller."
"I know you love me."
"Misty, this magnificent mansion makes up for the past year and half I've been home trying to write my bestseller…"
She hung up before John could say another word about his writing, which she has classified in her brain files as being a waste of time.
For the rest of the afternoon, John unpacked boxes until he became tired. Nighttime is approaching, and the mansion's electricity hasn't been turned on yet. Stored in his Styrofoam ice chest, he ate a ham and cheese sandwich and drank two beers. The mansion became as dark as the ace of spades. John has never believed in ghosts or demons, but being the authorities had found his uncle Sheldon's body in the mansion, lying on the kitchen floor in a pool of his own blood, with his body mysteriously torn up as if he was mauled by a grizzly bear. The thought of how he died, along with the darkness, is playing a song of creepiness within his mind. Of course, he has no intentions of telling Misty about his uncle's peculiar death. She assumes he died of old age, so that's how he'll leave it.
With a battery operated lantern in hand, John climbed the stairs to the second floor. He slowly walked along the hallway on his way to the master bedroom. The light from the lantern is creating spooky shadows in the doorways, making John feel jittery. All of sudden, he heard a faint cry coming from the far end of the hallway. He couldn't tell if the cry was being made by a man or an animal, such as a cat that could be hiding in the mansion. Curiosity forced him to walk by the master bedroom doorway to the far end of the hall, where there's a stairway leading up to the attic.
John climbed the steps to the attic, walked along a short hallway to where he came upon a door crisscrossed with thick straps of metal for added strength. Curled up on the floor in front of the door is a big white cat. Feeling relieved the cry he was hearing wasn't a phantom, John spoke to the cat. "kitty, how did you find your way into the mansion?" The cat stood up and brush against John's leg. That's when he surprisingly noticed it has a double long tail, large creepy orange eyes with eyelids opening and closing horizontally. The cat has a bright red collar around its neck. John read an inscription on a brass tag hanging from the collar. "So your name is Fyglia. If my memory serves me correctly, a Fyglia is mythically known as a personal spirit who often takes on the form of an animal."
After examining Fyglia to lean she has a long split tongue, John turned his attention to the reinforced door. He turned the knob and pulled the door open to reveal an astoundingly new world, filled with bright sunshine and a tropical forest stretching downward to a valley with a winding river. The friendly feline creature ran past him, so he stepped through the doorway to grab it as proof of what he's experiencing, but it was too fast. He turned to step back into the hallway, but the doorway had vanished. John frantically spun around; looking for the attic door, but it was nowhere to be found. Where the hell am I? he mentally asked himself. This is a different world made up of unrecognizable foliage, bright colors, and twin suns overhead. How can all this exist beyond my uncle Sheldon's attic door? Did I just step into another plane of existence? The answers to these questions flowed side by side along with his fear.
In anticipation the attic door will be reappearing, he decided not to move from his location.
Twenty-five minutes of waiting passed by when a few dozen ugly purple bugs the size of blackbirds curiously buzzed around John's head, forcing him to run away like a frightened rabbit. John ran to the bottom of the mountain, along the river's edge, and off in the distance he can see a huge wall made of bark-less yellow logs, stuck into the ground like electrical poles, side by side, and tightly lashed together at the top with vines. He continued to run until he had no choice but to stop and catch his breath. He listened and looked around, and then he sighed in relief upon realizing the nasty looking bugs had broken off their pursuit. He stood there in a meadow near the river, figuring there may be people living beyond the wall of giant logs. Perhaps they can tell me how to find the attic door.
By the time John approached the log wall, the twin suns were beginning to disappear over the horizon. He reckoned the wall is about thirty feet tall. Way too tall for him to attempt climbing. There's no entrance, which means he has no choice but to follow the wall, but darkness is now falling upon this weird land. Up against the wall, he found a soft grassy spot to lie down and wait out the night. In spite of his fear of sleeping outside under the stars on a strange new world, exhaustion captured his body, and he fell asleep.
He woke up to find Fyglia the alien-like pussycat cuddled up against chest, snoring to beat the band. "Hey, Fyglia, if I hadn't gone after you through the attic doorway, I wouldn't be in this damn fix!"
Fyglia opened her mysterious orange eyes and stared at John. "Fyglia, are you my personal spirit?" He chuckled, followed with a groan as he stood up under the arising twin sun morning sky. Off to his left he noticed a herd of winged horses grazing in a huge field of tall bluish green grass. When the wild horses noticed John, the herd took off running, and after they gathered up enough speed, they lifted off the ground to take flight. John watched their beautiful twenty foot wingspans swiftly carry them away over the river and through the valley. "What the hell, Fyglia, I'm in a land of mythical winged horses. Do you know where I can find the attic door?" The alien-like cat looked up at him without answering his question.
John stretched his arms overhead, deeply yawned, and then he trudged on, fallowing the log wall, looking for an entrance. Like a dog trailing his master, Fyglia the weird p**** closely stayed behind John, watching his every footstep.
Three hours of walking past by, and John was becoming thirsty and hungry. He rounded a corner to see the river had curved around close to the wall. "What the hell," John grunted and blinked his eyes in surprise to see a variety of dinosaurs, each drinking water, and bathing themselves in a huge lake formed by the river. He knows the scientific name for each dinosaur classification he's staring at with wide-eyes, such as Ceratopsians, Prosauropods, Sauropods, and Hadrosaurs. "There are dinosaurs living in this weird planet. I wish I was dreaming," he said to Fyglia while he turned around to see the cat magically alter its shape into a beautiful young woman with long white hair down to her waist. She's wearing a bright red dress, a red collar around her neck, and protruding from a h*** in the backside of her dress is a long cat's tail whipping about. "Fyglia, apparently you're some kind of shape-shifter," he voiced with a surprise tone. "Can you talk to me? I need to find the attic door so I can return to my earth world!"
Without saying a word, Fyglia stared at him through her mysterious orange eyes.
"You look as if you're judging me. Tell me what to do?"
With a deadpan expression, Fyglia raised her hand and pointed her finger beyond John, along the yellow log wall.
"Okay, I'll continue following the damn wall!" In spite of being physically out of shape from sitting in front his computer for the past year and a half, attempting to write a bestseller novel, he marched onward with wondering eyes. Capturing every movement made by the weird animals within this mystical forest. Rabbits with extra large clawed feet for climbing trees, orange haired monkeys with bat wings they use for gliding from tree to tree, and large turtles with two heads, side by side, protruding from under their ruby red shells.
John heard the whispering flapping of many wings from overhead. By the time he looked up, seventeen winged horses landed behind him, and upon each horse sat a bearded man dressed as King Arthur's knights of the round table.
"Are you foe or friend?" shouted the lead man with long red curly hair.
John noticed the Knight is pointing what looks like an alien laser gun at his head. "I'm a friend. I don't have any weapons."
"Why are you traveling with the mayor's private Fyglia?"
"She's been traveling with me?"
"This white haired Fyglia personally belongs to Sheldon Ravenwood, the mayor of our great city of Atlantis."
"Sheldon Ravenwood is dead?"
"Did you kill him?" the knight angrily asked.
"No…no, Sheldon was my uncle. My name is John Ravenwood."
"So you’re here to collect your bloodline inheritance."
"I'm from planet earth. I stepped through my uncle's attic doorway and my ass wounded up here!"
The big muscular knight deeply chuckled while he slid his alien-like gun into a leather holster. "You crossed over into an adjoining dimensional plane of existence."
"Yup, that's exactly what I had assumed."
The knight swiftly waved his hands around. "This is myth world, the second and final home to the grand earth city of Atlantis. Your Uncle Sheldon was a weak earthly man, but he was a pretty good mayor of Atlantis. How was he killed?"
"He was attacked in his earth home kitchen by an unknown wild animal. The creature tore him up."
"Most likely he was killed by the evil dragon men. Their sharp claws and fangs are their weapons of choice. This wall around Atlantis was built to keep out the dragon men. I warned your uncle to be alert, but as with most all creatures, his old age was catching up with him. You're a young man, but your flesh appears to be weak, like that of an old Woman."
"Yes, I admit that I'm out of shape."
"Weaklings do not live long lives on myth world." He turned toward two of his knights, and after whispering some command words, they took off on their winged horses. Fyglia, I suggest you use your witchcraft to bestow John with the strength he'll need to inherit his legacy."
"A legacy of power and treasures," answered the knight. "I've sent two of my soldiers to fetch your Uncle Sheldon's flying stallion; however, he never had the courage or strength to ride it. Such a waste of a man he was. That's why we titled him as a mayor instead of a king. A king needs to be a man brave enough to fight alongside of his soldiers."
"Sir, what's your name?" asked John.
"My name is Zeus. I'm named after the supreme ruler of Mount Olympus, which over ages has fallen to the wicked dragon men, ruled by King Drake. Every day, my brave soldiers and I scout the boundary regions of Atlantis, killing every dragon man we encounter."
John turned his attention to Fyglia. "Can you give me the strength I need to ride my uncle's flying horse?"
She raised her hands overhead and loudly clapped them three times. A bolt of lightning shot down from the sky and hit john in the center of his chest, forcefully knocking him to the ground. For the next seventy seconds John's body glowed and his muscles grew while he screamed in painful agony. He stood up, feeling awful and shaky on his feet. "What the hell did you do, hit me with a Mack truck?" He stretched his arms, noticing his shirt seems like its three sizes too small. He felt his new bulging muscles. "Holy s***, Fyglia, you turned me into Hercules!"
"She shot John an attractive smile, and then with a wave of her hand, his earth clothes were replaced with a brown leather outfit. Hanging on his belt is a long knife within a sheath and a holster containing a futuristic ray gun. "Damn, now I look like Davy Crocket on steroids."
"Now you look like a myth world man with balls made of iron," voiced Zeus, followed with a deep chuckle. "Although strength can be useless without a heart filled with bravery. Perhaps you'll earn the title of king. Your Ravenwood legacy has been past down for hundreds of generations. Long before a horrific earth storm created a giant portal to push Atlantis into the myth world dimension, and your ancestors have always been brave rulers of Atlantis. That is up until your Uncle Sheldon claimed the legacy without a brave heart. We were afraid soft earth living with the help of technological gadgets has permanently damaged your Ravenwood bloodline. John, do you have a brave heart?"
John chuckled. "I have a feeling I've been set up; however, I understand why. To answer your question, I was the only one in my seventh year class who stood up to Billy the bully. He towered more than a foot above me. I bravely walked up to Billy and told him this is his last day of tormenting my friends and I until we paid him our lunch money, and then I laid him out on the grass with a swift kick to his private parts. Billy never bothered anyone again."
"Why do you consider that ploy of attack to be heroic?" asked Zeus with an inquisitive expression.
"I was so damn nervous I could've missed his balls."
Zeus roared with laughter. "I understand your meaning."
The two soldiers returned with two saddled flying horses. The black flying horse recognized Fyglia. He walked over to her and kneeled down, easily allowing her to climb up and sit upon the fancy leather saddle.
John stared at the huge white stallion wearing a saddle sparkling with gold decorations. He looks exactly like the mythical horse Pegasus. He proudly approached the handsome horse, climbed up onto the saddle, and took hold of the reins.
"We're going to fly north," announced Zeus, "over the city, the suburbs, and the farming lands. You'll notice roads and highways lined with electric vehicles. We take advantage of our twin suns, thus our modernization is powered by clean solar energy."
Like a herd travelling together, the horses ran for a few minutes until their hoofs were off the ground. They circled around, gaining a rapid altitude while passing over the wall of logs.
John is filled with amazement to be flying so high in the sky, looking down at the beautiful city of Atlantis. It's huge with various types of buildings stretching out in every direction.
Zeus led them on a long flight to the north side of Atlantis, over the protective log wall, toward Mount Olympus. They descended to a lower altitude and crisscrossed the land as if Zeus and his soldiers are searching for something. Almost an hour passed by and Zeus maneuvered his steed closer to John. "There's a pack of dragon men down there," he yelled. "They need a good killing." The flock of flying horses dived, landing on the ground, surrounding more than two dozen creatures.
John figured this is his test of bravery. Standing over seven feet tall, the snarling creatures are actually part Velociraptor and human. With long three fingered claws, sharp teeth, raptor-like extended jaws, and whipping tails, the cornered creatures ferociously attacked. John drew his gun, pulled the trigger, and a bright laser beam blasted a h*** through the chest of the closest approaching creature. John used his laser to slice off the arm of a creature who attempted to stab him with a sword. A creature jumped up seven feet off the ground, ramming its body against John, knocking him off his white winged stallion. He hurriedly stood up to realize he doesn't have his gun, so he pulled his long knife from the sheath attached to his belt. Like facing Billy the bully, the creature is taller than he is, and for a brief moment, he thought about kicking its balls. The creature swung its long clawed hand at him and he rapidly ducked. John's added muscular strength gave him the ability to avoid the creature's long raptor claws.
All the dragon men have been killed except the one John is hand to hand fighting. The fearless Atlantis horse soldiers gathered around the fight to cheer John along.
To avoid being brutally bear hugged, John swiftly dropped to the ground and rolled around behind the creature. He jumped up and drove the knife deeply into the creature's back, partially slicing into its spinal column. The creature fell over. John withdrew the knife and used to cut the creature's throat. "Hey, gentlemen, thanks for the help!"
"You didn't require our help," responded Zeus.
"Did I past your test of courage?" John asked while he bent down to retrieve his laser gun. He looked around to see everyone down on one knee, facing him as if he was their king.
"John Ravenwood, from this day forward you have earned your legacy to be the king of Atlantis," voiced Zeus, followed with a broad smile.
Misty Ravenwood parked her car in front the mansion behind John's pickup truck. She marched up to the front door with feelings of anger because he hasn't returned any of her calls. First, she rang the doorbell, and then she turned the door knob to learn the big door is unlocked. She pushed it open and stepped inside. "John, where are you?" she yelled. "John, its Misty!" She started to walk through the mansion, calling out John's name while eyeing the large rooms and expensive antiques.
After completing a walkthrough of the first floor, Misty became frantic, thinking she might find John hurt or dead. She climbed the stairs to the second floor.
Fyglia opened a passageway to earth.
"Oh good, my attic door," John voiced as he jumped off his white winged stallion he named Pegasus.
Fyglia transformed into a cat and followed John into the short attic hallway. John heard Misty calling out to him. "Misty, I'm up here in the attic."
He met Misty at the bottom of the attic stairs.
"John, what the hell are you wearing?"
"My new clothes."
"Excluding your strange alien gun, you're dressed up like a pioneering scout for a wagon train heading west."
"I'm comfortable in these clothes."
"My God, how can that be? Your chest and arms are buffed with muscles."
He offered her his most handsome smile. "I've been working out."
"In the attic."
"There's no way you can enlarge your muscles in just one week." She noticed the strange white cat sitting on the floor next to him. "What's that animal?"
"Her name is Fyglia. She's bonded to my soul. She'll guide me along my journey of life."
"That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard of. How come you haven't returned my calls?"
"I haven't been."
"Where have you been?"
"I've been in the attic. There's an amazing world in the attic."
"John, you're being foolish, just like when you quit your engineering job to write a bestseller science fiction novel. I didn't marry you to support your ass!"
"But, dear, I have a better deal now, plus I can write a real life science fiction novel. I'm the king of Atlantis…it's my legacy…my bloodline."
Misty shook her head. "I'm going to write a bestselling titled; 'I Married A Nut Case'."
"Yes, you're married to me, John Ravenwood. That makes you the queen of Atlantis. You'll be ravaged with jewels, fancy clothing, and we can have children who'll carry on the Ravenwood bloodline."
"Do you really expect me to believe you’re the king of the mythical lost city of Atlantis?"
"Atlantis is a real city. Here on earth it's lost, but it was found up in the attic on myth world."
"John, I'm leaving you!" She turned and walked away.
"No! Misty, please wait! I can prove what I'm saying."
"Fyglia," John whispered, "do your shape shifting thing."
Misty spun around to shout at John, but her mouth dropped and her eyes grew wide upon seeing the white cat transfer into a beautiful white haired woman. "John, how did you do that?"
"I didn't do it. Fyglia is a shape shifter."
Misty curiously walked up to Fyglia and touched her shoulder. "You're trying to save our marriage by showing me a gorgeous woman?"
"Yeah, I am."
Fyglia politely bowed her head, and then she transferred back into a cat."
"I prefer she remain a cat creature!" snapped Misty.
John chuckled. "You're more jealous then amazed about Fyglia's shape shifting. Come up to the attic with me and see for yourself. I'm not crazy; everything I've been saying is true." He reached his hand out to her. "I love you."
She took hold of her husband's hand. "Oh my, your hand seems bigger."
"Honey, I've been super enhanced with rock hard muscles, which means I'm stronger and bigger everywhere." He guided her up the stairs and along the short hallway to the heavy-duty attic door. He yanked open the door, presenting Misty with an amazing picturesque view of myth world.
Misty stood there in awe, gazing down the mountain to the valley where the winding river flows. Off to her left she sees John's white winged stallion and Fyglia's black winged steed grazing on purplish green grass. "I thought you flipped your brain upside down," voiced Misty, "but you've been telling me the truth."
"Yes, this is myth world."
"Am I really the queen of Atlantis?"
"Yes, Misty, you are the queen of Atlantis, and even though your career in law enforcement has always come before me, in my heart you've always been my beautiful queen."
"Oh, John, I do love you." She wrapped her arms around his new muscular body and gave him a devoted tongue waltzing kiss.
After their long passionate kiss, John led Misty through the attic doorway. He whistled and Pegasus came running over to his side. John mounted Pegasus and pulled Misty up to sit in the front between his arms, and then they flew away toward Atlantis to live happily ever after.
© November 2011