The Sixth Tale - Ink
Simon P. Clark
September the Fifteenth
Mama says I have to be better. I pulled a face at Stephen and now I’m being punished. It’s not fair, though. He does things to irritate me. Does he get punished, though? Oh, no. Stephen’s an angel. Butter wouldn’t melt, I’m sure. I should put vinegar on his cereal whenever I get the chance. If there’s anything he loves more than annoying me, it’s his food. Hah!
I heard the noise from the roof again last night. Mama says it’s nothing, or it’s just a bird on the tiles. I told her it’s coming from the loft, but she doesn’t believe me. She’s too busy (and she told me to stop making things up!)
If it’s something nasty I swear I will catch it and put it in Stephen’s room. How will he like that?
Not very much, let me tell you.
September the Twenty-Ninth
Lucy at school was acting so strangely today, and I wanted to ask her why but then she went off with Janey. I can’t think what I’ve done. Maybe it was nothing. I hope so. She’s really the closest friend I have, but I couldn’t tell her that. I wouldn’t want her to laugh.
Mr. Landsdown came and checked for rats. He says the loft’s empty. ‘There’s no way for anything to get in,’ he said. I climbed the ladder and peeked in, even though Mama said it was unladylike. It’s dark and dusty up there, but it’s dry, and I think he’s right. The window didn’t have any cracks. I wonder what was making the noise? Tomorrow I shall ask Janey if she wants to be partners for the history homework.
October the Second
Stephen thinks he’s so funny, but he’s not – he’s a bully, and he’s nasty about it. Every time I sit near him he smirks and taps his foot and asks if I can hear the knocking. Mama knows he does it, but will she stop him? Hardly! I shouldn’t have told him about the noises in the loft.
October the Third
Maybe it’s actually him? The noises, I mean. Maybe it was him all along. Don’t know how (string? Maybe wire?). This would be just like him – doing something so horrible for no real reason other than to scare me. Well, I won’t be scared. Let him knock on the ceiling!
October the Fourteenth
Same dream. I keep having the same dream and I don’t like it.
October the Twentieth
I don’t know what to do.
There’s something up there
October the Twenty-First
It’s not a rat. It can talk. It knows my name.
I don’t know what to do.
October the Twenty-Third
It’s night-time. I’m writing this and everything is quiet and dark. No. Not quiet. I can hear him. I can hear him whispering things. He keeps asking me questions, asking if I know any stories. I think I might be mad. He’s not real. But I hear him. And then I have the dreams. I’m ignoring him. I pretend not to hear. But then what? There’s no ladder. He can’t come down.
November the First
Mama says I’m sick. She sounded worried. Hah! She should be. She would be if she could hear the thing moving up there. It shuffles and whispers and cries about stories. What does that even mean? Hah! Even Stephen was nicer today. He said I looked pale and he let me have the bigger piece of meatloaf. I didn’t say thank you, though. You can’t make up for being such a bully just by being nice for one dinner.
November the Fifth
We all went to the big bonfire. Billy Stower tried to kiss my cheek but Mama shooed him away. She was smiling a bit, though. I told her I wouldn’t have minded. Billy Stower’s got nice eyes. She said that’s not the point, but she let me have a candy apple on the way home. Stephen was in a huff, but who cares about that?
November the Fifth (again)
I had a dream. He was there. He made me tell him about Guy Fawkes and the bonfire and everything. He made me tell him the story, and I didn’t know how to stop, and then I wanted to scream and scream and I woke up shaking.
November the Eleventh
There's something wrong with this diary. There were words written in it, but I didn't write them. I don't think Stephen would do that. I know Mama wouldn't.
I tore out the page.
November the Twelfth
More writing. I don't like it. I tore it out again. I'm taking the pens out of my room. It probably was Stephen. I hope he doesn't read this. I'm going to hide it.
November the Sixteenth
Scared. More writing.
He said he can hear me when I dream.
November the Seventeenth
There are things in the air. Whispers. Words. Words and ink. I hear them. They drip. There are words and I will gobble them up and have them and be strong and be strong and be strong and and and ink ink ink words whispers help he's in here like a buzzing fly like a flying buzzing cloud and there are pages and paper and pens and poor pretty pretty polly help
November the Eighteenth
I didn't write that. I DIDN'T.
November the Twenty-First
I made a decision today. Mrs. Porter at school told me my stitching was bad, and Janey laughed, and she whispered something to Roger Morgan and smiled. I think she’s a cow. No one likes me there. It’s not my fault, though. I wanted friends but they wanted someone to pick on, and how is that fair? So I made a decision. I'm going to go up. I know how to do it. But it’s scary. Maybe I shouldn’t?
No, I will. I’ll go up. Who even cares about Mama and her unladylike rubbish?
At school today Priss told me I looked sick, and for a second – just a second – I thought I wanted to bite her.
November the Twenty-Third
I will go up I will I will.
I’m going to dance and swing in the moonlight and laugh at the blackness and feed on the tendrils of all the lives, all the people, and they’re all down below, and... and...
What am I doing? Why I am writing this? I thought I was in bed. I’m at my desk. I’m holding a pen.
When did I Go up, go up to see the queen! Come up and see what scuttles and grins in the dark!
I think I blacked out. There are too many words here, they’re not mine, but they’re in my head, screaming and burning and When shall I go up? Not long now. Too much sleep, that's the thing. And wasting my energy writing and blowing. Has to be more, going in and not out - up and not down! Up, up, up like ... like ... who goes up? Somebody does. I know. I know! Jack, and the beanstalk. Jill, to get water. Someone up a mountain? People always do. Truth and hope and answers, all up. Who'd go down? Underthings and underworlds. Pah! Go up. Up and away, up in a sleigh! That'd be Santy. Father Christmas, he goes up. All the good 'uns do...
What … what was that? I don’t … I …
I’m going up to the loft right now.
November the Twenty-Fourth
Was that real?
November the Twenty-Fifth
It was it was it was
November the Twenty-Sixth
I saw him again today
November the Twenty-Ninth
Sometimes Mama asks me why I’m smiling. She asks if I heard something at night – says she thought she heard bumps and knocks in the loft! I smile back, and tell her she mustn’t worry. There’s nothing there, I say. Nothing real. It’s all made up.
And up there, curled up, I feel him watching and smiling with me.
Ink, Eren Tales © Simon P. Clark 2014. All rights reserved.
Photography © Brandon Rechten 2014. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission
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