Monday, March 28, 2011

Places that Inspire : Attic

Inspiration comes from everywhere, so for this week’s post (and probably the rest, except if something specific catches my attention) I’ll look at an ordinary place and how to draw inspiration from it.

An attic, for those who don’t know, is a space that fits between a slanted roof and the ceiling of a building’s top floor. This prevents, I imagine, awkward-looking top floor ceilings. Ergo, attics are generally weirdly shaped and are probably filled with rafters and the like. They are also generally hard to get to and hard to manoeuvre in. Most people use them for storage, though some convert them into bedrooms or studies.

There are two things that caught my attention from that and which I will try to expand on.

1) Attics are hard to get to (and subsequently not visited often).
2) Attics are used for storage.

For 1, I can deduce that if it is not visited often, it would be a good place to hide. Plus, if I take into account that people convert it into rooms, it translates into a room that was made where someone who does not want to be found can go. Since I’m a sucker for the supernatural, I immediately think of a not-entirely-human man hiding in the room to avoid getting torch-and-pitchforked. Or, maybe he’s trying to stay in. But if he was, say, a werewolf, the room would have to be heavily fortified, or he’d just bring the whole roof down. That’s a beginning.

Number 2 tells me that there is probably a lot of old things in attics. Again with the supernatural, it could be VERY old things. As in ancient times when people still used magic and so on. Old things implies old people or the handing down of items. Let’s say there is an old man who was guarding some sort of artefact from the old days. Before he could pass the responsibility on to his son, he dies of a heart attack.
The son goes up to the attic to clear it out in preparation for the sale of the house, but then he finds the artefact and activates it, inadvertently destroying the world/transporting him somewhere else/anything else that could go wrong.

I hope this gives you an idea of the thought process I go through to come up with a story.

What ideas can you come up with about attics?

Herewith is my attempt at flash fiction based on idea number one (feel free to leave a piece of flash fiction based on an attic – 200 words or less in this case – of your own in the comments):

Henry climbed the ladder that led to the great metal hatch on his ceiling. He typed in the code that released the lock on the keypad next to it. Another box was attached to the ceiling with a green light shining in a corner. He typed on the pad, inputting 12 hours as the time. The light turned red and Henry opened the hatch.
A single lamp hung high in the rafters and a thin light was cast in from outside the window. He climbed inside and closed the hatch behind him. There was a loud click. The lock was active.
The entire room - except for the reinforced window - was metal. Five inches thick. Even so, there were huge dents and long gashes everywhere.
Henry went to sit in the middle of the room, facing the window. After an hour, he felt his skin tingle and his bones shift. It would be eleven hours before the hatch opened again.
The full moon came out from behind the trees.

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