Scene 4

The attic was essentially as Bernie remembered it. Hot, smelly and unneighborly. The headroom was non-existent and the floorboards few and far between. As for the items being stored, there was no order to any of it. Boxes were tossed about with little care, as though the person storing them simply wanted to leave this place as soon as humanly possible.

There was only one natural light source – the window at the west end. Closest to him, the window facing the east was darkened with paint. The sight of this sent a shiver down his spine, though he wasn't certain why.

As a child, Bernie recalled that the attic was one of his haunts. When he was Melody's age, young Bernie possessed the ability to climb up the hallway walls and escape into these recesses without even the aid of a ladder.

He and his friend Chuck Conroy...!

“I just remembered why I don't like coming up here,” he called down to his daughter. When she returned a questioning response, he added, “Because every time I do I remember something from my past.”

“Isn't that a good thing,” Melody asked him, hauling one of the boxes up the ladder.

“I don't know,” her father said. “I haven't decided yet.”

What had happened to ol' Chuck? he wondered.

“What was it you remembered this time?”

Bernie told her about his friend. “We used to hang out up here as though it was our fort. Of course, the fun ended when Chuck tried to stand up and a roofing nail stabbed him in the head.” Bernie pointed to the various nail spikes sticking through the boards.

Melody squinted at where her father was pointing. Once her eyes had focused on one of the pointing protrusions she grabbed her mouth and gasped. For a moment, Bernie was afraid she was about to vomit.

“I have to go,” she said, dramatically. However, after a few moments she returned with another box. “That's horrible,” she said. “Was that the same Mr. Conroy who lives down the street?”

Bernie rubbed his chin and thought about it for a bit. “Yeah,” he said. “I guess it is.” He hadn't spoken to Chuck in years. “He just hasn't been as fun since he started going by Charles.”

Melody laughed at her father. “You never could stand the classy folk,” she said. “Anyway. That's it. No more boxes.”

He slapped his hands together as though he were knocking off dust. “And no more memory lane.” He spun around to better position himself towards the exit and his foot knocked a box of jelly jars. The containers clanked together violently and Bernie suddenly lost his breath. He leaned forward and let out a gasp of terror.

Melody popped her head up. “What's the matter, now?” she asked him.

Bernie only stared at her for a moment. “I really don't know,” he said, finally. “Some whispered words flashed in my head: They're in the jars. Release them from the jars. And suddenly I had the feeling you get when you just realized you've had a library book overdue for ten years.”

Melody grimaced. “You used to keep your library books in jars?” She smiled at him evilly.

Bernie shook his head, but didn't respond to her question. Instead he said, “I want out of here before I remember I'm the Manchurian Candidate."

It Happened on Lafayette Street

Season One: Episode One

Melody Jackson

vs. The Hound from Hell

by BMB Johnson

Scene 4

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