The first time I heard the voice I was outside. Just a hint of a whisper but enough to make me hesitate in the middle of hanging the wet clothes out to dry. The hair on the back of my neck stood on end and goose bumps rippled up my arms as I heard it again...
Just one word floating on the wind, but enough to chill my blood. I hadn't felt that scared since Tommy put a spider down my back last year in fifth grade. I pulled my thin sweater closer to me and hugged my arms to my chest as I slowly looked around the back yard. I knew there was no one out back but me and yet I had to be sure.
There it was again. As if that spooky voice knew I was there and was wanting me to search for it. I lay Pa's overalls back in the wicker basket and turn toward the back of the house. There, at the top of a set of old stone steps, was a padlocked door. Pa always told me there was nothing behind that door, just dust and debris that comes with any old house around here. But then why was there a padlock on it? Was it to keep someone out or to keep something inside?
"Please, Sally, help me."
Was it my imagination or was the voice coming from the other side of that door? Pa always threatened to tan my hide if I was to even look at that old staircase, much less try to see what was in that room, but that voice...that hint of a whisper voice was calling to me again and it sounded like it came from behind that door.
Leaves crunched and crackled under my worn out shoes as I stepped closer to the staircase. Glancing around one more time to make sure Pa was still inside listening to his radio programs, I slowly made my way to the bottom of the stairs. The railing scratched at my skin as I gingerly put my foot on the bottom step, not really sure if I was brave enough to make it to the top. Maybe it was better to leave whatever was behind that door alone. Maybe Pa was right and it was just dust and debris in there. Maybe it was just my imagination and the wind playing tricks on me. Just as I was about to turn away from the stairs, I heard that voice one more time and I knew just what I had to do.
"Sally, don't you want to know why he locked me in here?"