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Friday, 3 April 2015

KBR Short Story: Grandpa's Attic

by Elizabeth Paterson


Noah coughed as the thick dust from the floor in the attic was disturbed by his footsteps. Grandpa said he hadn’t been up here in a while, but with his memory getting worse, perhaps it had been much longer.

“Did you know, Noah,” Grandpa had said, putting down his tea, “I used to be a musician? I’ve still got some music in the attic.” He scratched his grey whiskered chin, and his wrinkled brow furrowed so deeply that his bushy, white eyebrows almost disappeared into his spectacles. “Though, I haven’t been up there in a while. Perhaps you’d like to take a look for me?”

Noah shrugged. A squiz in the attic might be a little bit interesting: more interesting at least than making his last arrowroot biscuit crumble to pieces in his hot chocolate. He scuffed his sneakers along the fraying carpet and climbed the small staircase to the attic.

Looking at it all, he thought it might take weeks to sift through all the junk Grandpa had hoarded over the years. Noah took another creaking step and his footstep trumpeted. Wait -trumpeted? He took another step and this time he could have sworn his sneaker laces had strummed like a guitar.

As he jumped back in fright,a snare drum cracked. He dared not move again. The lively musical noises that were spilling out of the very air in the attic were unlike anything Noah had ever heard. He looked around the dimly lit space and saw towering piles of sheet music stacked up one upon another, half covering an acoustic drum kit, propping up a violin with a missing string, and filling the bell of a dull, brass saxophone.

Noah could not quite tell, but from the orchestral warm-up that was beginning to swell he thought many more instruments could have been lying quietly in different shaped cases around the room.

“What’s happening?” Noah whispered.

Suddenly, as though his voice had been the waving of the conductor’s baton, the instruments burst into glorious music. The sheets of music vibrated and shook, and then the notes lifted off each page and began to dance in the air. The semi-quavers that the violin trilled off the page wafted over to where Noah stood and skipped quickly across his nose before a crotchet rest bumped along behind and silenced them for a beat.

Noah turned and ran from the attic but before the door shut with the great clash of cymbals he saw the whole room filled with floating crotchets and minims, swirling in magnificent song.

Noah burst into the family room, panting and white-faced, where his Grandpa sat smiling, eyes closed as though he was listening to a beautiful tune he used to know.

“Ah,Noah,” Grandpa sighed. “You never told me you were a musician too.”


Elizabeth Paterson is a stay-at-home mother of two children with a Bachelor of Music. She writes for her children and to see their love for reading grow. Elizabeth, who is currently an unpublished writer, believes the act of taking pen to paper throughout the years is a great tool for expressing many aspects of her creativity. She has begun sharing some of her writings online through her blog A Life That Sings Your Song, which includes some of her other children’s stories.


KBR Short Stories are a way to get your work ‘out there’—and to delight our KBR readers. Stories are set to a monthly theme and entries are due in the 25th of each month. Find out more here.

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