The Hell Hole | Issue 9

The Hell Hole | Issue 9

Animal Attic

Hannah and I had stayed there once on a school trip. You know, the night at the museum thing they do where you go into a tent and learn about astronomy and then they tuck you up in your sleeping bag and tell you spooky stories about the one mummy they have downstairs. So we decided to reminisce and packed our backpacks with two sleeping bags and some snacks, then went for a late afternoon visit, hanging around until closing time. When the call rang out, we went to Discovery World and hid. 

Somehow we were successful, the entire museum blacked out and the steps of the night watch echoed up from below. The two of us, surprisingly, made it up to Animal Attic without problems, creeping up the stairs with hardly a creak of a floorboard. The room, large and square, unsettles every visitor, even in daylight, but at night it is ten times creepier. Every figure was black in the night, a shadow of itself. Eyes round and bright as coins stared through their glass prisons. 

“Are you sure you want to do this?” Hannah asked anxiously, unfurling her sleeping bag. “We can’t exactly leave now without getting into trouble,” I replyed. We tucked ourselves in.
But I did not sleep, I lay there watching, because they watched me. My eyes adjusted and I could see clearly the dirty polar bear growling on his hind legs, the lizards and snakes in slimy green jars, the giant spider mounted on the wall and that vulture in the corner, gazing down at us with an arched back as though ready to dive. Hannah slept, but I could not.
Around two in the morning I sat up and rubbed my face, frustrated that it was taking so long for me to drift off. I looked around. The polar bear stood where he was, stiff as a tree, the jars remained full of their slime and fat and the spider loomed over us religiously. I turned to check on Hannah and she was dead asleep, chest rising and falling. Beside her head crouched the vulture, still quite dead, still stiff, one dead eye looking straight at me. 

This article first appeared in Issue 9, 2017.
Posted 1:14pm Sunday 30th April 2017 by Jessica Thompson Carr.