The attic was surprisingly clean--white and finished without a trace of dust. Without a trace of anything, really, save a cement-framed window looking out on the grey morning. There were barely even marks or scratches on the slanted walls.
Still, something felt different here. Ava glanced into the corners. The air had the feeling of a mirage, like it was on the verge of that particular shimmer caused by heat and distance. The silence was ironclad, and yet you got the impression that someone might cry out at any moment--who, Ava couldn't say, and she shook her head at her own nervousness.
She turned to go back down the stairs--whoever had called was obviously in on some joke. But as she turned, the bottle in her hand caught her eye.
There was a note inside it.