Instruments Of Time - Chapter 4
Fourth Chapter of the exciting new Children's story Instruments Of Time by Gabriel Thomas
Chapter Four - Break and Enter
The morning came quickly for some and too quickly for others! A normal holiday morning would see Thomas and Alex in the living room with whatever the TV had to offer before deciding it was boring and that play fighting was a far better option. But this morning there was no TV, not yet. So it was straight to the fighting!
‘Will you two shut up?’ For Jess the morning had come too quickly. And unfortunately it hadn’t been a nightmare, she was still in the old relic, a sigh of begrudged acceptance left her body.
By 9 am all of the family was up and breakfast was being eaten. ‘OK’ said Lilly, ‘this morning we all have very important jobs to do’. The boys pricked up their ears as if the General was about to issue orders to his crack team of soldiers!
‘Your Dad and I have to go in to town to run errands, so that means you guys will be staying here to look after the house. We shouldn’t be away for more than a couple of hours’. A cheer broke out from the boys, a look of dread from Jess. ‘I want you to collect all of your boxes from downstairs and take them to your rooms and unpack them’.
‘And by unpack them, we don’t mean tip them out all over the floor!’ Liam added, ‘There are plenty of shelves and cupboards in the rooms, use what you need’.
By 10am breakfast was finished and Lilly and Liam were ready to leave for town, it was only a 10minute journey. As the kids stood in the porch and waved their parents off, Lilly shouted, ‘I have my phone, if anything happens, call me!’ Jess acknowledged by waving her phone at her mum.
As the battered 4X4 pulled away down the drive Jess laid down the law, ’right pipsqueaks, frankly I don’t care what you get up to so long as you don’t wreck the place and you don’t interrupt me, is that clear?’ She turned and headed up the stairs for her room. The boys heard the door slam shut and looked at each other, Brackton Place belonged to them!
Now that mum and dad weren’t here this place needed a thorough examination, boy style! On their previous trip around the house only one door had thwarted them, and this was the first place that they returned to. They both tried the handle, but it was definitely locked. ‘We can’t get in there’ Thomas stated, ‘There’s always a way’ Alex replied.
‘How can we get in if we don’t have the key?’ Thomas asked of his brother, ‘Shhh! I’m thinking’. ‘Come with me!’ The words left Alex’s mouth in a blur, the same way his body moved off in the direction of the back door. ’Where are you going?’ Thomas set of after his big brother, but as usual he left him behind, one day he’d be able to keep up!
When he finally did catch up to him Alex was standing outside a window, ’this is the one!’’One what?’ asked Thomas quizzically. ’This is the window to the locked room!’’Oh’ said Thomas, ’now what?’ The room had become even more appealing now as there was a curtain covering the mysteries that lay inside.
The windows, as with the rest of the house were not modern. These were the big wooden sash type, and in keeping with the rest of the house many of them were not in the best condition, thankfully, including the one in question.
‘Well, what are you going to do? You can’t break it Alex!’’I know that!’ Alex replied, and at the same time his mind was working overtime to try and come up with a way to open the window. Alex stood in front of the window as if he was going to open it by the power of his thoughts. ‘What about this?’ Thomas had found what looked like a paint scraper. ‘That might actually work’ Alex’s tone of voice had hope in it, and this made Thomas feel as though he had won the first battle, for the first time!
Alex sent Thomas in to the kitchen to fetch a chair to stand on. Even though he had won the first battle, he was still the youngest. Just as Thomas was leaving the kitchen, he banged the chair on the door frame. ’What’s going on?’ Jess was out of her room and had heard the noise, ’nothing, honest’ Thomas answered in his most convincing voice. ’Make sure it isn’t’ Jess replied.
Alex stood on the chair and began to carefully lever the tool under the decaying beading that surrounded the pane of glass closest to the catch on the window. He had watched his Dad do similar jobs when he had taken him with him on Saturday mornings. Luckily the panes of glass were quite small and the when all of the beading had been removed the glass came away without a fight. Alex wrapped the glass in an old cloth and put it safe so as it could be replaced as soon as possible, he didn’t want to leave any evidence!
‘Well, open it then!’ Thomas prompted his brother to open what, after all the effort, had to be an Aladdin’s cave!
Alex reached up and got hold of the catch, he tried to turn it, but it was very stiff. He put one foot on the window ledge so as he could get a better grip of the catch. ‘Go on!’ Thomas urged, and with all his strength Alex forced the catch open! Unfortunately using all his strength and concentration on the catch meant he lost his balance and toppled backwards, flattening his brother!
After dusting themselves down they looked on and inspected their work, it was good. They both grabbed the bottom of the window and pushed it up and open. Alex looked at his watch, 11:15, it had taken longer than it seemed. ‘We haven’t got long’ He said.
Alex was the first up on to the chair and then the ledge, he opened the curtain just enough to get his body through. He tentatively placed a foot down in to the room and it found a solid surface, he climbed through, and found himself standing on a desk. The room was still quite dark, he pulled open the musty curtains and let the day come in. Thomas stood on the chair looking in at him, for just a second, then climbed in and stood on the desk with Alex. They both turned around and started to take in everything in front of them.
The walls were covered in photographs, most of them had a similar looking man in them, but all of the locations were very different. There were pictures of jungles and deserts, snowscapes and rolling plains. The man in the photographs was dressed like some sort old time explorer. But he looked like someone who could have been a real Indiana Jones, was this man Uncle Carter?
Both of the boys got down from the desk and started to investigate the rest of the room. ‘Be careful not to break anything!’Alex delivered the orders and this time Thomas was quite happy to accept them! As exciting as this all was the boys knew that they shouldn’t be in here, and if they were to leave any evidence that they had been, Mum and Dad would not be happy!
The room had the same feeling as the rest of the house, as though it had been stuck in some sort of time warp. But Alex sensed more, this was the room where the man in the photos worked, it was where he lived his life when he wasn’t in exotic, wonderful far flung places, this room was the heart of the house!
Alex took another look at his watch, 11:36, it was time to get out before they both became too engrossed in the room and forgot themselves! ‘Time to go Thomas, it’s getting late’. Alex looked around for Thomas, he was still close to the desk and was trying the drawers, he hadn’t heard his brother. ‘THOMAS!’ The younger brother jumped out of his skin when Alex shouted his name! This made Thomas stumbled backwards, as he did, he slipped on the rug by the desk and the floorboard under his foot moved, Thomas caught his heel in the gap that had formed and fell on the wooden floor with a crash! ’You idiot!’ Alex scorned.
Thomas had landed heavily on his elbow and the pain was causing a tear to well in his eye, but he was doing all he could not to let it form and show he was hurt in front of Alex. ‘Are you ok Thomas?’Through a gimmaced face Thomas replied, ‘of course, why wouldn’t I be?’. As he got back to his feet he looked back down at the displace rug and tried to replace it as it had been. ‘The rug won’t go flat’‘give me a go’Alex replied. Alex couldn’t flatten the rug because the floor underneath wasn’t flat.
Alex pulled the rug away and looked at the floorboard that had caused his fall. The board had come away completely unbroken, this meant it hadn’t been nailed down. Why?
Alex knelt down on the floor next to the displace board. ‘Help me with this Thomas’the tone in his voice didn’t come over as an order like it normally did when Alex asked Thomas to do something. This time, it sounded more like a friend asking another to help him achieve a goal.
The two boys carefully lifted the already loose board from its place on the floor and put it to under the desk. After lifting the first one, Alex could see that a second board next to it wasn’t nailed down either, ‘help me lift this one as well Thomas’ this time there was excitement in Alex’s voice and the feeling was infectious. The pain in Thomas’ elbow was now a distant memory as the two boys lifted the second floorboard and placed it next to the first one.
Alex and Thomas now peered in to the space in the floor, ‘why were those floorboards loose? Asked Thomas. ‘I don’t know’ Alex replied. Neither boy could see anything on the floor directly below where the floorboards had been, why would there be?
Alex’s previous excitement had been dulled slightly as the treasure he was so expecting to be there wasn’t. ’Let’s put them back, Mum and Dad will be back soon’ and both boys heaved a collective sigh. With the boys on either side of the hole, they both took a floorboard and began to put things back. As they did the sun broke through the clouds and caught the buckle on the leather satchel, ‘There!’ Thomas shouted, ‘What’s there?’ Alex shot round to the other side of the gap in the floor and angled himself to see where Thomas had been looking. ‘What did you see?’ Alex demanded from his brother. ‘It was something shiny, down there, just under the floor’.
Alex couldn’t see anything, it was pitch black, but the sun had hidden itself behind the clouds and he wasn’t going to see what Thomas saw. ‘You didn’t see anything, you’re just wasting time!’‘I did!’ said Thomas, ‘it was something shining down there’. Alex took a deep breath, he looked around for a something to prod around under the floor. He spied a walking stick in the corner of the room. He jumped up and went the corner of the room and took the stick in his hand.
He returned to Thomas and handed the walking stick to him, ‘What do I do?’‘Carefully see if you can find anything, use the stick’
Thomas pushed the stick in to the dark where he had seen the reflected light come from. ‘Anything?’ Alex asked, expecting nothing, ‘Not yet’. As Thomas made a big sweep with the stick he was abruptly stopped as the stick was stopped by something. A cry of ‘Yes!’‘I’ve found it’. Obviously whatever ‘it’was, he didn’t know, but he’d found it none the less.
Alex snatched the stick from Thomas and felt the ‘it’ for himself. There was something there, now how to release it from its hiding place. ‘Let me do it’ Thomas begged, ‘You’re not strong enough’Alex countered. He was probably right and Thomas knew it but he didn’t want to admit it.
Alex got the stick around the side of the thing and began to move it closer to the gap in the floor, the excitement for both boys was beginning to grow.
There it was, the two boys stared at the leather satchel. It was covered in dust and looked a million years old, but it was their treasure. ‘Open it!’ Thomas demanded excitedly. ‘Not yet’ Alex returned. ‘Lets get everything back in place and take it to my bedroom, we can do it there’‘Mum and Dad will be back soon and we can’t be caught in here’ Alex was right and Thomas nodded his reply.
The boys returned the room and the window to its former state and together with their prize they headed back in to the house and up the stairs.
Today Brackton Place had lived up to their expectations and hopefully the contents of a brown leather satchel would only add to the fantasy.