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Riley giggles as we creep up the steep stairway to grandmother’s attic.I can’t help but glare at her.
“Quiet Riley.Grand mum is sleeping.I don’t want her to know.”
“You don’t want her to know what, whispered Zoe, that we’re invading the privacy of her attic or that we know about the skeleton in her closet… or maybe her attic?”
“Just be quiet guys.She’s been on edge lately and I don’t want to upset her if it’s not necessary. I just wish she’d go out more often. At least she sleeps like a stone.Let’s get this done!”
I finger the key in the pocket of my pants.It’s the original to Grand mum’s mid-nineteenth century house as is the door we approach.The stairway is very dark.Our dim faces appear suspended in the gloom. We dare not turn on a flashlight until we are near the top.I touch Riley’s arm gently and feel her jump and then hear her giggle softly again.
“I can’t believe I’m so jumpy, Riley whispers. Here comes the light!”
A click of the flashlight reveals a myriad of dust motes dancing around our heads. I reach into my pocket and touch the key.It vibrates softly now and I pull it out. Its vibrations increase and my arm feels tugged towards the attic door. The key is only encouraging me to do what we all want, so I put it in the lock and turn.
Pushing the door, it moves slowly and is noisy on its old, rusty hinges. Through the doorway cobwebs hang illuminated as the flashlight beam passes over them. Riley starts forward and then looks back at us.
“Are we going to stand here all night or are we going to go in?”
Nodding at Zoe and Riley, we step into the attic sure to avoid a fat spider scrambling down its silken thread.The attic is a stuffy square room.It has obviously been used for storage for many years.In one corner, a stack of five boxes sit.They are perfectly aligned but covered with a thick layer of dust and lacy cobwebs. An antique dresser rests under the dust-streaked window opposite the doorway. Weak sunlight filters through giving enough illumination so a flashlight is no longer needed.Snapping off the light, Riley walks to the dresser opening the top drawer. She pulls out a photograph.
“Look at this girls.Kezia, doesn’t this look like your Grand-mum? Zoe and I join Riley and I study the photo. It is a black and white and it is very old.Looking to the back of the photo I see a date – June 1903. The edges are curled and darkened and the picture has faded. Six people are in the photo arranged in a family pose. A young couple appears to be the focus of the shot. The girl definitely resembles Grand-mum.It is the young man who causes my heart to falter. Suddenly I’m back at the cemetery again, seeing through someone else’s eyes.
“Oh my God! Riley and Zoe both look up in concern.“It’s him. It’s William, the boy from my vision.”
Zoe grabs my arm guiding me to a nearby chair. Slumping down, I drop my head into my hands. My head spins and I feel nauseous. Zoe rests a comforting hand on my shoulder. “Relax Kezia.We know it must mean something important. We can figure it out later. Let’s check out the rest of this place. We don’t want to tempt fate. ”I lift my head nodding in agreement. The nausea is fading and I know she is right. Zoe is always right.
Dead centre, impossible to miss is a huge chest. It looks like the type someone might use to travel by ship.I’d seen pictures similar to this one in our history book at school. Zoe walks there, stopping beside an ornate oval mirror.
“This is beautiful, isn’t it?Look at the glass. The rest of the room is so dusty.Someone could have just cleaned this!”Looking into it myself, it’s like gazing into a clear lake.
“Look, it’s rippling. ”Riley and Zoe look closely.
“I don’t see it”, Riley claims. Zoe denies seeing it as well. I look more closely at the chest. Running my hands over a faded coat of arms now shallowly engraved into the lid, I open the unlocked chest. It contains a heavy book, about twelve by twelve inches. The cover is leather, well worn and has three dragons embossed in red. Again, I am taken back to my experience by the cemetery and the medallion clutched in the hand of the girl I became. Shaking my head to regain focus, I open the book and discover a folded piece of fabric. It is yellow with age and feels rough to the touch. Carefully, I unfold it. On it is a drawing. Grand-mum’s house is there. I see the placard with the two flying ravens circling a cliff – Ravenscliffe. Across a road, labelled Portage, is the cemetery. Behind the house is a creek.Baxter Creek forms two forks encircling Grand-mum’s house which then re-join about fifty feet further creating a tiny island. Access to this island is possible by a bridge across one fork. All this is shown on the drawing. A large willow tree is shown on the island to the east of the house.It is still there. At the base of the willow on the drawing is a red dragon’s head.
“I think we should take these with us. ”Riley and Zoe nod.Nothing more is said as we prepare to make our way back downstairs without waking Grand-mum.
Check out other 'pieces' to this story!
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