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Chapter 5

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 6 months ago

 Chapter Five



I looked carefully at the large burnished skeleton key, checking the intricate scrollwork to see if there were any markings on it. There was a faint etching in the key grooves, but more light was needed before any further study could be done.  Jericho Hornbuckle taught me to be observe everything.  I knew important messages could always be hidden in the oddest places.  And if I closed my eyes, breathed in steady metre to the flow of my heartbeat, and concentrated my brilliant energy around the symbols or words, I would be able to find the good or bad, the helpful or the destructive within.  


Quickly, I glanced at my watch and realized Finkel would get Jericho Hornbuckle if I didn't signal to the gang soon.  I put the key into my front shirt pocket.  I've got to open the window to let them know I'm okay.  Freaked, but okay.  I struggled to open the uncooperative window then carefully banged on the window frame to see if the thick hold of the grime and dirt would dissipate.  Wait, didn't Amarilla warn me the window only opened from the outside?  What was behind her warning?  I struggled with the resistant window, bearing my weight to lift the darn thing.  Not even a creak or a moan.  I breathed slowly, trying to calm my gnawing alarm.  Think.  Must think.  Sweat gathered its salty nectar to bead along my forehead and dampen the back of my new, red t-shirt.  My hands patted my tool belt with blind familiarity to account for my vital gear.  Great.  The flashlight must have slipped out when I climbed into this yawning window, welcoming me in, but refusing me a quick exit.  The Book of All Things better be worth it all.  No way for me to send out a message via Morse Code.  Better check to make sure the key was still in my pocket.  Good.


I searched the grounds below and couldn't see anyone.  Just in case, I waved half heartedly and made the thumbs up action.  What enthusiasm.  Hopefully, someone would see this sorry sight of a signal.  Oh well, since there was no way to exit out the window, might as well go out the front door. Like a normal person.  All the sudden, I felt quite mischievous and light hearted.  I'll surprise them if I went out the front door, but there's no other choice.  Legend had it that only ghosts were able to come out the front door after midnight.  If a person tried...I shook my head.  Blarney! Only fools would believe this jack. 


Time to go to the gang before they summon Jericho.  The key and The Book can wait.  Just for a bit.  Jericho would worry himself silly over nothing. I smiled fondly as I thought about Jericho.  He is one of the Gifted.  There were only a few of the Gifted around these parts now. Townfolk were suspicious of the Talent and Special Powers of the Gifted, and ran most of them out of town.  Jericho was one of the special Gifted who was able to blend in well with the regular people.  He has taught me so much.  I have much more to learn. 


I rushed to the large door and reached for the knob with my right hand.  My hand went right through the knob.  I stared in disbelief and reached again.  Again, my hand went straight through the knob.  What the...  I eyed the knob.  The knob looked quite solid.  My panicked eyes looked around and picked out a small chair.  I grabbed it, swung it quite easily, then hit the knob hard with it. Bang! Thwack! A few sharp splinters flew across the room. One lodged into my hand.  Yes.  Solid.  The knob was real.  Triumphantly, I grabbed at the knob and came up empty. Again.  What the hell?  Okay, now I really want to get out of here. Next plan.  Throw the chair against the window.  


My ears were bothered by a tiny shrill sound.  I hastily dropped the chair and used my rough hands to shield my ears.  I closed my eyes, sensed motion and shuddered.  What now? I opened my eyes, fully expecting Amarilla to appear and start laughing at me.  Instead, I noticed a small prickle hole in the center of the door knob.  It spiraled around, twirling quickly in a frenzied dance, the thin noise penetrating my hand covered ears.  Larger, larger it grew, until it melded into a long, narrow, rectangular shape about an inch high.  Louder, louder the noise grew until it suddenly stopped. Relief sparkled merrily around my head, as I dropped my hands.  Silence.


Prudence would dictate I crouch into a corner, cowering from the freakish Unknown.  But, my intense curiosity piqued.  Finkel and Jericho can wait.  There's surely a message in this.  I picked at the splinter to get it out, then closed my eyes.  Slowly, I remembered the skeleton key, which suddenly resonated with heavy warmth in my shirt pocket.  Duh.  It might just fit. 


Squueek!  Craash!  A lithe body sprang lightly on the floor behind me and Finkel yelled gloriously like the hero he wanted to be, "Moctor!  The cavalry's arrived!"  I turned around, annoyed yet relieved to see Jericho struggle to heave himself through the window.  Finkel guided Jericho's sorry excuse of a body off the floor.  "Hey!" muttered Jericho, "Get your own shirt.  I'd like to keep mine."  Soon Recka, Maclan and Pinch--the Three Stooges--tumbled in, grumbling as they got up and dusted off years worth of dirt.  We all breathed in the invasive particles and hacked in unison.  The recalcitrant window silently shimmied down, and I barked out, "Hurry, put something in the window!"  Maclan moved to grab hold of the window.  But it was too late.


"What's the big deal?" Pinch looked at me like I had a few screws loose.   I told all.  Finkel's eyes sparkled with thoughts of new adventure.  Recka, Maclan and Pinch whispered back and forth, elbowing each other, annoying the crap out of me.  Jericho stared at the door and thoughtfully spoke. "Vargas is keeping watch outside.  She's sharp and will distract others.  Let me see the key."   


I sighed gratefully as I placed the warm key in Jericho's outstretched hand.  The beautiful, observant Vargas was still outside, away from all this unbelievable craziness.  Grace Vargas.  I closed my eyes for a bit, thinking of her luscious scent of vibrant lemons, limes and sweet flowers, summoning my pure love for her glorious brown hair, her throaty drawl, her brilliant resourceful mind.  One of these days, I've gotta tell her, instead of making pathetic excuses to be near her.  Surely Vargas will end up being our saving grace.  My Grace.  As long as she doesn't get bored and wander off.  Or fall asleep.  Or worse, encounter the Unknown.  I groaned then prayed like I never have before.  Which was never.  Hopefully, all this weirdness was only in the house.  But Vargas was all alone.  Who was gonna watch over her?  Yeah she was fierce, tough and all that, but still.  I need to get out of here quick to make sure she was okay. 











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