Hide And Go Seek
Copyright ©2013 Jenny Brigalow
It was raining. The world outside the window seemed grey. And the world inside the window seemed greyer still. Grace sighed and picked up her book. But she couldn't concentrate. She felt a familiar pool of frustration build in her chest. If she were in a character in the book, she'd be playing hide and seek in a mansion house filled with quirky old furniture and cracked oil paintings. Instead, she was curled up on her bed in a crumbling old Queenslander. Alone. There was no one to play with. No one to go on great and wonderful adventures with. It wasn't fair.
She tried to escape back into her book. But she couldn't. She was too cross. Too fed up. Life was so dull. How she longed to find a better world. A world filled with magical creatures. Fauns and unicorns! To say nothing of talking beavers. And while she knew that at twelve she was way too old to believe in fairies she was loath to put them away entirely. I mean, how could there be so many books written about magical stuff, if it didn't exist? It didn't really make sense.
It seemed that this ‘Other world’ was there. She just had to find it. And then it occurred to her that maybe it was her fault. Perhaps her very doubt was blocking her from finding the way. "I do believe in fairies," she whispered to herself. The words felt like a kind of charm.
Grace sat up and put her book down. In her mind's eye she pictured the spare bedroom. The Guest Room as her mum called it. It was pretty ordinary room really. The furniture not much better than the rest of the junk spread around the place. But there was one significant factor. The wardrobe. But this was no ordinary wardrobe. It was huge. Too big really. It's bulk hogged about a quarter of the available space. And ,it was kind of old! It's timber was pretty, almost red. And there was a big mottled mirror on the front.
She stood up, the book falling unnoticed to the floor. Excitement trickled down Grace's spine like melted ice cream. How could she have been so stupid! It had been here all the time, right under her nose. She raced to the door, skipped through the kitchen and headed up the corridor. The spare room was the last on the left. With her heart fluttering like a trapped bird in her chest, she turned the handle and stepped into the room.
It smelled the same, of damp and lavender polish. Grace looked at herself in the mirror. Was it her imagination or was she a bit different? Kind of smoky? A bit unsubstantial. It must be a sign. With trembling hands, she grasped the small round knob and pulled. The door swung open without so much as a grumble.
Grace hesitated, suddenly unsure. The wardrobe was dark and musty. And it smelled like moth balls. Clothes hung limply from wire hangers. She watched them nervously, half expecting the empty sleeves to reach out and grab her.
But then she pulled herself together. People who had adventures where brave and fearless. Before she could wimp out, Grace grabbed the side of the doorway and pulled herself up. For a moment she perched at the edge. She could hear her own breath hiss in and out of her mouth. "I do believe in fairies," she said. Her voice echoed as if the sound where carrying for a long, long way. She pulled herself upright and took a small step forward.
When the door slammed shut behind her she let out a small squeal of fright. She turned and pushed on the door. But it wouldn't move. Her fingers scrabbled frantically to find the knob. But of course, there wasn't one. Not on the inside.
Around her, the clothes began to stir. As if a wind were blowing. Something soft brushed past her cheek. And then took a hold of her pony tail. Grace froze. She couldn't speak. But in her mind the words ran around like a rat in trap. "I don't believe in fairies." But it was too late. The adventure had begun.
Word count 715
Comments and critique welcome.