Thursday, March 12, 2009

The MIdnight Dancers, Part Six

The girls stared at their room, which Dad had been promising to break up into smaller sections ever since they had bought the house, but which he had never seemed to find time or money to have done. The vast whitewashed room had three bunk beds (staggered in the middle of the room, to take advantage of the highest point in the sloped ceiling), two single beds, and two double beds, along with a big long-mirrored dresser and two little dressers and a vanity. “No matter what we do with it, it’s still going to look like a camp cabin,” Miriam said dryly.

Rachel shrugged. “I need a new perspective. Something. Come on, let’s give a try. Tammy, help me with the big bed. It’s been in front of the chimney forever. Oh, here’s Cheryl. Give us a hand.”

“With what?” The oldest Fendelman girl had just walked upstairs.

“We’re rearranging furniture again,” Tammy said.

“Again? Why? At this hour?” Cheryl had her book in her hands, and she did look tired.

“Oh, come on. The room’s clean. If all five of us do it, it won’t take long.” Rachel said.

Reluctantly, the blond girl put down her book and found a place at the footboard. “Where are we moving this?”

As each of the beds had drawers beneath for storage, moving them was a chore. “Good thing you came in. It’ll take all five of us to move it, for sure.” Tammy figured.

“I just want to move it over by the window. And we can move the two dressers here, and put them together to make one big dresser. Well, sort of. It’s something I’ve thought about for a while,” Rachel said.

“That might look cool,” Melanie agreed. Cheryl sized up the situation, and began to get interested.

“We might be able to hang a canopy over the bed, from the ceiling beams,” she said.

“Hm! Yes, that’s a great idea!” Rachel said appreciatively. Good, she had a team.

So all four of them shoved the double bed out from the wall with Miriam complaining about the uneven floorboards.

“This room is too ancient,” she grumbled.

“I like old rooms,” Rachel retorted, struggling to get her hands under the headboard for another push. “It was once a sewing room–excuse me, a weaving room–when this house was built, before the Civil War. That’s why there’s so many windows–to let in light to work by.” She grunted and shoved forward and the bed moved slowly forward three feet.

“You know, this will look very different,” Melanie said, as they paused to rest. “We’ve rearranged before, but we’ve never moved this bed.”

“Wonder why?” Miriam puffed sarcastically, putting an elbow on the footboard to rest.

“We always had it shoved up against the kitchen chimney,” Cheryl pointed out. Rachel had chosen that spot for the biggest bed because the wide brick chimney against the wall was a natural focal point.

“Isn’t there something funny about that chimney?” Tammy said abruptly. “It looks too wide.”

“Too wide?” Rachel queried, running her hands over the worn red bricks, smoothed by time.

“Well, wider than the kitchen hearth is. I don’t know. Brittany would be able to tell you. It’s a spatial thing.”

Rachel held out her hands. “That’s how wide the kitchen chimney is,” she said. “I almost can’t get my hands around it.”

“I think the chimney up here is wider. Measure and see,” Tammy said.

Rachel did, and was surprised. “You’re right, it’s about a foot and a half wider. Wonder why?”

“I always wondered why they needed such a wide chimney,” Melanie said. “It’s just to let smoke out with, right?”

“Right,” Rachel agreed, ironically. “There’s actually a hearth in the master bedroom—well, what used to be the master bedroom, which is now your mom’s sewing room. I used to wish there was a hearth up here. It sure would be nice to have a fire here in winter.”

Tammy, intrigued, had gotten up and was trying to see if she could get her hands around the wide expanse of brick. “That’s weird. You’d think they could measure. It’s almost as though—hey!”

She put her hand on the wall board to the right side of the chimney, and it moved slightly. “This board is loose.”

Rachel scrambled to her feet. “Let me see,” she said, with proprietor’s interest. She felt the board of the paneling. “What do you mean? It’s not warped—the nails are in solidly.”

“No, no. Push it in,” Tammy said. “It’s like, soft.”


“Well, it gives under your hand.”

Rachel pushed on the board, and to her amazement, it—and several boards next to it—moved inward on an invisible hinge, a door about eighteen inches wide and five feet high.

“That’s too strange,” she said. “What is it? A broom closet?”

“Yeah, for one broom,” Miriam said.

Rachel pushed the door in as far as it could go, and the scent of air hit her nostrils—a clean, cool breath. The breath of adventure.

This is the end of Chapter One. If you liked this chapter, buy the book!: The Midnight Dancers: A Fairy Tale Retold by Regina Doman

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