I stood in the doorway of Granny’s bedroom. Correction. Granny’s former bedroom. She didn’t need it now that she had moved to the cemetery at the edge of town. She has a lovey spot up on the hill overlooking the river. I had just inherited her house and contents, along with all her money. And let me tell you, it was a considerable sum. I had no idea she was so well off. The contents included what could be considered some pretty strange stuff. Strange to most, normal to me.
So, I decided to give up my tiny one-room apartment, move into the house and into her bedroom. It’s not that I needed the room that the huge house provided. I mean, I didn’t throw parties or anything like that. Who would I invite anyway? I’d rather have my nose buried in a book. A real book, not one of those e-things. Can’t feel the pages. Besides, the books I like aren’t available from Kindle or Kobo. The best books come from Europe. My favourite is a hand-written book on healing crystals from sixteen hundred twenty five. No clue who wrote it. It’s simply titled “Journal” and has the initials BNT inside above the year. Both my mother and Granny seemed keen to make certain I knew everything I could about crystals and herbs. Last Hallowe’en Mother gave me a book called The Sixteen Principles of Homeopathic Medicines. Did I mention we exchange gifts on October thirty-first?
I needed to start going through all her belongings, but it was getting late and I wanted to go to bed. But that dresser was bugging me. It always had. I couldn’t sleep until I dealt with it. Never could understand why it was so close to the door. It was in the way, and would look so much nicer against the opposite wall.
I gave it a shove. It wouldn’t budge. I grabbed the back of it and tried to pull it away from the wall. Nothing. I started to brace myself against the wall to shove it when I noticed a nail near the top of the dresser, going into the wall. I went over to the bed, dumped the contents of my backpack, and grabbed my little flashlight. I shone it behind the dresser and saw another nail on the opposite side. Weird. I bent down and checked to see if there were any more. There were two more about half way down. That’s when I noticed something against the wall near the floor. I took the bottom drawer out to get a better look.
I rubbed my eyes. Couldn’t be. I took the next drawer out. Holy cow. I sat on the floor with my back resting against the end of the bed. What the . . . ? I crawled forward and slowly reached through the opening. Maybe it was just a painting. I froze with my fingertips an inch short of the wall and took a deep breath. I reached further and touched it. Nope, not paint. I scrambled back to the bed.
There was a door sitting on top of the foot-high baseboard. It was the tiniest door I’ve ever seen, with a little bitty ladder leaning against the wall below it. I had read about Fae doors, but had no idea Granny had one. Fae folks aren’t dangerous, so I crawled back over and reached in again. I put my thumb and index finger on the little knob and turned. Locked.
I looked over at the stuff I dumped on the bed. Maybe I had something that would open the door. I picked up the pouch with my crystals in it and placed it on the side table. Nothing in my wallet would work, and my keys were too big. Even the little luggage key was much too large. I unzipped the inside compartment and found my set of eyeglass screwdrivers. I was always using them to repair my specs. Guess I could afford a new pair now. I removed the elastic that held the case together, took out the smallest in the set and went back to the door.
It was awkward trying to work the screwdriver through the dresser, but I finally got the first hinge off and had just started on the second one when I thought I heard a noise coming from the other side. By noise I mean a voice. Now a normal person would hesitate, maybe even be scared. But I’ve never been considered normal. Besides, if there were Fae folk living here, I wanted to meet them. At least I thought I did. Granny’s house had always fascinated me and this just made it all the more interesting. I loved that old three-story gothic house and all the beautiful antique furniture inside. Picture the Addams Family house and you’ve got a pretty accurate picture. I think that’s why I loved it so much. The architecture was so intriguing. But voices in the wall? That’s a new one.
Definitely something strange going on. I finished removing the screws on the second hinge when I heard it again. This time it sounded like there was more than one voice, followed by scurrying feet. What the hell was in there? I got the last hinge off and popped the door out. I shone my flashlight into the opening and it started to flicker. Damn batteries were dying, but the light lasted long enough to see something going around a corner about six inches in. I’m certain it was a foot. Not an animal paw, but a foot. With a shoe. What the hell? Where did it go?
I got up and went out into the hall. It ended just past the bedroom door. What was behind that wall? Maybe there was a reason the door was locked and blocked off with the dresser. I was too tired to deal with it, so I put the little door back and replaced the hinges. Put the drawers back too. Why take a chance, right?
That was two days ago. I hadn’t heard any more voices, but I couldn’t bring myself to detach the dresser from the wall and take another look inside the door. I continued going through Granny’s things, memories constantly flowing through my head. I never had the chance to go through Mother’s things when she died. Granny swooped in and cleared out most everything, then the house was sold off. Don’t even know what she did with Mother’s belongings. Maybe I could find her pendant. It was special to her and I wanted to have it.
Two days of going through this house from top to bottom, and I still hadn’t found ‘the room.’ Mother had one, but it was always locked. Entering it was part of my twenty-first ceremony. I missed Mother now more than ever. She wouldn’t be here for my initiation. Unfortunately neither would Granny. She didn’t make it quite that long. Died a month too soon. Hopefully I’d find something to guide me when the time came. Found some interesting things though. Like the collection of crystal balls. I don’t mean a couple either. I’ve counted twenty-seven of them so far. Different sizes, different colours. Then there’s the assortment of what I can only assume are wands. All neatly wrapped up in a piece of black velvet.
Oh, and Granny’s phone had been ringing constantly since I moved in. Friends offering condolences and clients asking if I would be continuing her business. Hadn’t thought about that, but I did need something to occupy my time. I knew a little, and Granny must have recipes somewhere. I’d watched her prepare her herbal mixtures in the kitchen, but had no idea where she kept her supplies. Twenty-one. The magic number when so many things would be revealed. I was excited before, but now I was scared. The more I thought about it, the faster my heart raced. How could I do the initiation on my own?
No point thinking about any of that right now. I needed to dig some brighter bulbs out of the supply closet and change those dim ones she had in the hallway. It was the only place in the entire house Granny had screwed in the low wattage ones, and it was a shame. The hall, like the two front rooms, had beautiful oak wainscoting. Never painted. The natural wood had to shine through. She always gave me one of her smiles when I suggested changing them.
I dragged the step ladder down the hall with one hand, a box of sixty watt bulbs in the other. As soon as the one closest to the kitchen was replaced, the hall seemed to transform. I moved down to the light near the bottom of the upstairs staircase and climbed up the ladder. What a difference the two bright bulbs made. The front hall became welcoming, warm. I lost my balance coming off the ladder and reached out for the wall. My hand slid to the top of the wainscoting and I felt a bump.
I took a closer looked and realized it was a button. It was loose but definitely attached. I pressed down and heard a click. A piece of the wall opened just enough to get my fingers in.