She was holding onto her precious package, as if her life depended on it. In fairness it didn’t but it felt like it to her. She stepped carefully through the corridors so as not to be heard at all. She walked along the walls hidden in the shadows.”Meredith!”
She froze, as the voice called from somewhere; above or below she couldn’t say. She didn’t really care; it was still too far to be any sort of threat to her escape. Casting one glance behind her – one couldn’t be safe enough though – she resumed her journey to her secret hideout. She tiptoed across the corridor in front of Jenny’s room: if she heard Meredith and called out, she was doomed.
The biggest danger though was the staircase: one had to make sure to avoid the boobytrapped steps. They would catch the attention of anyone in the house. Step 1, skip steps 2 and 3. She knew the trick and the wooden planks that creaked. Like an acrobat, still clutching her precious treasure, she danced down the stairs and into her favourite room, a tiny room where there always was a fire and a plush chair next to. She knew Mrs. Keith spent the early evening there before she went to bed. And she always went to bed early. It was always warm and cosy. And Meredith loved that she could open even huge books on that chair without ever being uncomfortable.
Tonight her treasured burden was something she’d never seen before. She caressed the leather bound book. It looked really old, at least a hundred years old. It smelled of leather, of dust and if old paper. She always loved the scent of paper: it was like travelling through time. This one was published in London, 1875; wow. She breathed in deeply taking a waft of the smell she loved so much. When she opened her eyes, she looked upon a mud road where carriages rolled by, where women in old fashioned gowns almost waded and bare footed kids ran, playing tag you’re it. She wondered what it would be like to live in that time: would she have been one of the rich ladies in the carriages or one of the kids who only had their laugh for wealth?
She breathed out and returned to her small room with its chimney. It was something frequent in 1875; electricity was new still. Meredith knew this much. After the quick trip, she turned the page and got drowned in her book and its story as she was wont to do. She never knew that Mrs. Keith found her, as she often did, sleeping in her chair, the book forlorn and abandoned on the floor. The old lady picked up the child and the book. The girl who traveled through books, she returned to her room, the leather-bound volume she placed back where Meredith found it hours before, for her protégée to reclaim later.
One day maybe the child would understand it wasn’t the place that was magical but her soul and its endless imagination.
In response to Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver Magical Place