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22nd May
2012
posted by amber

The Hidden Room

You always knew it was there, from the moment you decided to buy the house.

You said to your wife, “I love this house – it has charm, it has mystery.”

Yet it took a year for your inner sense of dimension to reveal the discrepancy to you, that between the guest bedroom wall and the upper landing of the staircase existed a block of unexplained, inaccessible space.

“Have you noticed that there’s too much space between this wall and the staircase landing?” you asked your wife.

“Not really.”

“Well, there is.”

“These old houses have thick walls, that’s all.”

“I think there’s a hidden room.”

“Don’t you dare,” was all she said, and she walked away.

The guest bedroom, the last room to be redone, had just been completed with vintage wallpaper above the original wainscotting. The staircase landing was finished the month after you moved in, with antique crown mouldings and neutral ivory paint to showcase the family heritage paintings that this new house, of all the houses you and your wife have owned, displays properly.

You will not be allowed to make holes in those walls. But you could wield your measuring tape while your wife wasn’t around to ascertain the size and shape of the room – rectangular, a narrow five feet wide and 20 feet long. From the garden, you see that it has a tall thin window, stained glass with an image of a heron.

You begin to dream about the room.

Four months later, when your wife goes away for the weekend, you can’t contain your curiosity any longer. In such a short space of time, you won’t be able to breach the walls and repair them, but you have a new plan – to make a small hole beneath the Aubusson carpet in your bedroom. Just to take a look.

You don’t know what you will find. A secret laboratory filled with mysterious glass bottles and strange electrical devices? Or a child’s playroom with charming wind-up toys and steam trains and long-forgotten board games, boarded up after the child’s untimely death? Or a nursery lovingly prepared yet never used? Or the illicit burial chamber of a wife unfaithful or mad?

The hole is small, yet large enough to dangle a small powerful flashlight on a string. As it slowly rotates, you see – what do you see?

I jumped the gun on this one. Yesterday, StoryADay encouraged us to write in First Person, so I figured today was Second Person – always a fun challenge. So I started and later discovered we were to write in Third Person Limited. Oh well. It’s only a suggestion, and if they do recommend Second Person, then I can do the Third Person.

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