Thursday, April 30, 2009

Unintended Consequences

“I found a key!” Lucy held up the object. It was as big as her hand and a quarter-inch thick, flakes of rust peeling away to reveal smooth, work-hardened steel. “I wonder what it opens.”

“Who can say?” said Jasfoup, though he knew well enough. “One of the attic rooms, perhaps. You could check.” He cleared his throat. “Where did you find it?”

“In an old teapot,” said Lucy. “In the cupboard at the back of the kitchen inside an old sweetie tin.” She sucked her lip inward. “What ‘ad no sweeties in.”

“I see,” said Jasfoup. “How about I make you a packed lunch and you can spend the day exploring the house to find the right door?” he said. “It’ll be an expedition.”

“Can I ‘ave Marmaduke sammies?”

“Marmalade.” Jasfoup smiled. “Yes, I’ll make you marmalade sandwiches.”

“I can’t bear marmalade,” said Lucy, screwing up her face. “Carn’ I ‘ave cheese and strawberry jam instead.”

“The demon forced a smile this time. “Of course. Two separate sandwiches or together?”

“Together but two of them.” Lucy grinned. “Except I’ll be expeditioning outside. I think this must be the key to the mushroom shed.”

“Must it?” Jasfoup knew very well that it must. “Why are you dropping your aitches?”

“Am I?” Lucy shrugged. “I dunno.”

Jasfoup knew all too well. One of the unintended consequences of having a gifted child was that Lucy could hear Molly even if it wasn’t conscious. He’d have to have a word with the ghost about her chatter. Careless talk costs sanity, as they said in the psychic trade.

“Why don’t you get your Expedition supplies while I make you up some provisions, and then we’ll see?”

He watched her run upstairs. How was it that small children had a knack for finding that which was hidden? It had taken Harold an hour to think of that hiding place. Now he’d have to move her birthday present again.


aims said...

Ahhh yes! I remember finding - after searching - my birthday present. It was tucked in the back of my grandmother's closet.

When the time came to open it again during the birthday party I could hardly fake the surprise. Never done it again.

Hope Lucy doesn't find hers before they move it.

Leatherdykeuk said...

After once, I never looked for my presents again.

Glyn Pope said...

My Grandfather couldn't bear to have Xmas presents in the house he had to look at them. When we laughed at him about it once, he got angry and said, 'When I was a child there were no presents at Xmas or birthdays.' His childhood was in the early 1900s.

Leatherdykeuk said...

What a fascinating bit of history, Glyn. Thank you.

DJ Kirkby said...

Lucy reminds me a lot of N3S.

Leatherdykeuk said...

Is that good?

DJ Kirkby said...

Very good! Very astute, very special.

Leatherdykeuk said...

Excellent :)

stephanie said...

*laughs* I always sought my gifts. I was a terrible child. Lucy, on the other hand, is just plain wonderful. Still love this piece.

Leatherdykeuk said...

I can so see that!

If Lucy had been mine I'd have committed infanticide.