Thursday, April 30, 2009
“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.