BlogBattlers are back. Let the games begin in 1000 words.
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Genre: Tall Tales (a tough one)
Prompt: Resolved (words 987)
Have I ever told you the story about Grandpa Muckle’s house? No? Annie’s 10-year twin nephews leaned forward where they sat on the floor cross-legged.
After our grandfather died, your father and I helped clear out the house. We were eighteen and twenty. Rick positioned the painter’s ladder beneath the trapdoor to the attic. He had waited a long time to peek inside that forbidden place, but he paused.
“Go on. You don’t expect monsters, do you?” I concentrated on the square in the ceiling, too. Chewing on the end of my ponytail as was my habit, I thought I’d choke on it.”
“Grandpa wouldn’t allow us to explore up there, remember,” Rick said. “I’ve always been curious why.”
“Maybe he never finished it like Dad.”
Your father blew out a breath and gave me the look. Thick Styrofoam clad the removed board.
“Flashlight.” I poked him in the ribs with the one in my hand. He heaved himself through and sneezed.
“Bless you. What do you see? Anything interesting?” He disappeared into the dark, wordless.
More curious than nervous, I sprang up the ladder after my brother. With a click, the room flooded with light. We gaped like dazed children, pulling dust covers off in a hurry: four white chairs; a matching table; a single bed and dresser; a dollhouse and an ornate trunk. Everything white except for the trunk, which was painted a slick ebony shine. Smooth white-painted walls encased the room. Rick dropped into a chair and I slid into another. The chairs spit us out on the floor, bouncing back into shape toward the trapdoor. They wobbled like rubber, the legs bendy and weak to accommodate our weight and size before pop and shriek.
“What happened” My eyes rattled in my head like in a cartoon.
“What is this?” Eyes glazed with shock, Rick’s voice cracked. “Is this the Twilight Zone? I don’t know what to make of it. Do you?” He surged upright, then paced the black and white tiled floor. Hands deep in his pockets, he slumped against the wall. The wall stood firm.
Image Attribution: Pixabay
In one corner, the trunk beckoned. Dust motes danced over top as if in invitation. Childhood dreams of treasure chests and pirate’s treasure awakened again. My brother’s voice faded. The chest waited. I struggled with the lid. No go. Locks require keys. I didn’t see one. “Help me open this.”
Rick lost no time patting down the lacquered box. No luck.
“Seems strange it’s sitting off the floor. Is that a skid under there?” I pointed.
Rick clutched the bare wood. “Help tip this over.” We stooped hip-to-hip and heaved in unison.
The trunk weighed less than it looked. A half-dozen grunts and huffs later, it lay on its side. Rick found something taped to the bottom. Whoever guesses what gets an extra cookie.”
The twins elbowed each other. “The key—the key.”
“You’re both right. Your dad fitted it in but it refused to turn. He tried and tried. Nothing. What to do?”
The boys shared a probing stare, freckles bright. “Oil can.” They high-fived.
“Aren’t you smart? Great answer, but it still didn’t work.”
“Did you see inside the trunk or not?” Trevor’s face reddened.
“Patience. Sometimes patience conquers all.”
His brother breathed deep, the chords in his neck engorged. “What did you find? Something good, I hope.”
I raised a palm. “The key wouldn’t work because someone had bashed the lock. With a screwdriver and hammer, my brother somehow worked his magic. The lid lifted like a charm and guess what?”
“What? What? Pieces of silver?”
“Rubies and diamonds?”
“Something better than that.”
Faces incredulous, the boys squinted. “No way. Nothing’s better than gold or silver.”
“Inside—wait—inside lay a white robot, an R2D2 look-alike—sort of.” The boys scrambled onto their hands and knees.
“No way. Did it work?”
“Did you charge it?
“Hey ho.” Rick called from the hall, “What are you guys doing?”
“Tell us about Grandpa’s attic and the robot in the trunk. Did it work?”
Rick pointed a finger at his sister and pursed his lips. “You didn’t.”
Taupe-penciled brows peaked, she crossed her arms. The boys frowned contemplating their aunt and father.
“Did it work? Come on, Dad.”
A silent deliberation transpired between brother and sister. “Come here boys.” Rick flopped into the center of the sofa. “You know Aunt Annie tells tall tales, Right? Remember the one about fool’s gold in the backyard?
Three sets of eyes scrutinized Annie. “You wouldn’t.” she said.
“What part of the story did I interrupt?”
“The robot, Dad—in the black chest.”
“Of course, him. He had a note taped to his gray metal chest.
I have no experience and no action. I’m worthless. Sorry.
“What happened to it, Dad?”
“You know this is Grandpa Muckle’s house. Your aunt liked it so much, she renovated it and hoped future Muckles will too. You haven’t seen the attic?”
“So, what about the robot and the crazy furniture?” Trevor brayed.
“Your aunt made up the story about the crazy furniture—it’s make believe. The robot—you have to see for yourselves. Let’s get this resolved. Come on.”
Rick pulled down the new-fangled stairs to the attic and led the way. He hit the lights.
“Look at this. There’s furniture, but it’s ratty old patio stuff, a dog carrier, and a sewing machine…Where’s the robot? Trevor, the older twin, scurried from corner to corner and stopped dead. He laughed and laughed. “Come here brother.”
“This stovepipe tinman is no robot. Aunt Annie, when you tell a tale, it’s a tall one.”
“But, no treasure? That sucks.” Trevor backed away. “Where’s the trunk? Did you check for secret compartments?
His father shook his head. “No trunk.”
“The only true thing is this black and white floor. You got me, Auntie. You too, Dad.
Younger brother whooped. “Hey, Trevor, is that a suit of armor?”
©Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles.
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