The Recording Box

When the rest of the family went into town to shop for the Thanksgiving meal, Renner decided to stay behind. A little alone time and some reading before the rest of the family descended on Gramma’s house would do her good, besides, no one listened to her when she announced this family reunion was a bad idea and would end in disaster. “Mark my words,” she had pronounced on evening, but when pressed, couldn’t come up with any compelling argument than no one understood her. Awkward described her in a word, which applied to her in more than one way.

Her book, another teen dystopian series, wasn’t holding her attention, so she decided to explore the house. Each room on the main floor felt like something out of an old movie: lace curtains, hand-loomed throw rug over the hardwood flooring, doilies on every horizontal surface, and so many trinkets, mostly displays of her silver spoon collection. Who needed that many spoons? She avoided the kitchen. Her relationship with food was complicated, and besides, if she never went in there, even if she was the only one home, no one could conscript her to peel potatoes or assign her some other menial task.

Second floor bedrooms featured poster beds each covered by a hand-quilted duvet. Gramma must have been a busy person at one time of her life, what with all the looming and quilting. Boring. As she was about to give up her snooping, Renner noticed a thin rope hanging down from the ceiling of the central hallway. She decided to pull it, and a panel opened up in the ceiling which disgorged a ladder. A secret passageway to a hidden attic. That aught to be worth exploring.