Flash Friday 28/02/2014: Attic of Eternity
Granny Helda fastened the old army helmet around her grandson’s neck. It suited him a lot better than it did her, even if it covered his eyes slightly.
“Do you think we’ll need these?” Ben said, raising the helmet to look at Helda.
“Of course. You know how your mother always says that you need a helmet before you go cycling? This is the same thing, except with no stabilisers and a lot more monsters.”
Ben’s eyes went wide. “You never said anything about monsters.”
“Of course I didn’t,” Helda said with a smile, jostling the helmet to see if it was on tight enough. “If I did, you would have never agreed with it.”
Ben swallowed. “I don’t think this is worth the ten quid anymore.”
“At least you have a helmet,” Jessica said. “She only gave me a tiara.”
“Ah ah,” Helda said, centring the tiara on Jessica’s head. “Do not think so lowly of the Crystal Crown, my dear. What it lacks for in iron and steel, it makes up for in magic.”
“Magic?” Ben huffed. “Now I wanna tiara.”
“Perhaps when you’re old enough to make your own decisions. For now, though, your helmet should suffice just nicely. Now.” Helda put her hands on Jessica and Ben’s shoulders, alternating her glance between the two. “Are you two ready to enter…the Attic of Eternity?”
Both kids took a small intake of breath. “Yes,” they said in unison.
“Good. Because where the both of you are going is a place that is untouched by time itself, where the obstacles are many and the darkness is foreboding. Who knows what kind of creatures lurk in the attic? Perhaps you’ll find the painting gremlins, who hide behind works of art, waiting for people to admire their canvases before popping out to strike. Or, perhaps, you’ll find a mimic, which looks just like a small chest to those not trained to identify them, and snap at the hands of those who try to open their false lids. Make sure you’re readily armed for these beasts.”
Ben held up his wooden sword. Jessica, her sparkling star-tipped wand.
“Excellent. Goodness knows what’s up there. I’d hate to see you two captured by the forces of evil within. I believe, however, that your enthusiasm and youth combined will make sure you will get back safely.”
Ben raised the helmet above his eyes. “So, why are we going in there?”
“Because there’s a very special treasure I need you to find, only warriors as strong and brave as you two can find. When you enter the attic, you must first pass through the Valley of Mirrors. Once through, you’ll find yourself in the middle of Box Canyon, with vast, teetering walls of cardboard boxes on either side. Once you have surpassed that, you will find yourself near the back of the attic, where a slight brush of an object can send a cloud of dust everywhere, disturbed after decades of building. Then, when you reach the very back, you’ll find the treasure chest.”
“How will we know it’s not a, uh, mimic?” Jessica said.
“Good question. When you approach the treasure, you will, at first, think of it as suited more for the trash than in the hands of brave adventurers such as yourself. Do not be fooled, for grand treasures come in humble containers. You can tell the true box from the fakes, for it will be a humble shoe box with ‘album’ on the top. Once you have found it, bring it back to me.”
“Wow,” Ben said, his eyes lighting up. “And what’s in the box? Jewellery? Gold? A treasure map?”
“Well…it has an album in it. A very old one, with photos on it where my skin doesn’t look like a bulldog’s cheeks, and I’m wearing a very nice dress in one of them. Very nice red, of course. Except it’s in black and white, so you’ll have to take my word for it.”
Jessica frowned. “But if we’re going to go get an album and come back, then why is it called the Attic of Eternity?”
“Because I stuff things up there and never use them ever again, unfortunately. But! Today, you two shall brave its bowels and retrieve the album. When your quest is complete, then you shall have your reward.”
“Alright.” Ben began to climb the ladder up into the attic. “But I want the helmet too.”
“And I’d like the tiara as well,” Jessica said, following suit. “Especially if it’s enchanted to keep away boys.”
“Only if you make it back alive,” Helda said to the two disappearing figures as they entered the attic. Now she had to find a way to convince them to fight the evil horde of washing up downstairs.