Spencer burst through the open door of his big sister’s room. She was sitting at the desk, carefully attempting to recreate a John Constable with a 2B pencil, unperturbed by his entrance.
“You’ll never guess what I’ve found!” he said.
“A secret passage,” said Rosie.
Spencer’s face fell. “Oh. How did you know?”
“I found it on Tuesday,” she said, “and dusted the gargoyle so that you’d find it. Remember I’m twice as observant as you are.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I wanted you to have the joy of finding it yourself.”
“And yet,” he pointed out, “you denied me the joy of announcing it?”
“Yes,” said Rosie. “I giveth and I taketh away.”
“Well why not cometh with me and explore. Let’s go!”
“My torch doesn’t work.”
He sighed dramatically and held out his hand. “Give it here.”
She took it from her desk drawer and handed it over. He checked the contacts and wiggled the bulb. The light flicked on.
“Let’s go!” he said.
They skipped downstairs to the library, over and around the many boxes still unpacked from the move. The library was enormous, and very tall, with ladders that reached upwards, clipped to horizontal rails. Over a hundred shelves were filled with old hardback books. In one wall sat an ornately carved fireplace, decorated with gargoyle heads for a pleasingly uncomfortable aesthetic.
One of the heads, when twisted around, unlocked the door disguised as a wood panel to the left of the fireplace. A mechanical clunk, and they could push the door open. It was, predictably, dark.
“After you,” said Spencer.
“No,” said Rosie.
He grinned, switched on his torch, and led the way.
To be continued…