Secret Sanctuary

All this stuff was the reason why she had to share a room with her younger sister.

Marcy scowled at the stacked blue totes, worn-out boxes, and odds and ends that filled the third room of their two-story house. A layer of dust covered everything, giving the room a musty scent. She flipped the light switch next to the door and... nothing. Huffing in irritation she looked around the room, over the torn and stained mannequin and the fake plants hanging from the ceiling, to see that the light coming in through the blinds lit the room enough.

Why did she have to search for that old thing?

She kicked her sister's old, half-deflated soccer ball. It lumped its way across the wooden floor and hit a table with a bowl on top filled with stones. Her eyes widened as the table wobbled and she jerked forward to try to catch it, but it tilted and crashed to the floor. The bowl shattered and the stones scattered.

"Great," Marcy said. "Not only do I have to look for a stupid typewriter, but now I'm gonna get yelled at for breaking something."

Getting down on her hands and knees, carefully avoiding the broken glass, she grimaced at the dust getting on her and her jeans. She leaned down close to the floor, her chestnut hair falling over her shoulders and touching the dirty floor also. "I'm definitely taking a shower after this," she murmured as she looked under the cedar chest marred with scratches and chips.

A trail of six stones laid from the front edge to the back far corner. One by one she gathered them up, scratching her arm in the process as she reached for the last one. She rubbed her sore arm before bending to the floor again. Behind a chair and under a dresser a light shimmered in a shape of a square. She squinted her eyes, what is that?

She moved the chair, the items on top of the dresser, and then the dresser. "What the...?"

A wooden trapdoor with cast iron hinges and latch was in the floor. A jagged, purple stone protruded from the middle. Around the stone, a metal ring decorated it with symbols she didn't recognize engraved on it.

Where did that come from?

She chewed on her bottom lip in thought. Should she open it? It could be dangerous.

Curiosity won out against common sense.

She reached out, her hand shaking, and took a hold of the latch. The cold metal against her skin made it all the more real. She glanced back at the door to the room before unlatching it and pulling up. Light flooded out and blinded her.

She opened her eyes and gasped. Stone slabs hovered in the air, creating steps and leading down to a grassy ground twenty-feet below. To get a better view, she braced her hands on either side of the opening and leaned forward. Her jawed dropped at the beauty.

A thick circle of oak trees surrounded a grassy clearing with patches of poppies and daffodils. The serene sound of crashing water came from the waterfall spilling over jagged cliffs across the lake. Breathtaking. . .

She eyed the first step. Should she? Yet, the part of her that enjoyed the thought of being part of an adventure like in the books she read threw caution to the wind. She sat on the edge of the opening and tapped the first step with her foot. It seemed solid. With her hands still braced on both sides of the opening, she put most of her weight on the step. When it held, she gradually made her way down.

Once on the ground she glanced back up to ensure the entrance hadn't disappeared before focusing on the fantastical scenery. She went straight over to the lake, gazing over the rippling surface and the fish that swam just underneath. She took off her shoes and stepped into the cool water without care that the bottom of her jeans were getting soaked.

Marcy?!" came the call of her mother.

She jerked and faced the entrance with wide eyes. Snatching her shoes up, she ran up the steps and back into the storage room. She shut the door behind her and just as she swirled around her mother came into the room.

The t-shirt and yoga pants her mother wore when cleaning matched the messy bun on top of her head, clearly displaying how hard she's been working. "I've been calling your name for ten minutes, Marcy. Why didn't you answer?"

"I didn't hear you," she said, trying to discreetly keep herself in front of the mysterious door.

Her mother's gaze lowered to her legs. "Why are your pants wet?"

"I spilled something," she lied.

"Spilled something?" Her mother stepped around her, causing Marcy to panic at the door being discovered. Although, when she saw the area the door had previously been the door was no longer there and in its place laid a mineral stone. Her eyes widened at the disappearance. "What did you spill? I don't see any mess."

"I don't know." Her eyes stayed on the now empty flat floor, the loss sinking in. "The floor must have soaked it up."

"Well," her mother turned to her, forcing her to remove her eyes from the floor and face her mother. She hoped her face didn't show the disappointment. "get changed. Lunch is ready." Her mother went to leave, but stopped and asked, "Oh, did you find the typewriter?"

Marcy shook her head.

"Hmm. . . maybe I stored it in the closet," her mother muttered as she walked out of the room.

Marcy looked back at the mineral stone only for the door to be there again. She dashed to it and fell to her knees, yanking the door open. The same exquisite scenery laid before her. She sighed with relief and grinned. This could be her escape.

This could be her secret sanctuary.