Elizabeth Klein - Apr 2012
Mrs Trelawney’s House - Chapter 3
by Elizabeth Klein
“Yeah, sure,” Josh muttered. “Even I could tell he was looking for that map. If I were you, I wouldn’t show it to anyone.”
“I have to show Mrs Trelawney,” said Roke.
“Well, just her then.”
The rest of the day, the two friends kept their eyes open for the large man in the white suit, but after he had vanished into the crowd, they didn’t see him again. Whenever there was a lull in the sales, Roke found himself either thinking about the man or the map under his shirt.
He talked little to Josh, who seemed to understand. As the shadows lengthened and the people started to leave, Roke began to think about visiting Mrs Trelawney, who lived at the end of Seacoast Road. His mother called her a recluse, but he didn’t understand what that meant.
“Come on,” Josh said.
Roke blinked and noticed his friend packing up the books that hadn’t been sold. He started helping him when he noticed a flash of bright light coming from the park across the road.
“What was that? Did you see it?”
“No,” said Josh, holding a pile of books against his chest. “What was it?”
“A flash of light.”
“That man had a pair of binoculars, remember?”
Roke felt the blood drain from his face. “Do you think he’s watching us? No, seriously. Do you think he’s after the map?”
Josh dropped the books into the box at his feet and straightened up.
“Who knows. Let’s get these boxes into the van so we can get home. Dad said he’d be here at five and if they’re not loaded, he’ll be cross—with me!”
They piled the three boxes of unsold books into the van when Josh’s father sauntered toward them through the dwindling crowd. A few minutes later, he and Josh drove off and Roke found himself heading for Seacoast Road. It was a bit of a hike up a hill and the afternoon still held the heat from the day.
From time to time, he wiped the sweat from his face and wished he’d brought that bottle of water from the cooler with him. Sometimes he reached up and touched the map with his hand, feeling the ragged edges under his shirt as if making sure it hadn’t dropped out along the way. But the stiff, crinkly paper was still there.
Half an hour of brisk walking brought him to the bottom of the hill, where the last street light glimmered beside the road. Mrs Trelawney lived at the top of the hill, overlooking the sea. He glanced up at the derelict house. Some of the lights were on in one of the downstairs rooms. It meant she was home.
Roke was puffing by the time he reached the tall, wrought-iron gate. It opened easily when he pushed against it. He froze. What if Mrs Trelawney owned black Doberman dogs, like in the movies? He glanced at the shadows and shivered, despite the warmth. They’d be racing toward him at that very moment with snarling fangs if she did!