62: The Elevator

At first, Edmund spent a lot of time wandering a bit aimlessly, opening doors that looked interesting and ignoring those that seemed dull. Several times he found a door that looked fascinating, with ornate designs covering the door, or strange signs in foreign languages framing the doorway, only to try the handle and find it solidly locked. He peeked through keyholes when he could, but never saw anything interesting. He listened at one locked doorway when he thought he heard music, but it stopped almost as soon as his ear brushed the wood and wouldn’t play again, though he waited almost a quarter hour. One door even looked like it had been boarded up from the other side–he could see the nails sticking through the wood.


Image: David Hamilton forgot his hat but not the girl, by Yves Lecoq

Every room he saw was different. Sometimes they were sparsely furnished, other times they were full of furniture thrown about haphazardly. Many were bedrooms of varying design, but others seemed purposeless. In one room the furniture was covered in thick white linen, making it look like chairs and tables were growing like mushrooms from the white carpet. One room was completely empty, except for a strange brown stain on the floor. Few of the rooms he looked into seemed very interesting, and none of them looked used.

As he wandered, the building shivered and rang whenever the clock in the foyer struck the hour, turning the whole mansion into a giant clock-bell. He was gradually becoming used to the bizarre quaking until he barely needed to stop walking as the ground quivered under his feet.

When Edmund guessed he was near the middle of Moulde Hall, he rounded a corner only to find himself face to face with a small cylindrical elevator with metal mesh surrounding it. There was a large button nearby lined with ivory, obviously for calling the elevator to the floor.

Eagerly, Edmund pushed aside the grating, stepped in, and pulled the grating shut behind him. The elevator itself was lined with alabaster and porcelain, with brass railing and grating that wound about its sturdy cylindrical frame.

Edmund looked at the lever that moved the elevator up and down. It was a beautiful design, carved like a leaping hound with its nose pointing to the ornate four that marked the floor on which the elevator rested. There was a three, a two, and a one, but no five.

Edmund reached out and pushed the hound so that it pointed at the number one. There was a whirring clunk, and the elevator began to move. Slowly at first, then gaining speed, the hallway outside the gate rose into the air followed by the third floor rising into view. The second floor soon followed, then the first, and the elevator came to a shuddering halt with a clang that echoed the thunder that shook the whole Hall.

A smile lit on Edmund’s face as he pushed the hound again, this time so it pointed at the four. The same clunk echoed from below, and floors outside the elevator sank away from Edmund as he rose.

Delighted with his discovery, Edmund spent a few minutes riding the elevator before he became bored and stepped out into the hallway on the top floor.


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