100: A Hidden Hallway

No.

Edmund gripped the trim of the wall and pulled the door shut with another soft click. He had found enough mazes and statues and bizarre doors for one lifetime. What good would it do anyway? Instead of wandering aimlessly though thick and dimly lit halls, he would wander aimlessly through cramped and pitch-black passages. No, he would leave the secret here for someone better equipped to handle it.

“Here now!” came the light but stern voice of Mrs. Kippling, followed by a flash of lightning. “What on earth are you doing, Master Edmund?”

Edmund twisted his neck to see Mrs. Kippling looking down the hallway, a fully loaded tray in each hand. Edmund slowly stepped away from the wall, brushing his pants off with his hands.

“Nothing,” he muttered.

“Well, then it’s a good thing I found you, then! I was looking for you all morning. Matron wants you to bring her lunch again. Here, take this lunch tray to her room.” She shifted, holding one full tray out in front of her towards Edmund.

And so, once again, Edmund found himself carrying Matron’s lunch with him, up and down the hallways that tied the rooms of Moulde Hall together. This time, however, his mind was not on the injustice of having to bring Matron her lunch like a servant, but  on how fitting it seemed to be. He certainly wasn’t good enough to be her equal, and barely good enough to be her son. Servant seemed to be the more fitting job for him.

Edmund slowly trudged his way through the halls, until he arrived at the large raven-door again. Shifting the tray onto his hip as best he could while avoiding the boiling teakettle, he quickly knocked on the opposite door, and waited.

“Come in,” came the haggard reply. Edmund pushed the door open as gently as he could while balancing the heavy tray, gripping it with both hands again as soon as he was through the door.

Had he not heard her voice a few hours ago in another room, Edmund would have been positive that Matron hadn’t moved since he had brought her lunch to her yesterday. There was nothing to indicate she had moved a muscle. She was sitting in the same chair, wearing the same clothes, and clutching the same umbrella in her hands. Again, she pointed at the side-table, and again, Edmund placed the heavy tray down, and turned to leave.

“Wait,” she said, sharply as Edmund’s hand grabbed the handle. Matron stared at him, her eyes cold, as though she was looking for some answer deep inside him. He stood uneasily, eager to be gone from under her gaze and back to his own room.

Except it wasn’t his room, was it? Not really. It was still hers, no matter who slept in the bed, or put on the clothing. There wasn’t anything of him anywhere in the mansion.

Finally, Matron nodded slowly, and gestured his dismissal. Edmund gratefully complied.

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