103: The Escape

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Image by Lucas Lucas

When the mansion struck ten and Ung still hadn’t returned to unlock the door, Edmund began to look for another way out.

There had to be some other means of escape, if not the door. Spurred by his growing hunger, he ran to the windows, wondering how far it was to the grounds outside. Perhaps he could weave some sort of rope from his bedsheets and climb out? That had a certain romantic flair to it.

He tried to open one of the windows only to find it locked as well. Edmund looked for something to force it open, when his eye fell on his small desk.

His mind working quickly, he moved back to the door and peeked through the keyhole. Sure enough, his vision was blocked by the key from the other side. Edmund grinned to himself. Obviously, Ung had never read any mystery books. Grabbing a pen and piece of paper from his desk, he carefully slipped the paper under the crack in the door, and gently pushed the key out of the lock with the pen.

A thud on the other side of the door met Edmund’s ears, and he carefully pulled the paper back into the room, only to hear the key scrape and pull off the paper. A moment of scrabbling with the pen confirmed Edmund’s fears; the crack of the door was too thin for the thick key to fit through.

Sighing to himself, Edmund sat with his back against the door, trying to ignore the pain in his stomach. Whoever had built Moulde Hall had obviously been very well-read.

No escape through the door, nor the windows. Could there be any secret doors? Edmund thought back to the strange passageway he had discovered before Mrs. Kippling had him deliver Matron her lunch. Perhaps there was a similar secret door in his room? He hadn’t found one when he had searched his room the day before…but he hadn’t been looking for any secret catches or levers.

Carefully, Edmund began to crawl about his room, inspecting every edge, panel, trim, floorboard, and underside he could see. When he found nothing, he tried again, slower. It took almost an hour, but finally he found what looked like a thick splinter sticking in the crack between the wall and his closet door. When he pulled down on it there was a soft clicking sound, and it was only the work of a moment to find the small hole that had opened inside the closet and into the next room. Edmund slipped through the hole, and emerged into what seemed to be another bedroom, covered in white sheets.

Brushing off his trousers, Edmund tried the door. It was unlocked.

Quickly, he slipped back into his room, grabbed a change of clothing from his closet, and darted back through the hole and into the hallway. He replaced his bedroom’s key in the lock, so Ung wouldn’t get suspicious if he walked by.

Satisfied, Edmund slipped down the hall towards the kitchen, his steps heavy with determination.

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