Inside the Statue

After he had managed to calm down, Edmund slowly crept back into the alcove and circled around the statue, looking for some hint or clue as to how to get the statue moving again. There were no levers, valves, or buttons. It looked for all the world like a simple marble statue that wouldn’t move, no matter how long Edmund prodded at it.

Logically, he thought, since everything that makes humans move was inside them, everything that makes this statue move must be inside it, and if there was something on the inside, then there needed to be a way to reach it. Edmund knelt down and peered closer at the stone. He couldn’t find any seams or cracks that might open up into the statue on the front, nor either side. When he got to the back, however, he saw a long row of small holes along the bottom of the thick stone.

The holes were only a little larger than Edmund’s thumb. They didn’t seem like catches; they almost looked like air holes. Edmund ran his fingers along them, feeling their smooth edges. They didn’t look like any sort of opening catches, perhaps the statue didn’t just move, but played music too? Perhaps it danced to songs that played out from these strange holes.

Just below this row of holes was a thin crack that would barely fit a knife blade. He picked at it ineffectively for a moment, and then crawled out of the alcove to find a knife.

The rat was waiting for him, staring blankly from where it sat, perched on a lower shelf of a nearby stack. It followed Edmund as he searched through the library, until he found a knife in the form of a small bronze letter opener that was resting, discarded, in a drawer of a small desk on the third floor.

Gripping it tightly in his fist, he ran back to the alcove and slipped the blade of the opener into the slot. With a burst of delight in his heart he heard a small click, and the entire back of the stone shifted outwards. Working the blade around, he slowly pulled a panel of stone away from the base of the statue, revealing a strange and wonderful collection of brass and iron.

Wheels and gears twisted around inside the base of the statue, with springs and coils winding their way deeper inside. A strange glass cylinder sat in a conical nest near the back, and several long tines stuck down from the darkness like thin metal stalactites. Each of the tines had a strange structure at the end that reminded Edmund of a guitar’s tuning key, and one had a small bit of string sticking out of it that looked like it had been worn though.

Edmund stared at the complicated mechanism in amazement. It was a beautiful and dazzling array of invention and structure. Everything was set in a specific position, placed with a purpose. The complexity and elegance of the design amazed Edmund, and he had to restrain himself from touching and feeling everything inside, tracing the path of the energy and movement that would travel through this strange mechanism.

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