im light filtered through a tiny, smudged window. Leslie sat on the threshold of the little room as her eyes adjusted to the shadows. The view back down the ladder was fascinating. Viewing the apartment from this height and angle gave everything a wonderland quality which immediately appealed to her sense of adventure. What further marvels were to be revealed?

A thick layer of dust seemed to indicate the room had not been used in years. The rich, wet musty smell confirmed this. Why had it sat unused for so long? Why hadn't Shirley used the little room? So many questions.

The rain drummed dully on the roof and skylight, adding a sleepy baseline to the intrigue. Leslie began to explore. A pair of newer cardboard boxes were stacked just inside the doorway. Shirley did use the attic after all. Further in, things got more interesting.

An old yellow bird cage, a heavy locked trunk and an antique oval mirror all vied for Leslie's attention. The trunk conjured the image of pirates and wooden ships, but refused (owing to its size and status) to offer up its contents. The cage and mirror distracted her momentarily, but she quickly returned to the trunk.

She dug at the hinges and tinkered with the lock. The trunk remained implacable. Suddenly, from below, she heard the sound of the front door opening. Her father had returned home.

1995 Hyperbole Studios Inc.