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Nym’s eyes were burning and heavy. They had been searching tirelessly through the office of Marcel Ghostraven for hours and had thus far failed to find any key. Amos seemed convinced that it would unlock the mysteries of the Pull and lead them to the missing Captain. Looking over at Amos she could see the exhaustion in his face, even as determination burned in his eyes.
“Amos,” she said. “We need to break. We are both exhausted and we have not eaten all day. Night? I don’t even know what time it is, do you?”
Amos deserted the stack of books he had been opening one by one -hoping to find a hidden compartment, and came to sit next to Nym on the floor. He looked around them with tired eyes, and chuckled.
“What?” Nym asked, bemused.
“Well,” he smiled, “I was just thinking that this place is cleaner since we started ransacking it.”
Nym looked around and couldn’t help but agree. They were very tidy bandits. The office was now littered with neat stacks off various sundry items, books had been replaced on shelves, ash and trash had been swept and barreled. In the absence of clutter she could see the simple, understated richness of the room and she wondered again about the man they were seeking. Under his cluttered facade he was tasteful and refined. She then realized that he would not likely be very fond of her breaking into his home and searching through his life and belongings. She suddenly felt ashamed of her invasion into his private sanctum.
It seemed that she too was not a very good pirate. The thought made her laugh.
“Alright then, Peach. What shall it be?” Amos held up two ancient packages of crisps he had unearthed in the Captain’s abandoned room, “Pom Pandas or Planetary Invaders?” Amos grinned from ear to ear, a smile Nym was beginning to appreciate as both silly and sincere.
“Is it bad that I am starting to wonder what we are doing here?” Nym asked quietly.
“Bad? Nah. Ain’t bad to question the obvious. I mean we don’t know if the key is even here, he might have it with him for all we know. But we ain’t found nothing else to go on…”
“I did, actually,” Nym said, “but it’s one of those things that makes you question your sanity.”
“Huh?” Amos was lost.
“There was a letter, ” Nym started rummaging, trying to find it in her organized mess, “from a woman. But it was entirely peculiar.”
“I know what you mean, ” Amos sighed, “I’ve been thinking about that door and wondering if it was even real, I mean the last time I saw it I was a kid hunting grunions and trolls. Emily thought it was real enough, but…”
Nym abandoned her half hearted search and stood, straightening her skirts. “Let’s see it, then.”
Amos stood up as well, agreeing that -key or no key- they should at least find the door if they could.
“Well, if the door we came in through,” he motioned to the floor, “used to be the top of the staircase, then the office we are in would have been the vestibule. The hallway would have been,” Amos turned around trying to gain his sense of direction, “toward that wall.”
Amos motioned to a wall directly behind them that was occupied, from floor to ceiling, by a gigantic wooden credenza.
Nym sighed,”So much for a tidy ransacking.”
Pushing and shoving the giant piece of furniture was both feat and folly. Nym could feel perspiration in the loose hairs around her neck, and Amos had to stop on occasion to dab his face with a handkerchief. They had managed to move the credenza about two inches from the wall, and so far there was no evidence of a hidden passage or door.
“Okay, count of three: Push” The two joined forces. Amos grunted.
“What happened to going to dinner?” Nym complained, straining.
Amos smiled through his efforts, “After this, Peach. I promise you candle light and the best feast two shiny can buy.”
Nym continued pushing. “Three shiny,” she offered with a smile, “and maybe a stag!”
Amos beamed at her, “We may have to eat the candles.”
Without warning the massive credenza groaned and gave way from the wall, falling forward. Nym and Amos caught it with an extraordinary shared effort and precariously positioned it away from the wall. Nym, being the smaller of the two, wiggled between the wall and the wooden structure. She searched the smooth surface of the wall with her hands hoping to feel a seam or anything that might signal a passage.
“It’s here,” she exclaimed. A small door, no bigger than a dumb waiter, rested in the center of the wall.
The two completed the task of moving the credenza and Nym stood back as Amos used his weight to coax the door open. It creaked and complained, but finally gave way revealing a dark and foreboding passage.
Amos stood back a moment, wiped his brow with a handkerchief which he stuffed into his pocket and stated, “I’ll go first because you know: no peeking!” He gave Nym a teasing wink.
The passage was just big enough for a person to crawl through on hands and knees and twisted for many meters. Made entirely of stone that seemed out of place and felt damp despite the temperate night, it was a narrow and uncomfortable path made more so by the fullness and weight of Nym’s skirts. Amos helped her through the passage opening and into a small prison like chamber, barely large enough for the two of them, that was possessed by a single architecture: a gigantic, ornately engraved door.
“Look at these markings,” Nym marveled. She raised her hand but could not find the courage to touch the thing. Standing before it, Nym understood Amos’ dislike of the massive door. It seemed to call her to look at it with it’s colors and symbols even as a warning flooded her senses and overwhelmed her with a desire to run far and fast. She could see the hairs on Amos’ finely muscled arms standing and knew that the door had a similar effect on him.
Something called her from the spell of the door, and she turned to Amos in realization, “There’s no keyhole!”