I tried opening it, but it’s like it was locked.
Taking a step back, I thought about the possibility. My aunt never liked keys for starters. “They’re worse than change,” she once said, “jiggling about. You never can find the one you need.” Didn’t make sense to me but it was useful to know when exploring an old house with tons of doors and antiques. Found a second entrance to the attack one time. That was easier to figure out than the vanity.
All of the drawers were open except for one. There was no hidden keyhole. I have the dusty jeans to prove it and I’m pretty sure my hair got some dust in it too from my underbelly inspection. It definitely couldn’t be locked locked.
“Then what is it?” I asked the vanity in hopes it would tell me but it was useless. “Maybe if I bang it!” It worked in movies. It just didn’t work for me.
Sighing, I took to tracing over the embellishment. Why would my aunt keep a dusty old vanity with a dud drawer? It was pretty and all but it wasn’t great if she had to fix it. A seventy year old woman had no business sprucing up furniture, not with her bad knees.
“Amber? What are you doing here?”
“Looking around,” and trying not to have a heart attack. For some bad knees, they can move that woman around fast. “What’s up with this drawer?”
“What’s up, is a horrible way to start a question.”
Despite her little lecture, she joined me in rubbing the surface of the vanity. I may have been curious, but her, she looked lost in some wonderful memory that I really wished she would share. She lived long enough. She had to have some good stories under that pepper hair.
“Has your father told you anything about our grandmother?” I shook my head quickly so she’d go on. “She was a wise woman and this was hers. Like you, I used to sneak around this house, finding all its secrets but I never could figure out this piece. She was secretive about it.”
I couldn’t help comparing them. They both sounded protective of one silly item. All I wanted to know was why it didn’t open.
“Amber, it’s rude to stop listening when I’m talking to you.”
That did it. She sighed heavily and ushered me out, muttering about children and their manners. I looked over my shoulder to tell her I was sorry but my mouth only hung open.
The drawer had opened and standing in it with a smug smile was a tiny girl. She looked no older than me. Scrawny, pint size, wide round eyes, wild hair. She could pass for my twin if she was normal sized…..what was she?
“I despise that name.”
What was she talking about? I thought I heard wrong but she was too close to not hear correctly. “But Aunt Cora, the drawer!” Her nails dug into my shoulders and I regretted using the name. “That kind of hurts.”
“Good then you’re ready for more.”
More? My head whipped to the side to see if she looked as serious as she sounded. My stomch dropped when I saw a similar coldness in her eyes that the drawer girl had.
Stealing myself, I dared to ask the right question. “What are you?”
“The same thing you’re about to be, a changeling. You, that pathetic aunt you think I am, your grandmother. It’s fortunate for us that your father keeps his mouth closed. Now we get you.”
“For what? Why do you want me?” I fought her grip only to hiss when her nails took root. I was trapped with whatever she said she was. “Where are we going?”
“To the tub. We have drowning to do and a deal to keep.”