Someone was knocking on the door. That was next to impossible, because Jason didn’t have a door. He had walls, yes, and one small window that overlooked the sea, but there was no door to his room. In fact, he made sure that a door wasn’t made in his mountain dwelling. He didn’t need a door. There it was again. Maybe there were rats. Wait, rats didn’t go around knocking, they scratched around biting things.
The person, or whatever it was knocked again, this time louder. Jason didn’t think to answer it. Nobody knew that he lived there.Well, except one person, and he wouldn’t tell. He was hiding and someone or something found him. He quietly got up from his wicker chair and turned to the direction of the noise. The knock came again. It seemed every three minutes without fail. Jason tracked it to behind the painting he had of Lady Dorrie Lattimer.
It was the only thing he could bring with him besides the clothes on his back and his book on the galaxies by
Fremont Scythe. He’d never met Lady Lattimer, nor did he care to. It was just a painting in his home. Jason didn’t believe some things, like answering imaginary doors. There it was again! Persistent, weren’t they? If I do answer it, he thought. It could be someone to help him.
Jason hadn’t spoken to a living soul in five years. Wait, except if you counted birds that happened to perch on the little window sill. What’s the worse that could happen? he thought. He could get blown up, yes. That was a very good possibility. He wasn’t exactly loved in his hometown of Ardle, and he had to escape to this mountain to save his life. If he didn’t answer the door, that wasn’t exactly there, would the person or thing keep knocking until it drove him insane?
Jason sat back down and really thought it through. Yes, he would go insane. He was bored. He’d already read his book ten times, and his endless supply of food was now, strangely depleting. It was time, for a big change. So, what should it be? he thought. Die of hunger or by the stranger at the door?
The knocking increased to every one and a half minutes, now. It was not only louder in volume, but more rapid.
Jason sighed and walked over to the picture of Lady Dorrie Lattimer. She could not be considered pretty, by
anyone’s account. She had blond hair, green eyes, and so thin a gust of wind could carry her away. Her expression was passive, it looked like she wouldn’t care if she were carried away.
“Who is it?” Jason finally asked between knocks. “Muggr Thrgrrish Grrnbl.” “Who?” louder. “Muggr Thrgrrish Grrnbl.” Well, it sounded like it was a human male, but in order to hear clearly, he’d have to remove the painting.
He didn’t want to remove the painting. “You! Jashon…” then the rest of what he said was just plain unintelligible.
“For Crying out loud,” Jason hissed, hands on the painting. “Just a minute!” he called. Jason carefully took the
painting off of the hook in the stone wall. There was nothing behind it.
He set Lady Lattimer carefully against the wall and the knocking continued. “Let me in if you want to get out!”
said the man. His voice was still rather muffled, but at least he could make out real words.” “I don’t want to get
out.” Jason said. There was a pause. “You don’t?” “No!” “Of course you do…now open the door!” impatiently.
“There is no door.” “What, are you blind? of course there’s a door.” “How do I know this isn’t a trick and you really want to kill me?”
“You don’t.” “Goodbye then, thanks for knocking.” “Wait! I can give you your life back!” Jason folded his arms and sat back in his wicker chair. “Is the king still angry with me?” There was silence. “Has my family forgiven me?”
There was even more silence. “Is the mob still hanging around?” “Jason-” “Forget it!” waving a hand in the air.
“Please…just open the door.” “I don’t see a door, and if I did, I wouldn’t let you in!” irritably. “I promise you, young man, that you will not regret this, and you’ll finally be free.” Jason thought about it and decided to just do it, come what may.
“Where’s the door then?” he sighed. “You really don’t see it?” “You were knocking behind a painting, which hung on a wall.” “Look in the painting, there’s a door.” the man said. Jason studied the painting and found in the far corner on the left hand side of Lady Lattimer’s arm was just the barest corner of a door. “You are kidding me, right?!” “Find it! Find it, we don’t have too much time!” The man said urgently.
Jason studied his room. There was the ancient fireplace, a potted plant, an open shelf of food. his cot, a chair, a small circular table for one, an open water closet, and a sink next to that. All wall, no door. “Hurry!” “Keep your shirt on.” He went back to where the painting stood, and moved his little table. He touched the wall. Nothing but solid rock. He looked in the corner and saw something odd sticking out.
It looked like a a lever of some sort. He bent and pushed it downward. Nothing happened. He pushed it upward and suddenly a door appeared where the painting had been, as if it had been chiseled out of stone. The man pushed from the other side. Jason backed up as he came in. He was an older man black, with curly white hair, a beard and clothes from a Norman Rockwell painting. He smiled at Jason and held out his hand. ” Mr. Thagerus Grendel, at your service!” Jason took his hand, and the older man shook it vigorously. “Now, let’s get down to business!” He took a battered brown satchel from his shoulder and opened it. He handed Jason a velvet bag.
“Open it…you’ll have to before we leave here.” his light brown eyes excited. The bag was round and a dull gray color. Jason opened it and dropped the object into his hand. There is was. The thing that turned his life upside down and caused the city of Ardle to hate him. A blue diamond bracelet, on a silver chain. Grendel laughed heartily. “Never thought you’d see that again, did you?” smiling, the crinkles deep around his eyes.
Jason’s heart was heavy. A gift he planed to give to his soul mate, Rachelle Dumont happened to be stolen from the Queen’s bedchamber. A gift he bought from the corner jewelry store. After being jailed for six months, he was released and went home-well to his home burning in bright orange flames. That’s when his lawyer suggested that he go far far away.
“This can’t be…” “Of course it isn’t,” Mr. Grendel said. “It’s the actual one you bought…someone switched yours with the real one.” Jason looked at him in surprise. “Who?” “Take a wild guess.” “Hubert Wickenham.” His rival. He should have known. “Right, now let’s go, there’s a ship waiting for us.” “How did you find out?” “I’ll tell you all about it on the way home.” clapping him on the back. Jason took his book, the last of the food, but especially the painting of Lady Lattimer.
“I actually have a home now?” “Oh, yes…the king is going to give you a formal apology, and he’s given your parents a new home.” “Sweet, ” he grinned. “Thanks Mr. Grendel.” “My pleasure, young man.” They walked out of the stone wall door and down some steps he’d never seen before. “Rachelle….is she-” He really hated to ask.
Did he really expect her to wait five years? “Married with four children.” “Ouch!” he winced. “I wouldn’t worry about her,” Grendel replied. ” I recall the king saying something about marrying off his youngest daughter.” Jason laughed, the first in a very long time.
When they reached the final stair, Jason ran out to the world he could only view by window. The wind ruffled his hair. The royal ship stood before them, so inviting and powerful. A full pardon and a princess bride? Yes, sweet indeed.