Here’s part four of my fan fiction sequel. Next week I will be returning with regular book reviews, but for now I’m going to do the lazy thing and post something I’ve already written.
Hope you guys enjoy it.
That night, Mariah woke to hear strange noises.
He lay still, listening. The clatter was quiet enough that he might mistake it for the staff down in the kitchen; but they had all left. He sat up, grabbing his bedrobe and shrugging it on before stepping out of the room. The hall was quiet and dark, but he could hear furniture moving around downstairs. Was Mrs. Prewitt still here?
He kept going, pausing when he heard a creak at the door to the stairs. His breath pounded in his ears, even as a voice inside chided him for being ridiculous. There was another noise, this time from behind. He turned, breathing out when he saw it was just the open window. Turning back to the door, Mariah reached out, fingers closing on the cold knob and pulled quickly, hoping to catch the perpetrator off guard.
To his surprise, Felix was on the other side of the door, finger held to his lips. The younger boy crept to the banister of the stairs, where the loud noises were more evident.
“Someone’s downstairs,” he hissed. “They’re looking for something, I heard them.”
The scepter. They were looking for the scepter. But they wouldn’t find it.
“We have to get out of here, all right?” Mariah whispered.
Felix nodded and turned to move when they heard a rough voice from below, calling to an accomplice to check out the rooms up the back way. That meant they’d reach Sacha’s room first. They had to get to her.
Motioning to his brother, Mariah led the way towards her room, looking back just long enough to hear heavy footsteps in – He tripped right over the upper table. The urn fell to the ground as if in slow motion, shattering. The sound rocked in Mariah’s ears. He paused, breath catching.
The sounds below were quiet. For a dark moment, he wondered if they were coming up, but then he heard the slam of the pantry door below. Good, they hadn’t noticed. The two boys kept going. They were just near Sacha’s room when a large man stepped out from the back stair.
He was large, towering over Mariah, with a blemished right cheek and twitching left eye.
“Got ya then,” he leered.
The two stopped. Mariah felt his brother’s frightened grip on his arm. His gaze flicked from the stair to the bedroom door back to the man. Even if he could make it, Felix couldn’t. And he wasn’t about to leave him again.
“What do you want?” He demanded, though he knew full well.
“Just your li’l package,” the stooge smiled.
Behind him, Sacha’s door opened. She held her heating pan, quietly creeping behind him. Mariah’s gaze flicked from her to the goon before him. Behind him, Felix’s grip on his arm tightened.
“Sir,” the older boy started.
The man grunted.
“Have you ever been hit by a heating pan?”
A confused expression crossed the man’s face. “Wha’?”
Sacha swung, the pan connecting perfectly. With a dazed eye roll, the man slumped on to the floor. Mariah and Felix stepped over him, the former taking the heating pan from her and looking down the back way.
“We have to leave,” he whispered. “Stay behind me.”
The other two nodded as he descended down the dark staircase.
Below, the kitchen was dark, the noise of a search coming from the sitting room. A muffled thud came from their left, behind the pantry door. Mariah approached, opening it quickly. Mrs. Prewitt was laid on her side, gagged and bound. Sacha gasped, reaching down to help untie her feet. They removed the kerchief from her mouth, indicating she be quiet. The older woman was breathing heavily as she got back onto her feet.
“What happened?” Sacha asked, looking at her with concern.
“I don’t know,” the older woman shook her head, looking close to tears. “They just came from behind and shoved me inside.”
Felix looked at the kitchen door worriedly as Mariah instructed her to get the police. While he helped Mrs. Prewitt quietly escape through the back door, Sacha and Felix were searching for some kind of light and weapon.
“I don’t understand,” Sacha hissed as Mariah came over. “Why do they want that scepter so bad? What does it do?”
Felix looked up, eyes big as he waited for the answer.
“I don’t know,” the older boy replied honestly. “I think”-
Sacha shushed him, holding a finger to her lips. There was no noise coming from the next room. Felix quivered, waiting. They relaxed when they heard the thud of footsteps on the stairs. The second man had gone up then. They straightened and turned.
A gun was held to their faces. Behind the older two Felix cried out as the second man grabbed his shoulder. Mariah stepped forward and pulled his brother towards him, glaring darkly at the two men. The second scowled back, a large lump on the side of his head.
They turned to look at the first man, a smaller, more smoothen-shaved sort. He smiled nastily as he pointed the gun.
“Here’s what we’s gonna do,” he smiled. “You tell us where the scepter is and we don’t hurt your li’l brother and girlfriend. Clear enough?”
Mariah’s throat felt closed up, no words available even if he were to speak. Felix spoke first, blurting out the words.
“It’s in our parents’ room!” He spilled. “We thought no one would look there!”
Sacha looked quickly from Felix to the man.
The first man grinned at Mariah. “Seems your brother is the smart one in the family, ain’t he?”
Whistling, he motioned for the second man to go upstairs. They sat there, waiting nervously for him to come back down and affirm that there was no such package. Mariah had hidden the scepter under the bed in his room. He was sure that they would have no trouble picking off one of the three before they’d gotten the answer.
Just as he was starting to think the other man had left, the stooge appeared, holding a golden rod in his hand. Mariah’s heart sank until he realized that it was not the scepter they had receieved that morning. It was not even a scepter. It was a rod carried by an Egyptian priest, one of the many prized artifacts their parents had kept.
“Found it,” he said, a proud smile on his face.
The first man looked at it, then looked at the three, who tried to look blankly back at him.
“You have your package, now leave,” Mariah demanded.
The thug grinned. “You think I’m some kind of dope? I know what’s what and that ain’t it.”
“Well if the likes of you two keep searching, you’ll never find it,” Sacha stated matter of factly.
Felix glanced at her, with a mixture of pride and shock that she had spoken up. The second man looked stung, but the first simply smiled, pointing his gun at her instead.
“I’ll take care of you jus’ for your smart mouth,” he said. “Unless you’re willing to tell me where that scepter is.”
Sacha recoiled, putting her hand on Felix’s shoulder.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said.
“Righ’. Well, then. Say your last goodbyes, precious,” he returned, squeezing the trigger.
Just then there came a sharp rapping on the front door.
“POLICE! OPEN UP!”
The two men glanced suspiciously at the kids, backing up towards the staff door.
“Keep quiet, ya here?” The man with the gun ordered.
He opened the door and turned to run, only to find himself staring at an official uniform. The goon started to run the other way, but was stopped by the men who had come through the front door. It was over.
Mrs. Prewitt rushed into the kitchen, sobbing tears of relief. As soon as she’d seen they were free of bullet holes, she went to the iron stove and began to toast some bread. Putting the kettle on seemed to be the housekeeper’s answer to everything, Mariah thought, amused. She related her adventures in a hushed tone, like that of an adventuress. She gabbed on and on about her harring escape and the daring plea she made to the bobbies. Mariah noticed several men politely rolling their eyes.
Once they’d taken the criminals away, the police came back to ask a few questions. Sacha and Mariah were seated in chairs in the sitting room, while Felix comforted Rishi, whose screeching had apparently annoyed the neighbor so much that he’d called in.
“No, we don’t know who they are,” Mariah answered for the third time.
“Can you think of any reason as to why they’d attack you?” The lietuenant asked, jotting notes down.
The three had already agreed that they were not going to give away the reason. If pressed they would assert that they had assumed them to be common thieves.
“And you, miss, did any of these men have a connection to you?”
Sacha shook her head. “I told you before. I don’t know why they came.”
As the questioning continued, Felix fed Rishi some left over scones from the afternoon’s tea. The tiny monkey dove to the floor for the remaining crumbs, then scampered off towards something white on the floor at the doorway. The boy followed, watching his pet excitedly pick up what appeared to be paper. He unfolded the letter, reading quickly.
The older boy stood, concerned. “Felix?”
“Look at this,” his brother enticed, holding it out eagerly.
Sacha stood first, taking the letter from his hand and scanning it. Her eyes widened slightly as as she read.
“You’d better see this,” she agreed.
He stepped over, the officer watching with curiosity as the young man took the scrap of paper. On one side was a name, or part of it at least:
He stared at the slashing tail of the G, so severe and dark. Turning the paper over he saw part of a letter, but only the left side of the first paragraph. It mentioned a scepter and then, two lines down, a name. Or rather, the name of two very distinguished people no longer of “worry to them.”