The Not So Secret Attic
Misha and Ollie stood beside their Aunt Zoya in front of her summer cottage. They waved goodbye to their mom and dad as they backed out of the driveway.
“Bye, kids! Have fun. We’ll see you in a week,” said their mom. “Listen to your Aunt Zoya and do whatever she says.”
The kids watched as the car drove up the gravel road and disappeared. They looked up at their aunt.
“I’m so glad you two could finally visit me at my cottage!” she said, smiling. “I think you’ll have lots of fun here.”
They followed her inside. It was a big, old place, with creaking floors and the smell of pine in the air, but it was clean…very clean. It was like a museum—packed with so many interesting trinkets on every shelf and every corner, yet there was not a speck of dust, not a thread of spider web, and not a spot of grime to be found.
“Why don’t you two explore a bit and I’ll go fix us some snacks?” Aunt Zoya said.
She went to the kitchen leaving Misha and Ollie in the hallway.
A few minutes later, Aunt Zoya came back and found the two kids sitting on her sofa like statues. She placed a tray full of cookies and juice on the table and asked, “Did you two look around?”
Misha nodded. “Yes, we went upstairs.”
Aunt Zoya looked a little disappointed. “And you didn’t find anything fun to do? You’re sitting there so quietly.”
Ollie looked at his sister then said to his aunt, “Mom and Dad told us to behave.”
“We’re supposed to ask for permission before we do anything,” added Misha.
“Well, that is indeed good advice,” Aunt Zoya chuckled. “So I’ll tell you what, you have my permission.”
The kids frowned. “Permission to do what?” asked Ollie.
“Permission to do whatever and go wherever in this cottage,” their aunt replied.
“Anywhere?” asked Misha.
Aunt Zoya nodded. “Anywhere.”
The kids whispered to each other.
“Even…?” Ollie started to ask.
“Yes?” Aunt Zoya said with a curly smile on her lips.
Misha pointed upstairs. “There’s a door up there that has a sign on it that reads ‘The Secret Attic.’ Can we go in there?”
Aunt Zoya winked. “Oh, especially in there.”
Ollie frowned. “Then why would it be called the secret attic?”
“Because secrets are the best things when you reveal them,” their aunt said.
The kids looked confused, but she could tell they were really very curious.
Aunt Zoya sat down and took a cookie from the tray. As she chewed, she gestured towards the stairs. “Go on, then,” she giggled.
Misha and Ollie hesitated, but then they slipped off the sofa and slowly headed upstairs…