Millie's Monster: Part Two
It was bright and early, when Millie got up. Her parents were still asleep in the room down the hall, her nanny hadn’t arrived yet either. Millie stopped and looked at the grandfather clock that sat in the upstairs living area. It was quarter to seven in the morning. Millie crept down stairs and snuck into the kitchen for a bite of cereal, being extremely careful not to make a lot of noise as she dug through the cupboards for the box.
The second drawing room on the main floor was at the back of the east side of the manor. Munching her cereal, she continued to read her Gerty’s journal. The switch to open the passage was hidden in a spot in the fireplace’s mantle. She finished her cereal and cleaned up any evidence that she had been in the kitchen, and quietly made for the back of the house. There were a lot of paintings lining the walls. One in particular caught her attention.
The decorative wooden frame held a picture of a Lutari. It was an old black and white portrait, that gave the lady a spooky look, the inscription on the frame read; Gertrude Ava McCracken. This must be great aunt Gerty! Millie liked this portrait. Beside her hung a picture of her father, Great-grandpa McCracken. He was a stoic looking Tonu with a grumpy face. She continued to carefully inspect the portraits on her way to the drawing room, Gerty’s journal had mentioned a person named Lorn. Millie however did not see any portraits of him, however.
Arriving at her destination, she opened the wide double doors. The furniture was dusty, and covered with sheets. Stifling a sneeze, Millie made her way to the fireplace. It hadn’t been used in many years. Inspecting the Mantle closely, she saw a small lever and pulled it. There was a small rumbling and the fireplace slide aside with a long, heavy swish sound. Looking around, to make sure no one else was around, she took a step into the secret passage. Reaching into the backpack she had brought with her that held the diary, she took out her virtupets flashlight. The passage was dusty and full of cobwebs. Millie kept getting the sticky webs stuck in her hair as she traveled along the spooky path. She hoped it wasn’t a long path.
* * *
The secret part of the garden was stunning. It had rose bushes, and a large tree with a love-seat swing. There was a fountain off to the right side and a fancy looking glass table and chairs a little further to the back. Someone had been taking care of this place. Who else knew about the passage? The passage in the drawing room had closed, when Millie pulled the lever to open the one exiting into the garden. It was designed as a forethought in-case the house had ever been broken into. Strolling around the garden, she noticed a door hidden in the hedges. There was indeed a way of escaping the secret garden. It was locked though, and she didn’t have the key to the door. She decided to head back, she entered the passage and pulled the lever again to close that door and reopen the passage in the drawing room.
* * *
“Amelia, Mildred Hawthorne!” Her mother scolded, “Where on Neopia have you been? You’re covered in dust and cobwebs!”
Her mother looked crossly at her. Millie explained that she had been curious and went into the second drawing room to look around. Her mother shook her head, and looked angry.
“Go clean yourself up,” She said sternly, “Mim will be here shortly. What would she say if she saw you so messy?”
This was a thought Millie loved. Her grandma loved to explore just as much as she did. Mim was the best grandma ever. Millie did as she was told and went to her room to change and brush the cobwebs out of her hair. She came back downstairs to see Mim just arriving. The elderly Ixi had a bag on one arm and her cane hooked around the other. She eagerly ran up and hugged her Mim.
“Hello, Millie dear!” Mim said happily, setting the bag and her cane down. “What have you been up to this morning?”
“Let’s go have some tea in the kitchen,” Millie said, she didn’t want her mom knowing about the garden yet, “I’ll show you something special!”
Mim had the nanny make a pot of tea for her and Millie, and then excused her from the room. Millie then pulled out Gerty’s old journal and explained her early morning exploration of the drawing room and garden. Mim looked it over, and seemed intrigued. She had only met Gertrude a few times. Gertrude was from Millie’s mother’s side of the family. Examining the page mentioning Lorn, she asked Millie if there had been any portraits in the house of him. Millie shook her head, she had examined every frame carefully. No one named Lorn hung on their walls.
“We’ll solve the mystery,” Mim assured Millie, “We’ll solve it or my name isn’t Martha, Pearl Hawthorne!”
Mim got up and reached for her cane. She asked Millie to run along to the second drawing room and wait there for her. They were going to uncover the furniture and look for clues. When Mim had arrived at the second drawing room, Millie had opened the windows. A fresh breeze was drifting in, this would make getting rid of the dust a bit easier. The maid and the nanny followed Mim in and helped uncover the furniture and dusted what needed to be dusted. When they were finished, they were excused while Mim and Millie looked around the book shelves.
Millie was looking at a rather ancient encyclopedia, when Mim called her over to the far right of the room. Mim had found a small, secret room behind a book case. It was big enough to be a closet. Inside were a bunch of dusty boxes, they were full of old books. After searching through the boxes and finding nothing important in their search, Mim asked to see the secret garden. Making sure no one was around, Millie pulled the hidden lever and they disappeared down the passage.
* * *
“This is a nice garden,” Mim gasped, “What magnificent roses!”
Mim loved flowers, her own garden was full of roses. Millie’s favourite ones were the bright pink roses, Mim took extra special care of. She wandered around the garden, poking at random rocks and certain flowers with her cane. Millie called her attention to the mysterious door. It was still locked. Mim was even more curious too, the elderly Ixi jabbed at the door with her cane. Nothing happened. Perhaps Mim thought someone would have answered from the other side. They went back to the drawing room, and sat down in one of the chairs they had uncovered and discussed the mysterious door. An eerie moaning sound came from somewhere in the house, Millie would find the source of the frightening noise. She had determined that it may be a ghost. Ghosts were hard to find, and can fly around the house invisibly.
They spent the rest of the afternoon going through all the books they had found, trying to find a hint of who Lorn might be, and where the secret door in the garden might lead to. Before they knew it, dinner was ready, followed by bedtime. Millie however couldn’t sleep, and was up again reading more of the diary. Gerty had mentioned Lorn had been a dear friend of hers, He’d been there for a very long time before they’d built the house. Millie was sure that Lorn was a ghost now, there weren’t any neighboring houses around. The closest neighbor oddly enough was Eliv’s haunted castle, and Millie didn’t want to go anywhere near that place.
Hiding the diary away, she curled up in bed with her favourite Cybunny plushie and closed her eyes. That’s when she heard a door creak somewhere in the garden outside her window. She wondered if it was the secret door. Curiosity got the better of her. Gathering up her flashlight and her plushie she snuck down stairs into the dark house. She crept into the drawing room and opened the passage way. She hoped nothing scary was in the garden. She was sure she’d scream and wake the entire house if she saw a Meepit.
* * *
The garden was empty. The door was still locked tight, and nothing spooky was around. Looking around, she noticed a key lying on the ground. So, it was the secret door she had heard! She snatched up the key and tried fitting it into the door’s lock. It fit, and with a click it unlocked. She locked it quickly, exploring the woods at night was a bad idea. With the key in hand she gathered up her light and plushie and quietly crept back to her the passage. She had to get back to bed before she was discovered.
“Too bad Mim had to go home,” Millie sighed to herself as she was sneaking through the house. “I don’t think I can get Alexis to take me through the door.”
Her nanny wasn’t the adventuring type. Alexis preferred quiet activities like puzzles, and afternoon tea time. She snuck back up the stairs, being careful not to make them creak under her feet. She thought herself to be the sneakiest Gelert in the world. Climbing back into bed, she listened carefully for more noises and before she knew it, she was fast asleep.
* * *
It was another early morning for Millie, as she ran down the stairs. Her parents had woken up before her today, but that was fine. She had already told the nanny she was going to go play outside for a while. Surely investigating the door in the garden was playing outside, in an ironic sense. She made her way as quickly as she could to the door. She had the key in her pocket, and Gerty’s diary in her backpack.
She unlocked the big door with a click and pushed it open. It was a heavy door! The other side was covered in brush and fallen leaves. Millie recognized this place. It was the other part or the back garden on the other side of the graveyard. There was a narrow path leading into a shallow wooded area. She followed the path quietly, keeping her eyes peeled for Meepits. She wondered if Hannah the brave was afraid of anything. She followed the bath until she came upon an old house with a porch. On the porch was a rocking chair and a bunch of roses in an urn. It was a spooky looking place.
“Who lives here?” Millie wondered aloud.
She walked up to the house and was greeted by huffing noise. She turned to see the frightening features of a Zombie Mauket glaring at her. The undead petpet cautiously came near her. Zombies were almost as scary as Meepits! She silently scorned her curiosity and the trouble she’d just gotten into. The zombie came closet and looked up at her, it seemed like it was friendly. The door behind her opened, revealing the owner of the house. Another Zombie! Millie screamed and tripped over the Mauket dropping her backpack and the key. The key caught the Zombie’s attention immediately.
“Thank yoooou,” it groaned as it picked the key up. “I lost this last niiiiight, while tending the gaaaarden.”
“You were in the garden?” Millie asked the Zombie Ixi, “Are you Lorn by any chance?”
The zombie nodded. The monster Gerty had described in the first pages of her diary had mentioned something scary, but then it had begun mentioning Lorn. Millie had never thought that Lorn would have been her imaginary monster!
“Who are you?” Lorn asked.
“I’m Millie,” She answered, “I’m Gerty’s great neice.”
The Zombie smiled, and told her he had met Gerty the exact same way he had just met her. Gerty had then hired him to be the gardener, that way the zombie didn’t have to be so alone anymore. His favourite thing had always been afternoon tea with Gerty. She had often loved hearing tales of past. He had been an explorer at one point, back when Hannah the brave was but a small child. Getting the idea into her head, Millie had asked him if he’d still like to tend the garden, now that she lived there. She was too young to tend the garden by herself and it was so big!
“Let’s go back to the garden for some tea!” Millie told her new friend, “Mim would love to meet you!
Millie was happy, she had made a new friend. She had also discovered that the monster she thought was haunting the house, wasn’t really a monster after all. She knew Mim would love to meet Lorn after reading so much about him in the diary. Lorn could also be helpful, maybe he knew the other secret passages in the house. Millie would be sure to ask him over tea and biscuits!
Together they’d uncover all the secrets!