Christopher knew that he shouldn’t go against his mother’s wishes, but he just couldn’t help himself. He had to, and he needed supplies. He walked into the kitchens, warm with the preparations of supper. He knew there would be scones somewhere, there always were.
“O! What ye doin’ in ‘ere, ‘ittle lad!” The cook exclaimed. The cook had a soft spot for the little lad, only 8, with his golden curls and bright blue eyes. She always gave him some scones. Christopher just grinned slyly for a few moments before the cook wiped her hands on her dirty apron and walked to a table to grab three scones. “’Ere, now be off with ye!” She exclaimed heartily, giving his bottom a little slap.
He scampered off, wrapping them carefully in linen and just barely shoved them into the pocket of his trousers when he ran into Mother. “Christopher, what were you doing in the kitchens?” She narrowed her eyes at him, sensing mischief.
“Nothing Mum, just asking after supper,” he fibbed, beaming up at her. No one could resist.
“Okay, little one. Make sure you complete your studies,” she smiled, smoothing her full emerald shaded skirts. “Freshen up for supper,” she called after him after he ran up the stairs. She only shook her head at his endearing childishness.
Christopher got to the top of the stairs and glanced around him, making sure no one was watching. Breathless with excitement, he ran down the hallway. Once again, he looked around, and turned left down the corridor he wasn’t allowed. His heart pounding in his ears, he slowed to a walk. This area of the estate was not well kempt, dark and filled with cobwebs. He took a candle and lit it, with only the small flame lighting his way. The walls were paneled with dark mahogany wood, and long-forgotten portraits of angry looking men lined the halls. Christopher started to feel a little spooked, but puffed out his chest and kept walking on.
He got to the end of the hall and stood before the door. The glass handle stared at him. The door begged to be opened. He looked behind him, and seeing no one, turned the handle. The door resisted at first, but opened, the creaking deafening in his ears. Part of the excitement was the chance of getting caught. He lifted his candle to see stairs in front of him. He walked slowly up them, the flickering flame throwing off little light. The steps groaned beneath his feet. When Christopher finally reached the top there was another door. He opened it and, he stopped in awe at what he saw. Toys! They were dusty and dirty, but there were tons of them!
The dusty windows let in some light so he blew out his candle. He wandered around, touching various toys. A ball, porcelain dolls, a wooden train, a wooden sword. He reached the window and wanted to see what was happening in the gardens below. He knew they were preparing for some kind of big feast for that evening. He was to eat his supper early and retire to his rooms. He couldn’t see, but there was a white chair a foot away. If only he could drag it over, he would be able to peer out the window.
Christopher grabbed its arms and pulled, but nothing happened. He dug his little feet in and grunted, but the chair still wouldn’t move. He pulled again, as hard as he could, but lost his grip and fell backwards onto his rump. He stood and stomped his foot in frustration, crossing his arms over his chest. But, the chair was just at the window; maybe he could stand on it and lean to see outside.
He got up on the white chair, and stood on the very edge, placing his hands on the windowsill. He leaned his whole body, but he could barely peer over the edge. He could only see the roof of the stables and the blue sky. Dejected, he hopped off the chair and sat down, placing his fist under his chin, resting his elbow on his knee. He supposed he had to go outside to see what they were doing. He perked up, intent on a new adventure.
Before Christopher could stand up, the room started spinning, faster and faster. He gripped the arms of the chair, scared and dizzy. Everything became a blur, and then there was blackness.
When he opened his eyes, he saw that it was still daylight. Christopher scoffed at himself, wondering how and why he could have fallen asleep up here. Excited to see what was going on outside, he skittered out the door and down the stairs, and reaching the hallway, saw something very curious. There were no longer any portraits of angry men on the walls, and there were scone shaped things emitting light in the hallway. He wondered if someone were playing a trick on him. He couldn’t have been gone that long! And he was sure no one had followed him or known where he was!
He ran down the hallway and stopped when he saw a man he had never seen before. Christopher gasped, looking up at the tall, livery man. “What, may I ask, are you doing in here, little urchin?”
“I..I live here,” Christopher stammered.
“I do not think so,” the man stated, reaching for the boy. Christopher ran back the way he had come, breathless with fear. What was this? He got to the door and opened it, closing it behind him. He ran up the stairs and sopped. His little chest heaved, and he didn’t see any of the toys. The room was completely empty, except for the white chair near the window. What had happened to all the toys! His tummy rumbled, and he thought this was a good time for a snack. Taking the linen out of his pocket, he unwrapped it to reveal three still warm scones. He was so confused, he wasn’t sure what was going on. Grabbing one, he wolfed it down in a few bites. He wrapped the two left back up and shoved them into his pocket once again.
He knew he wouldn’t be able to see outside, so he just sat in the chair again, and kicked his feet a few times. The door opened to the room just as the room started spinning again. Christopher thought he was going to be sick with the scone he had just eaten. He fainted again.
This time when he awoke, it was dark. Frightened now, he just sat there. After a few minutes, he heard screaming. He jumped up, not knowing what to do. A flash of light came from outside, blinding him. There was more screaming and shouting. There was a light now, shining in, but it flickered, as if from fire. As he thought it, he could smell fire. He looked around the room, and saw that there were all kinds of fine furniture and china stacked up around him. He heard footsteps rushing up the stairs. He scampered to hide under one of the tables.
The door burst open and he heard scuffling footsteps.
“Oh, Charles, please. Let us hurry!” The woman exclaimed, fear in her voice. “The manor is on fire!”
“Hush Victoria, I know. We must be strong,” the man whispered fiercely. “I know Wesley hid the jewels in here months ago when we found out Germany was invading. I wish he had told me where!”
“Oh!” The woman sobbed. “I miss my poor brother!”
“I know,” the man consoled, rummaging through drawers of desks. “I found them!”
Christopher heard what must have been the clanking of jewels in a bag. “Oh thank god!” The woman exclaimed. “Let us leave this place of death!” The two ran out the door, not even bothering to close it behind them as they ran down the stairs. Christopher was very frightened. The house was on fire? What was he going to do? He was afraid of the chair, but he went to it anyway. He studied it in the light of the fire blazing outside the window. It looked harmless enough, for it was only a simple white chair.
He heard feet running up the stairs, and he was too far away to dive under the table that had been his hiding place. Just as the feet reached the top, Christopher sat down in the chair. The room started spinning very fast, until everything was just a blur of fire and blackness.
This time when Christopher opened his eyes, it was daylight. Wearily, he stood from the chair. It looked like the same furniture was here, but it was all destroyed. Broken legs of chairs and fainting couches lay all around him. Broken glass from the china lay scattered on the floor. What had happened? Slowly, he crept down the stairs, and down the hallway. Everything was dirty and dusty, as though it hadn’t been cleaned in a very long time. He went down to the kitchens, and he didn’t see anyone. The kitchens looked different, and Christopher was very puzzled.
He walked outside and stopped. The stables were no longer there, a pile of burnt rubble. Part of the manor was burned, with only the brick standing. He heard the crunching of feet on gravel and scrambled to hide behind a large oak tree.
“If I must say, it will take quite a bit of capital to rebuild this estate,” a man with a deep voice intoned.
“Yes, but well worth the effort,” another man answered.
“Well, I think it’s simply divine,” a woman said, clapping her hands.
“Haha now, my lovely young wife loves the place!” The first man said excitedly.
Christopher heard them coming closer. He stood still as they passed, and was about to go around the tree when the woman turned around and saw him. “Oh!” She exclaimed.
The two men turned around. One of them was tall and thin, the other short and portly. All three of them were dressed curiously, with the two men wearing strange looking suits and the woman wearing a short pink skirt that ended at her knees and some sort of top with an odd little hat perched at an angle upon her head.
“I do say! Where on Earth did you come from, young man?” The portly man asked.
The woman came closer, her auburn hair shining in the sun. Her kind blue eyes met his. “Where are your parents?” She asked softly.
“I..I don’t know,” Christopher said softly. He wished he did know. A tear escaped from his eye, followed by another, until soon he was sobbing.
“Oh!” The lady exclaimed again, taking him in her arms. “Oh, Stewart, we simply must adopt him!”
The taller man looked adoringly at the woman holding the small child. “If we can’t find his parents, of course we can,” the man said, going to his wife, holding his arms around the two of them.