I asked for suggestiona about what may be inside the boxes from my The House of Mysteries post. Some of you truly rose to the challenge with your answers. I hope you enjoy how I incorporated your answers. Thanks for the challenge. I never quite know what to expect when I ask for suggestions but I have learned to not underestimate the creativity some of you have. Enjoy the story!
A few weeks had passed since Aria went into the storage room. She yearned to go back in. Maybe open some of the boxes in there. Her Dad always called her “Nancy Drew” for a reason. Once her curiosity was sparked, she couldn’t stop it.
There had to be more to learn. Mrs Harrington must have a reason for locking the room. Would she ever unlock it again?
The bell rang and Aria walked at a brisk pace to Mrs Harrington’s room.
Aria walked in and Mrs Harrington was sitting at her desk. Sunlight was streaming in through the windows and she was smiling.
“Good Morning! A beautiful morning, isn’t it. My sister is coming to take me out for the day. We are going to the Museum of Art and we might catch a Broadway musical. Will be gone most of the day.
“How wonderful to have a day with your sister. She is such a pleasant lady. “
Mrs Harrington sighed, “Yes, Julia is a charmer. People love her. I on the other hand, am a bore.”
Aria started to object, but Mrs Harrington interrupted her. “Its okay, you know I am right. Don’t try to defend me. I was never the outgoing one, though there was a time when I was more carefree and happy. A time long ago.”
A wistful look flickered actoss her face and there was silence for a moment before she spoke again. “But we can’t go back to yesterday can we. So, on to other things. While I am gone can you please move my winter wardrobe into my dresser and closet. The cold is coming.”
“Thank you Aria, I may not be good around people but I like you. I hope you are planning to stay with me long term?” She looked at Aria with raised eyebrows, waiting for her answer.
Aria felt immense relief, she hadn’t been able to tell before quite where she stood with her employer. “I will be most happy to stay with you long term. Thank you! It is a pleasure to work for you.”
Mrs Harrington smiled, “Good, then its settled. You will get a raise next week. Now please grab my handbag my sister will soon be here and she hates to be kept waiting.”
The doorbell rang. “Told you!”
Aria grabbed her handbag and within five minutes Mrs Harrington was out the door and the house was quiet.
It had taken ber quite awhile to move Mrs Harrington’s wardrobe around but she was finally almost finished. She had her one drawer open pulling out of it a couple more tops. Something dropped on the floor, making a clinking sound.
Aria looked down and saw a little silver key. Her heart skipped. Could it be the key to the storage room? Dare she try it? Mrs Harrington was going to be gone for the day, what better time!
Quickly sbe finished up what she was doing and then with nervous excitement she tried the key in the door and it opened!
Aria was shocked as she looked around. Mrs Harrington had done some cleaning. The piano had been dusted off and the rocker. Plus the room was warm. She must have been spending time in here. Was it at night while Aria slept?
Her eyes fell on a box that was open. Aria bent down to look and pulled out several sheets of music. At first she assumed it was organ music but then she looked closer. It was music for the saxophone. That was strange. Was there a saxophone in the room?
As she started going through the stack of music she found organ music as well. She recognized the names of several pieces of music. They were songs from popular Broadway musicals.
There was another box right beside the one with the music. Opening it up she found an assortment of playbills for Broadway musicals. Mrs Harrington must have been a huge fan, there were so many of them.
Aria didn’t look through many of them for that didn’t solve any mystery. Collecting playbills of musicals wasn’t anything real big.
Ahh! Now that may be a box she needs to check out. Aria saw the bold writing on the top of the box with black permanent marker. “Keep out!”
Her conscience pricked her. What was she doing? These boxes were Mrs Harrington’s, she didn’t have a right to go through them. But yet … she couldn’t stop.
If it was something really personal, like letters in the box she wouldn’t read them. She only would open the box to see.
Aria screamed when she opened the box. There were jars of liquid with floating … Oh, she ran out of the room. She was going to be sick.
The tea kettle whistled. Aria made some peppermint tea to calm her stomach. Dare she go through any other boxes?? After drinking the tea she made her way back upstairs. Yes, she would continue going through the boxes unless they said “Keep Out!” She did not want to know if there were any more jars of floating eyeballs!
Aria looked through a couple more but didn’t find anything of interest. She decided to stop for now and take a break.
Walking by the other boxes she noticed one of the playbills was on the floor. She must have dropped one. Picking it up she looked at the title. “The Music Man” Her parent’s liked that musical.
Words on the playbill caught her eye. Aria covered her mouth. No way! Mrs Harrington played for Broadway! She was not only an organist but a well accomplished one!
Aria sat down and looked more intently at the playbills. There were so many. From long ago to recent times. The last one was five years ago. This time not only was she listed as an organist but there was a Randall Harrigan listed as the sax player.
Randall? That was her son! Aria saw photos of him and while Mrs Harrington didn’t say much about him, she did tell Aria that she had a son that had sadly passed away a few years ago.
Aria paused in thought. It was coming together now. The organ probably brought back memories of when her and Randall both played on Broadway.
Sympathy welled up in Aria’s heart for Mrs Harrington. She could understand it being hard for her to go into the room. That part made sense but oooh why the jars of floating eyeballs!
Seeing them made her think of her neighbor Mason, when she was young. He never had jars of floating eyeballs but he had posters of aliens, who were freaky looking. He was always doing science experiments in his garage. Aria never forgot the day a rocket went through the roof of the garage. That was exciting!
She didn’t want to dwell on the eyeballs so she thought she would open one more box. There were letters tied together with a ribbon. In the return address it said Corporal Harrington. Mr Harrington? Yes, he had been in the army.
Downstairs in the front room was their wedding photo on the wall. Enlarged into a beautiful portrait. Mr Harrington looked quite sharp in his uniform.
Poor Mrs Harrington had been through so much. She not only lost her son but also her husband.
A room of sentimental memories. Aria carefully closed the box, leaving the letters undisturbed.
She walked out of the room and locked the door. Perhaps the longer she worked for Mrs Harrington the more she would confide in Aria. She would love to hear about her time on Broadway, but that was Mrs Harrington’s story to tell when she was ready.
Later in the day Mrs Harrington and Julia came back. Their voices startled Aria, who had dozed off on the couch.
Was that laughtet she heard? Mrs Harrington was laughing. Oh, being with her sister was good for her, thought Aria.
“Sounds like you ladies had a fun time. ”
Mrs Harrington was bright eyed. “We most certainly did! Julia was reminding me of fond memories of Randall. He could be such a tease. There was this one time when … Wait here. I will be right back.”
She went upstairs and it wasn’t long at all before she was back down.
Holding something behind her back her eyes glinted with mischief. Aria had not seen this side of her before.
“BOO!” She held the jar of eyeballs in front of Aria who bit back a scream. Then Aria’s eyes were like saucers as she watched Mrs Harrington pull an eyeball out of the jar.
Mrs Harrington laughed and Julia chided her. “You are scaring the poor girl!”
“Look closely Aria.” Not everything is how it appears to be.”
Aria made a face but looked closer and then blushed with embarrassment. They weren’t real eyeballs they had been carefully constructed to look real.
“My son thought he would play a joke on me. He knew I was a terribly curious person so one day he put a box in his room that said “Keep Out!” on it.
Knowing that I was headed to his room to gather laundry he purposely put the clothes on top of the box and hid in his closet. I came up, grabbed his clothes and saw the box. I thought I would take a small peek. I screamed and out he came, bent over with laughter.’
Aria laughed feeling much relief to find out that they weren’t real.
Oh, what a day. Aria had a feeling that life with Mrs Harrington would be anything but boring.
Some suggestions didn’t fit into this story but stay tuned you may see them in another one.