CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and THIRTY-FIVE
“What?” Jacob asked.
“What is this place?” Tanesha asked.
“Good question,” Jacob said.
“But you have built out much of what we live in now,” Abi said as a statement.
“Right,” Jacob said. “I made the loft out of the top of Dad and Honey’s rooms and the original house. Abi’s apartment was just open space. The second floor apartments were rented out when mom bought the building. We had a heck of a time getting everyone out.”
“I bet,” Tanesha said.
“Let’s take a look at the ballroom,” Jacob said. He sighed, “Tomorrow is going to be a crappy day. I need to get some rest before dealing with everything.”
“Got it,” Jeraine said. “Where do we go?”
“Take the hallway all the way to the end,” Jacob said. “There’s a stairwell.”
Jeraine reached the end of the hallway.
“There’s a light switch on your left,” Jacob said.
Tanesha and Abi reached the end of the hallway.
“I remember this,” Tanesha said. “This is a long stairwell. The door’s under the stairs down from the second floor. There was something here — a table with flowers on it. I didn’t even notice the hallway”
“I don’t think anyone did,” Jacob said. “We could have come this way, but you’ve been asking about the building. I think it’s cool that there’s all of this uncharted space.”
“It is cool,” Abi said with a nod.
“And more than a little creepy,” Tanesha said.
“Right,” Jacob said. “Let’s head down to the ballroom.”
They continued down the stairs until they reached a door. Jeraine tried to turn the door handle.
“Just push,” Jacob said.
Jeraine pushed the door open and went into the space. Tanesha stopped at the door as she passed.
“This wasn’t here,” Tanesha said.
“The door at the top is locked,” Jacob said. “We don’t really need a door here. I just put the door here because I had an extra door and it fits.”
“Makes sense,” Tanesha said.
Tanesha and Abi past Jacob on the stairwell and went into the ballroom. Jacob followed them inside. The room was partially lit by the waning moon shining through the windows high on the wall. Jeraine was standing in the middle of the room. Jacob opened a panel in the wall and turned on the lights.
“Whoa,” Jeraine said. He turned in place. “Whoa.”
The space was cavernously big. The ballroom’s gleaming pale wood floors reflected the light of the brilliant crystal chandelier overhead. The walls were wallpapered a pale pink. The ceiling was split into square panels with gold leaf on the seams. Inside the panels were painted cherubs and angels.
As if intimidated by the space itself, they stood close to each other.
Jacob walked across the floor to the end.
“Can you help me here?” Jacob asked.
Tanesha and Jeraine jogged to his side.
“These are panels,” Jacob said. “They are very old so we have to be super careful.”
“What happens with them?” Tanesha asked.
“They fold on hinges,” Jacob said. He touched what she’d taken for a line in the wall and pointed to the end. “These were made when the room was made. They go into that cabinet. It closes behind them. When they are folded up, you’d never know that they were here. When they’re out like this, you’d never know that there’s a stage behind them. It’s very clever.”
Tanesha gave Jacob a worried nod.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow...
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