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The Wardrobe

Page 5

Alison Knight

The winter days grew shorter. Christmas came and went, as cheerless as any other day. It was New Year’s Eve. Snow smothered the ground. Frost glazed the window panes with jagged, violent patterns. He huddled under the bedclothes, his toes already blocks of ice. Then he heard the tapping. Just one tap at first. Maybe it was the wind blowing a branch against the pane. Then again. Tap…tap, tap. He buried his head in the pillow. Still it came. Regular now. Insistent. Inescapable. Tap…tap, tap. Tap…tap, tap. ‘Good Lord, deliver me!’ Tap…tap, tap. He cried out in fear but he knew no one would come to comfort him. Tap…tap, tap. And then he heard a click. And the wardrobe door edged open. Inch by quiet inch. And there was a face in the mirror. Not his own small white face but a face with golden hair and eyes that glittered.

‘Michael,’ it called. ‘Michael.’

He sat up and crept out of bed.

‘Michael. Michael.’

He walked towards the voice. He walked towards the wardrobe. And the delicate fragrance of lavender.

‘Michael.’

He curled up inside the wardrobe and breathed in the musty smell of old leather and felt the gentle caress of satin and old lace. And when the furry softness of his mother’s fur coat slid from its hanger, he simply surrendered to its smothering warmth.

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