THEODOSIA IS REVEALED to MUM, DAD, GRANDMA and WEEMS
You might think that I stopped writing my stories. That's true, because I didn't have enough time for them. BUT now it's Spring Break! I do have time for them! But first I'll do this. I didn't know that there was a Theodosia section! I just HAD to do this. I've been thinking about it for a long time. I might be a little OOC with the people reading, but just a little, and only because they seem to be minor characters. Wait till Grandma hears about her description!
Theodosia's mother was having jam sandwiches with Theodosia's father when Vicary Weems, the First Assistant Curator, came in, along with a very irritated Grandmother. "Um... well, hello, mother-in-law," gulped Dad (I'll call him dad and Grandmother Grandmother and Theodosia's mum Mum). "What is the meaning of this?" Grandma snapped.
"I was just wondering that same thing," agreed Mum.
"I have found a book," announced Weems. The crowd fell silent, amazed that Weems would interrupt a lunch for a book. Except Grandmother.
"THAT'S what you came here to tell us? What you dragged me here to see?" she exclaimed, outraged.
"It says Theodosia on the front cover."
Now everybody was quiet.
"Who's it by?" Dad asked suspiciously.
"I don't know the gender, but it's supposedly by R. L. LaFevers," replied Weems.
"Well, should we read it?" asked Grandmother.
"It's about my daughter, your granddaugher, I think we should read it," responded Mum.
"Well, get on with it!" snapped Grandmother.
"Weems, begin," ordered Dad. Weems opened to the first page.
To clever girls everywhere who get tired of feeling like no one's listening.
"Hmm... do you think that's how Theodosia feels?" pondered Mum.
And to Kate O'Sullivan, who is very, very clever and not the least bit bossy.
"Who's that?" wondered Grandmother.
"We don't know, mother," sighed Dad.
I don't trust Clive Fagenbush.
"And frankly, neither do I," agreed Weems.
How can you trust a person who has eyebrows as thick and black as hairbrushes and smells of boiled cabbage and pickled onions?
"That isn't EXACTLY how I was going to put it..." muttered Weems.
Besides, I'm beginning to suspect he's up to something.
"You hit the nail on the head, young lady!" scowled Weems.
What's worse, I think he suspects I'm up to something.
"Which you usually are," snapped Grandmother.
"Mother, you're talking to a book," Mum reminded her.
"Nonsense!" scolded Grandmother. "I have more sense than that."
"Proceed, Weems," sighed Dad.
Which I usually am.
Not that anybody would take the word of an eleven-year-old girl against that of the Second Assistant Curator.
"Naturally," said Grandmother.
Even if that girl just happens to be the daughter of the Head Curator of the museum and is rather cleverer than most (or so I've been told; oddly, I don't think they meant it as a compliment).
"Why is that odd?" wondered Grandmother.
As far as I can tell, it doesn't make any difference to adults how clever children are.
"Now Theodosia, that's not true," protested Mum, but she knew that it was.
They always stick together. Unless you are sick or dying or mortally wounded, they will always side with the other adult.
That's certainly the case here, anyway. My father oversees the Museum of Legends and Antiquities, the second largest museum in London. As a result, I spend most of my time clattering around this old place.
"The horrors! What bad influences on the child," exclaimed Grandmother, and scowled at Dad. Dad sunk lower in his chair.
I don't mind. Really. Well, not much anyway. Though it would be nice if Father remembered I was here once in a while...
"Have you been ignoring our daughter?" exclaimed a shocked Mum. Dad was nearly on the floor, he was so low in his chair.
However, I've got plenty to do. The museum's got loaded of secrets, and I've discovered I'm very good a t ferreting out the secrets.
"A bad sign if you're a child," sighed Grandmother.
"WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN TALKING TO THE CHILD ABOUT?" screamed Grandmother.
"N-nothing," stammered Dad.
You'd be surprised at how many things come into the museum loaded with curses, bad ones. Ancient, dark, Egyptian-magic ones.
"WHAT HAVE YOU TAUGHT THIS CHILD?" shouted Grandmother.
"We never taught her such things," replied a shocked Mum. "I don't know where they came from..."
Take this morning, for example, when a crate arrived from Mum.
"Oh, dear. This must be about that time when you discovered and lost the Heart of Egypt," grumbled Dad.
"I didn't lose it; it was stolen, dear," protested Mum.
At the sound of the buzzer, I hurried down to Receiving. Dolge and Sweeny, the museum's two hired hands, were just opening the doors to the loading area. Yellow fog began oozing into the room like a runny pudding.
"What a horrid description!" exclaimed Grandmother.
Outside, I could make out the drayman, blowing on his fingers and stamping his feet, trying to stay warm as he waited next to his cart. His carriage lanterns were lit and looked like two fuzy halos in the thick fog. Sweeny hopped off the dock and together they lifted a carte from the back of the cart and carried it inside. As they made their way past me, I craned forward to read the label. It was from Thebes! Which meant it had to be from Mum. Her first shipment from the Valley of the Kinds! The first of many, most likely.
"Yes, there were many," agreed Dad.
Once they'd placed the crate on an empty worktable, the drayman tipped his cap and hurried back to his cart, anxious to be on his way.
"I wonder why," Weems said, sarcastically.
Dolge closed the door behind him with a resounding clang.
By this time, the curators had arrived, and we all gathered round to watch Father open the crate. As I inched closer, I saw that, once again, he wasn't wearing any gloves. My own gloved fingers twitched in dismay.
"Why would gloves make any difference?" wondered Dad.
He paused, his hands hovering over the crate. "Yes, Theodosia?"
"Aren't you afraid you'll get splinters?" Everyone turned to stare at me oddly.
"Nonsense," he said.
Of course, I didn't give a fig about splinters. They were the lesast of my worries. But I didn't dare tell him that.
"I always wondered what that was all about," commented Dad.
With everyone's attention once again focused on the crate, I shuffled closer to Father's side, trying to reach him before he actually touched whatever it was that Mum had sent.
"Why?" wondered Dad.
I made it past Dolge and Sweeny with no problem, but I had to hold my breath as I sidled past Fagenbush. He glared at me, and I glared back.
When I reached Father's side, I dipped my hand into the pocket of my pinafore just as he plunged his hands into the crate. As unobtrusively as possible, I slipped a small amulet of protection out of my pocket and into his.
"Those things don't actually work," scowled Weems.
"How do you know?" asked Mum.
Unfortunately, my action did not go unnoticed. He paused and scowled at me. "What on earth are you doing?"
"I just wanted to get a good look, Father. I am the shortest one in the room, you know." To turn his attention from me back to the crate, I leaned forward and peered in. "What do you think she's sent us this time?"
"What a dishonorable thing, lying to one's father," sniffed Grandmother.
"Well, that's what I'm trying to find out." His voice was tinged with exasperation Then luckily he forgot all about me as, with great ceremony, he reached into the crate and lifted out an absolutely fetching black statue of a cat: Bastet, the Egyptian fertility goddess.
"That was one of my favorite finds, actually," commented Mum. "I wonder what happened to it. It's certainly not on display."
"And it's not in the basement; Theodosia catalogged the area," added Dad.
The moment I laid eyes on it, I felt as if a parade of icy-footed beetles were marching down my spine. My cat, Isis, who'd been skulking under the workmen's bench, took one look at the statue, meowed loudly, then streaked off for parts unknown. I shuddered. Once again Mother had sent us an artifact positively dripping with ancient, evil curses.
"Hmm... this sounds so much like Egyptian black magic... do you think Theodosia could be telling the truth?" pondered Dad.
"It's nonsense, I'm sure, sir," scowled Weems, and then continued to read, although reluctantly.
"Are you all right, Theo?" Nigel Bollingsworth, the First Assistant Curator-
"PREVIOUS First Assistant Curator," corrected Weems, and continued.
-, asked. "You're not taking a chill, are you?"
He studied me in concern. Next to him, Fagenbush stared at me as if I were something nasty that Isis had dragged in.
"Isn't that the Goddess of Wisdom?" asked Grandmother.
"How do you know that if you said mythology is nonsense?" demanded Mum. "And Isis is Theodosia's cat."
"How impertinant!" sniffed Grandmother. "Proceed, Weems."
"No, Mr. Bollingsworth. I'm fine."
Well, except for the black magic rolling off the new cursed object.
Of course, Mother never realized it was cursed. Nor did Father. Neither one of them ever seemed able to tell.
None of the assistant curators seemed to notice anything, either. Except for that rat Fagenbush.
"Who's a very suspicious character, no doubt," added Weems.
He eyed the statue with his face aglow and his long, bony fingers twitching. The problem was, he looked like that half the time, so it was hard to know if it was his reaction to the artifact or he was just being his own horrid self.
As far as I knew, I was the only one able to detect the black magic still clinging to the ancient objects.
"You probably are," remarked Mum.
"IF there's such thing as Egyptian curses," Grandmother reminded her.
Therefore, it was up to me to discover the nature of this statue's curse and how to remove it.
"Why quickly?" wondered Mum.
When Mother arrived tomorrow, she was sure to have loads of new artifacts with her.
"Which you did," remarked Dad.
Even more crates would trickle in over the next few weeks. Who knew how many of those items would be cursed? I could be busy for months! The only good thing was that it would keep me out of Mother and Father's way. They tend to get annoyed when I'm underfoot, and then begin talking of sending me off to school. This way, at least I'd be able to spend time with Mum.
"Speaking of that, you really SHOULD send her off to school," reminded Grandmother.
Still, while hunches and gut instinct were all well and good for a First Level Test, I had to be logical and scientific about this. I needed to conduct a Level Two Test as soon as possible.
My chance came when everyone had cleared out of the receiving bay and returned to their duties. Since I didn't have any duties to return to, I was able to hang back unnoticed.
"I should've given her duties earlier," muttered Dad.
I went over to one of the shelves that lined the receiving area and took down a small, battered Canopic jar. It had come in badly damaged, and since it wasn't particularly valuable, no one had taken the time to restore it. I had begun using it for collecting wax-
"A terrible hobby for a young lady," sighed Grandmother.
-(old candle stubs, sealing wax, that kind of thing), which I used extensively in my Second Level Test. Wax is very good at absorbing heka, or evil magic.
I removed some of the wax bits from the jar and carefully set them in a circle around the base of the statue.
"Why would one do that?" pondered Mum.
By dinnertime, the entire circle of wax bits was a foul greeny-black color.
"Disgusting!" Grandmother wrinkled her nose.
Drat! I don't think the wax has ever turned dark that quickly before. Now I had to come back and conduct a Third Level Test. Unfortunately, in order to do that, I needed moonlight. Moonlight is the only way to make the inscribed curses visible to the human eye.
"What kind of nonsense is that?" exclaimed Dad.
Of course, the only way to view something in the moonlight is at night. And I loathe the museum at night.
"That's the end of the chapter," remarked Weems. "Would you like me to go on?" He looked as if he wanted to do anything but that.
"I'll read," offered Mum.
A little OOC, especially with Mum, but pretty good, huh?