Sometimes my mum drives me crazy. She signed me up for ballet class without my permission. How could she! I love running around and solving mysteries and things like that. I do not like dancing in slow motion. That is seriously what I think of ballet. Dancing around in slow motion in a frilly, pink, dress. Ugh. I will never survive it.
Mum only told me on the day of my first class. Now it is too late to pretend I’m sick. She made me wear a frilly, pink dress with extra frills. That is just perfect –NOT! She drove me to class, “Please be a good girl, Emma. You will love ballet by tomorrow,” she said. HAH! That is never happening.
My teacher was a lady with long yellow curls called Ms. Dansa. She had sea green eyes. The other kids in my class were Anna, Mary, Hannah, Lucy and Harold- who unfortunately was not wearing a frilly, pink dress. Oddly, Harold did not seem to be embarrassed about being the only boy in ballet class. Ms Dansa lectured us on how to point our toes. And then she made us practice over and over.
Sometime during the class Harold went outside and no one saw him for ten minutes. I pretended to go to the bathroom and I heard a running sound and out of the corner of my eyes I saw a boy scamper away from me. I followed him around a corner. I chased him around for a minute or so. Finally I leant against the wall gasping for breath. That was when I realized I was out in the courtyard leaning against an advertisement. I recognized it immediately.
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I stared at it. I could not believe it. I even pinched myself just to be sure I wasn’t dreaming. “Harold! I know you’re in it. Come on out,” I yelled. He didn’t come out so I rounded a corner. I passed a canteen, a costume room, a bathroom- I did not go in there even though I said I would- and finally I came to a long hall. He had to be in one of the rooms. I looked around. I went in the first of seven rooms. The second, the third, the fourth- which had a very low roof so I didn’t get far-, the fifth, the sixth and then the seventh.
I looked around. There were blankets here, blankets there and just about everywhere in the seventh room. There was on blanket that was on a tower position. It trembled. I ripped the blanket down and there was a statue with a wobbly bottom. “Man,” I said in frustration. I reorganized the blanket. I went back to class and told Ms. Dansa that Harold was missing. She announced it to the class and told them about the mystery class. We went along the same route as before.
We went to double check the rooms. First room, nope, second, no, third, nothing, fourth, wait a minute. There was a note, "Go to a room with sleeping material. Find a button hidden against a still life. Press a button. Repeat. Find the hidden door to a hidden door. Then find the next note. H"
“ ‘Hidden door to hidden door?’” Lucy frowned.
“ ‘Still life?’” Hannah asked.
“ ‘Sleeping material?’” Anna almost laughed.
“Come on,” I said.
We ran to the seventh room. I scanned the room for the tower blanket. I spotted it. I took off the blanket. I lifted the statue up and there it was. A button. That was why it was so bumpy. I pressed it. Creak. A hidden door swung open. We went through the door. We walked for about five minutes. Then we emerged into clear sunlight. It took a minute to get used to the brightness.
“Should we go back and ask Ms. Dansa if we can be here?” Mary said nervously.
“Are you a detective or what? Anyway, she wants us to do this,” I replied.
We searched for the other hidden door. Finally after a minute of searching we stopped and sat down to think. Hidden door to hidden door. To hidden door. Button. Still life. Repeat. Repeat! That’s it! I thought. I stood up and looked around. I could feel the others watching me. It was a play on words. Life that was still. A statue. Where is a picture of life that is still? There was swaying grass. Statues of dresses. Paintings of trees on the wall. Soil. Plain brown plant pots. Which one was it? Dresses are not alive. The grass was moving. Soil isn’t alive. Plant pots are not alive either. Tree paintings. Trees are alive.
I walked up to the wall and felt around. An apple on an apple tree was bumpy. I pushed. Right across from the last door a second door opened. We went through. Inside we looked around for a note. It was Anna who found it. It was camouflaged against a pale painting. "Head along the maze, clues are left to guide you. Find a staircase. At the top you will find a set of rooms with numbers on them. Go to the one that you found your first clue. H"
“Come on,” I said before Mary could start asking questions. Only now did we see that there were three ways out of the room that we were in apart from the one behind us. It was Hannah who found our next clue. It was another note in the same room. "Wrong side. Turn to opposite," one side said. We turned to the other side. "Go left then left then backwards. H"
Mary was about to follow the instructions when I stopped her. “Don’t you think it is strange that it says "Wrong side. Turn to opposite,’” I questioned. “He didn’t do that on the other clues. And note that Anna found said ‘clues’ not instructions. The last few ‘instructions’ were a play on words. We would’ve known it was the wrong side. I think it means we should turn the directions opposite. So we should go right then right then forward,” I explained. Mary shrugged. So we followed my directions. We found another note. "Here is details, go down for instructions.
Or go right some more
Right then backwards
When you get to a sign stop
Another key is there
Right then forward
Do not linger"
“So we don’t find a key, we go left, then we…” Mary began. I cut her off.
“It didn’t say ‘turn to opposite’ or anything like that. Anyway Harold probably figured that it would be too obvious since he did that last time. Look it says ‘ go down for instructions’. Go down. What word do you see, Mary?” I said already knowing the answer. Mary turned pink. Now everyone knew the answer. The first letter of each line spelled ‘FORWARD’. I learned that in my ‘Detective Journal’. So we went on and on. Finally we reached the stairs. We headed up and found a set of doorways. There were five of them, each numbered. “Number seven, right?” Mary said. Sometimes I wondered why her parents chose her. There were only five doors.
“Four. The note was the first clue,” I corrected leaving out the fact that there was only five doors. We entered the fourth door. I called out to Harold. He came around a corner grinning ear to ear. Each Tuesday had a different mystery. I started to enjoy this. I earned prizes for each class. Man, was this fun.
A month later mum was reading the newspaper. “I’m signing you up for a ballet class.”
“YES!” I yelled, punching the air in triumph. Mum looked up in surprise. “Don’t you want to know the details, Emma?”
“Nope. I want to it figure out myself, mum.”
“Oh, um, ok. So , uh, good luck.”
What I did not know was that it was just a normal, boring, ballet class. Frilly, pink dresses and twirls! Oh no! How will I survive? I will never, ever dance ever again. Especially ballet. Only running and mysteries from now on.