“You have three days to decide.”
Cassie sat on her bed, her comforter fluffed up around her. She sat with her legs crossed, hands folded neatly in her lap, with her posture as straight as it could be. She watched the new butler leave her room, closing the door with a soft click behind him. She kept a steady gaze on the closed door for a few moments, almost as if she expected someone, or something, else to come through her bedroom and give her some sort of warning.
Her father had recently hired Frederick to add another butler to their four-story mansion. Lucas, the butler before him, had passed away only recently. Cassie didn’t understand why, as he was young and healthy. Strange circumstances occurred and poor Lucas got caught in the crossfire. However, no one would fully explain it to the ruler’s 16-year-old daughter.
Cassie and Lucas were close. When she was a little girl she would often follow him around the house watching him do his chores and helping him out. He would play hide and seek with her on his days off and take special care of her when she was sick. Most often than not, she would call for Lucas to read her a bedtime story over her own father.
Devastation hit the Cooper Mansion when Lucas died unexpectedly. Cassie found herself not being able to leave her bedroom. What was she supposed to do without Lucas?
Her father hired Frederick to replace Lucas the day after his funeral. Cassie thought that was too soon. The mansion could go a couple of weeks without the top floor of the mansion being spotless. Then again, maybe that was just how her father was coping. Her father was close to Lucas as well.
Cassie decided to make the best of having Frederick around. After all, what else was she supposed to do? He didn’t cause Lucas’s death and he was part of the family now. She had to help him feel welcome and right at home. She was 16, though. She wasn’t going to ask him to play hide and seek with her around the mansion or ask him to read her a bedtime story. No, she would try to chat with him and get to know him whenever she was able to.
Frederick was more serious than Lucas was. Frederick had been the butler for two weeks now and Cassie still had yet to see him smile. She often told him jokes that Lucas had told her, but Frederick didn’t get them. She would do silly things about the mansion, but Frederick still wouldn’t smile. He only got frustrated at one more thing to clean up.
“I didn’t sign up for this…” he would mutter under his breath, which confused Cassie. Why would he get a job as a butler if he didn’t plan on taking care of the mansion and the family inside?
It wasn’t until Frederick came into her room that night and began speaking nonsense about the attic.
“I’ve never gone up into the attic” Cassie had told him. She had no idea what he was talking about. Besides, he had only been living in the mansion for two weeks. She was pretty sure he had no idea what he was talking about either.
Frederick said something important was to happen on her 17th birthday, which was just one week away. He had every intention to help her through it, but Cassie needed to be the one to make the decisions. Fredrick could guide her and that was just about it.
So when he told Cassie she had three days to decide whether she should go up to the attic or not, that would give them four days to prepare for her next birthday.
Yet, she’d be lying if she wasn’t curious. So, she mustered enough courage to step out of her bedroom and find Frederick to ask him. She found him just at the bottom of the stairs, a few feet away from her room. He didn’t get very far.
“What’s so special about the attic?” Cassie asked with caution on the edge of her tongue. She had spent many days and nights lying in her bed reading fictional books. Someone crazy always happened to the protagonist on their birthday, usually when they enter adulthood. The attic or basement sometimes had something to do with it, but that was more so in horror stories. Cassie didn’t want to be in a horror story.
Frederick shook his head in response. “I cannot tell you what is up there, Cassandra.”
Cassie pursed her lips to at the use of her full name.
“I can only guide you should you decide to go through with your fate.”
Cassie raised an eyebrow and abruptly turned the other way. She knew her father should have waited to hire the next butler. It seemed as though he was in such a rush to hire just about anyone that he ended up choosing a crazy one. What would her father say when she explained this story to him?
“I’m giving you three days to decide because we should have gotten the ball rolling on this sooner.” Frederick deadpanned.
“Yeah, I still have no idea what you’re talking about.” Cassie shrugged.
“That’s because Lucas decided to protect you instead of telling you the truth.” Frederick growled.
Cassie narrowed her eyes. She had half a mind to turn around and stomp back up the stairs. How dare he speak about Lucas in such a tone?
“I’m not saying that’s a bad thing,” Frederick said lighter upon seeing the look on Cassie’s face. “But I work differently than Lucas. I believe the only way to solve a problem is to face it head on.”
Cassie relaxed, though she still had no idea what Frederick was trying to explain to her.
“Lucas would have taken care of everything for you, to protect you. I believe that’s what your father liked about him so much. However, that’s what got Lucas killed in the first place.”
Frederick sighed. “I’m sorry. I forgot you didn’t know the truth behind Lucas’s death.”
Cassie took a step backward up the stairs. This conversation was beginning to get a little too weird for her liking.
“Well,” she said confidently, “you said I had three days to decide. So I’m going to use that time to really think about it.”
“Fine,” Frederick said nonchalantly. “Let me know if you have any questions.”
Cassie nodded before turning around and walking calmly up the stairs. When Frederick was out of sight, she made a dash towards the other stairs. Her bedroom was on the second floor so she had to run up two flights of stairs.
She was headed straight for the attic.
I hope you enjoyed this short story. Let me know in the comments below!