Ch. 13: Upside-down ladders and distant brothers
An unexpected visitor down in the depths.
“You know what else I saw while hanging upside down while you guys thought about saving me?” Lu asked as they sat and imagined burgers cooking on an open barbecue.
“Dec, if you say anything about burgers, I’m throwing you down the trap door,” Dan threatened his older and bigger brother.
“Dan, you couldn’t throw me anywhere,” Dec said and started to move towards Dan.
“Guys, the fighting,” Li said and put a hand between the boys. “Let my brother finish. What else did you see when you were hanging upside down before I saved your life,” he emphasized the last words with exaggerated slow and loud speech.
“You really do love me,” Lu said doing his best impersonation of a romantic drama from a movie.
“Just tell us what you saw,” Dan cut the Hollywood acting audition short.
“A ladder,” Lu said.
“Where?” Dec asked.
“Sort of in the ceiling,” Lu said. “Maybe it was a rope ladder, but it was attached to the ceiling and I think we could grab it if you hold me by my legs again,” he stopped and thought for a second. “Or maybe we could hold onto Dan’s legs, I think I’m taller than he is, maybe he’s lighter.”
“I think you’re the lightest,” Dan said. “It’s probably better if you go.”
Lu smiled and wasn’t sure if the battle was worth the effort and he probably was the lightest. “OK, you guys hold me and I’ll see if I can unhook the ladder.”
Lu crawled over back to the trap door and put his head through and then down, “Guys, could you hold my legs? I want to look first.”
“I got you,” Dec said and went to Lu’s legs and held on.
“OK, I just need to get a little further so I can see back up to the ceiling,” Lu explained and inched himself further into the opening in the floor.
“Do you see it yet?” Dan asked.
“Not yet,” Lu replied and he squirmed and turned carefully. “Oh wait, there it is,” he said as his body was bent practically in half as it hung through the floor. “Are you guys holding on tight?”
“I got you, Lu my brother,” Dec said and looked at Li with a friendly smile. Li wasn’t terribly moved by Dec’s show of brotherhood.
“OK, I almost got it,” Lu said, the he gasped.
“Hey,” he whispered.”
“What?” Dec said, putting his head down towards the opening.
“There’s a door down there and I think I hear someone trying to get in,” Lu said.
“I’m pulling you up,” Dec said.
“No, it’s too late, I see someone. Wait just a sec,” Lu said.
“Who is it?” Dan asked, also now leaning down, trying to see into the room below.
“Shhh,” Lu hushed them. They hushed.
Lu looked down and debated whether or not he should try to go back up when whoever was trying to get into the room got in. He first saw some straggly gray hair and his first thought was Killian, but then the body was different and it wasn’t Killian at all. Lu gasped when he saw her. The single gasp in the quiet room under the castle was loud enough for her to hear it. She looked around and saw nothing. But there was a light coming into the room that was like none she had ever noticed coming into this area of under the castle. She looked up to see where it was coming from.
“Lu?” she squinted and instinctively put her hand next to her forehead to block out the glare.
“Is that Lu I see up there?” Lu didn’t answer but tried to stay still in hopes that the old zebra in the grassland trick would work again. It didn’t.