Hurricanes. Dogs floating through the streets in crates. Nuclear missiles. Cannibal Islands. A Castle called home with armed guards with automatic rifles. It is a world much in need of saving, but at 9.5 years of age, what is Audrey to do, even with Rex as fierce protector, and a Tutor as Porter, schlepping her equipment? Momma says Audrey is hyper. But the bubble bath is gone, since Audrey used in for Rex. Maybe a warm bath, anyway, and a story about….?
Momma used to come in to chaperone, and supervise, and try to figure out how Tutor does it, keeping Audrey in balance, when no one else could. Now, when Tess comes in at bedtime it is more to calm her own jangled nerves. It is hell to trade grain futures under threat of war and flood. Maybe Tutor could spin a yarn about The Castle itself, and the winding passage, down, down, down. Fathoms below sea level, down through the layers of quarried rock from which the Castle was built centuries ago. Torches alight. Rex coming too, not afraid. Momma coming, but following Audrey, Tutor, and Fearless Rex.
When the passage narrows like a vortex, the walls cold as the north sea, and reaches the final floor: What treasure? Yes, a box, cedar wood, leather straps, but what will it contain when opened? Tutor in his checkered career was once a card sharp, a clairvoyant, a Gypsy palm reader, a conduit for spirits in table tapping frauds. A seller of Papal Indulgences. He knows how to read the mark’s “tells.” He is reading Audrey, pausing. Reading Momma, pausing, what is in the treasure box? Jewels? A crown? A crystal ball? A book? At “book” Momma unconsciously nods. So does Audrey. “A Book,” cries Tutor, “it is a book!" As for what is in the book and what is in the title, that part is easy. "The first letter under all that dust is what? Is it an A?" Audrey nods vigorously. "No, it is a T. It is The Book of …. ? What is that first next letter? A! Yes it is, ‘The Book of Audrey.’ But what is in that Book? My word! Empty pages! Is that right? Page upon page to record the Future Adventures of Audrey. Could they be written already in invisible ink? Maybe with lemon juice?” That is all it took, Momma is asleep in the arm chair, her iPad fallen to the floor. And Audrey is in dreamland, her face an angelic smile. Tutor disentangles himself from Audrey’s embrace, kissing her forehead goodnight. The same for Momma? Or a priestly blessing? “Sleep tight!”
So our world is saved for one more day.