All Maggie wanted was to know what was behind that door. She traced her finger along the etches made from Papa’s safety charms. When she was small, the simplest spells wouldn’t have unlocked the door. But she was older now, stronger. She closed her eyes and pressed her palm against the oak and whispered, portaberto. The lock clicked and the door slightly opened. The smell of earth filled her nostrils as she cautiously walked in. Papa had a large pine desk covered in papers with potions and spells written all over them. Some seemed to be about the living and others, the dead. His office seemed normal enough except for the small magical creatures that were trapped in jars filled with liquid. Other than that, she didn’t understand why he never let her come in here.
She walked around the office exploring each and every crevice. Nothing really stood out, but the back corner had the most beautiful chest she had ever seen. It seemed smooth to the touch and trimmed in gold. She began to walk towards the chest when three slow knocks came from the inside. Maggie sucked in her breath as she hopped back, surprised. She stood there frozen and waited. The slow knocks came again.
She knew she wasn’t supposed to be in here, she knew she should turn around and leave but, instead, Maggie unlatched the lock on the chest and opened it. Inside lay her mother’s corpse in perfect condition. Her skin looked as smooth as a porcelain doll and the dress she wore was lavender and stitched with lace. Her mother opened her mouth and spiders and insects scurried out and covered her dressed. Maggie screamed at the top of her lungs,
“Papa! Papa! Paaaaapaaaaa!”
Papa burst into the office and embraced Maggie.
“Wake up Magdela! Wake up! Maggie! Wake up!”
Maggie gasped as she opened her eyes and found herself safely in her bed, wrapped in Papa’s arms. Papa stroked his daughter’s hair and kissed her on top of her head.
“It was just a nightmare,” he said.
Maggie was still shaking and she began to cry.
“Don’t cry, sweetheart. Was it the same as last time?”
Maggie nodded her head unable to speak through her fear.
“There is nothing to be afraid of. Take deep breaths.”
Papa rocked Maggie and said,
“Do you want to hear the story of when Mama and I found out she was pregnant with you?”
Maggie nodded her head again while taking her deep breaths. Papa’s warm voice calmed Maggie down as he remembered his beloved wife and the day the learned about their beloved daughter. Maggie loved hearing these stories but she could always see the sadness in Papa’s eyes when he remembered his beautiful wife.
Mama died while giving birth to Maggie, so the only memories she had were the stories Papa told and the pictures he showed her.
“Do you feel better, Magdela?” he asked after finishing the story she knew far too well.
“Yes, Papa,” Maggie replied.
“Are you hungry?”
“Yes, I would like potatoes and eggs and grits please.”
This made Papa laugh.
“Your mother loved grits you know.”
Maggie smiled back at her Papa, “Yes, Papa, I know.”
Papa took a deep sigh and began to stand up,
“Okay, I’m going to the store now. Remember-”
“Don’t go into you’re office. I know, I know,” she said waving her hand. Maggie was more relaxed as if she never had the nightmare at all.
Papa looked concerned but only for a moment. He leaned over, kissed Maggie on the forehead and left for the store.
Maggie crawled out of bed and got dressed. When she walked out into the hallway, she looked over to the office door she knew she wasn’t supposed to open. Flashes of her dream came to mind but her curiosity began to get the best of her. She slowly walked over to the door and ran her fingers across the marks left by the charms Papa set on the door. Her heart beat began to quicken but she couldn’t resist to see if what she was dreaming had some truth to it. She closed her eyes and placed her palm against the door. Portaberto. Just like in her dream, the door slightly opened and she cautiously walked in.
The office looked exactly how it looked in her dream. The desk was there, covered in papers with spells and charms about the dead and the living. The small magical creatures trapped in jars filled with liquid were there. And…the chest was there. Maggie felt like her heart was going to leap out of her chest but she had to know if her dream was real, or just a dream. She walked over to the chest and waited. No knocks. Maybe it really was just a stupid dream.
Maggie took a deep breath, flipped the latched and opened the chest. Maggie began hyperventilating and her head began to spin. Her mother was in the chest with smooth skin and a lavender laced dress. She stumbled backwards and bumped into Papa who was standing behind her, looking at her with sad eyes.
“Oh, Maggie,” he said above a whisper. “Must we do this, everyday?”
“Why is Mama in here, Papa? What is going on?”
Tears filled his eyes as he raised his wand,
“You’re too young to understand, sweetheart. I promise when you’re older I’ll explain….everything. Obliviate.”