“What would a good hideout be like?”
Joanna climbed down the drain slowly, followed by Riley, then William and then Mr Chris.
The ladder went down a long way, and it seemed to have been forever until Joanna felt the ground beneath her feet. By then, the surface was hundreds of metres above her, leaving her in darkness.
Joanna got out her wand from her pocket and whispered, ‘Litso.’ The tip of her wand shone, illuminating everything around her. Looking in the space before her, Joanna saw nothing but darkness that stretched on for miles. Giving a frustrated sigh, Joanna turned back around, following the light emitting from her wand until there, in the distance she could see a large, dark green door.
‘Is this it?’ Joanna asked into the emptiness around her, hoping that her voice would carry up to Mr Chris.
Thankfully, it did. ‘The door?’ he called down. ‘Yes, that’s it. Go and knock.’
Joanna was hesitant for a second, the sudden fear that this was a trap washing over her. But why would Mr Chris set up a trap for her? He was the Minister. He had promised her safety. She had gotten this far, there was no way of turning around anyway, so the only way was heading towards the door.
Taking a deep breath, Joanna walked towards the green door. Around the door was nothing solid, just darkness. Joanna was even able to walk around the door, still surrounded by everlasting darkness with only the light from her wand, and a small over-hanging light that floated about the door. 15A in gold letters was nailed to the wooden door, shining in the lights.
This door was stood there waiting to be opened. This was clearly here to be her new home.
Calmly, Joanna waited until everyone was standing before the door, before saying something.
‘What do we do now?’ Joanna asked.
‘Knock?’ Riley asked.
‘Would be the sensible thing to do,’ William agreed.
Joanna stood there, not moving.
‘Does she even know how to knock?’ Mr Chris muttered to Riley and William.
Riley glared at the Minister.
‘Well,’ Mr Chris sighed irritably and knocked hardly on the door, making Joanna jump. An echo followed that seemed to travel in all directions.
Shuffling and mumbling came from the other side of the door, too muffled to be understood.
After a pause the word ‘Password?’ boomed around them that seemed to come from a lady. She seemed close.
‘Doll-son,’ Mr Chris said slowly and clearly.
The door opened to a thin lady with purple hair, styled in a knot on the top of her head. She stared down at them, her lips pressed and her thin features sharp and strict. She seemed young – in her thirties perhaps – but it seemed as if stress had not been kind to her as lines, lined her mouth and forehead. Ruby lipstick was drawn on her lips and thick, black eyeliner, lined her eyes.
‘Damien,’ the lady said, tightening her lips at the sight of the Minister.
‘Hello Mandora,’ Mr Chris nodded, ‘Joanna Dollbrook, this is Mandora Hart, she will be your guardian; assigned by myself.’ Joanna stepped forward and smiled at Mandora. Mandora smiled back, sternly. ‘She was part of the Police in the Department of Defence until I handpicked her and her husband for this special job.’
‘Our honour,’ Mandora said tightly. Somehow she didn’t sound as if she felt honoured at all.
‘Joey!’ A squeaky voice yelled and a sheet of blonde pounced on Joanna. Joanna struggled to keep on her feet while carrying a six-year-old’s weight, staggering through the front door with a grin on her face.
Beauty jumped off Joanna and smiled eagerly at her, showing off her perfect white toothed smile. Joanna smiled shyly back. She had not seen her siblings since Christmas and found it quite strange to be back with them.
Annabelle and Toby poked their heads around the corner of the room behind Mandora, to the left of the front door.
Joanna waved at her siblings.
Toby waved back while Annabelle looked down at the floor.
‘Well,’ Mr Chris clapped his hands making Joanna jump, ‘Mandora, please can I have a chat with you and Nigel about, you know?’
‘Of course, Damien,’ Mandora agreed showing everyone into the house.
Joanna took a moment to look around. She stood in a long hallway with dark red walls and a neatly polished wooden floor. Against the right wall were brown, carpeted stairs that lead to the many bedrooms above them. To the left of Joanna was a living room. To the right was a small bathroom. Opposite her at the end of the hallway was a dining room and kitchen. The style of the house seemed familiar to her somehow.
Mr Chris ushered Joanna, Riley and William into the living room where Annabelle and Toby had come out of. He gave a quick nod to Mandora and walked with her into the dining room, leaving the children alone.
Taken from the sequel to my book Discover the Blind Side.