The Feathered Cloak
by Edward Ahern
The trouble began when Rhys found the oak wardrobe. He stood barely four feet tall, but the free standing closet was twice that high. Its hinges were beaten brass turned brown with age. The carved wood was riddled with little worm holes. Rhys had never seen a piece of furniture so big and heavy, and he knew that if it fell on him he’d be squashed.
The wardrobe rested in a corner of a large, open attic. The attic was a jumble clutter of his grandfather’s collection of magic equipment. His grandfather had been a professional magician who had starred in New York and Paris and even Moscow.
The key to the armoire doors stuck out of the lock. It turned with a dry rasp. When Rhys opened the doors piles of theater costumes, tablecloths and curtains spilled out onto the floor. Their colors, once shocking bright purples and pinks, had faded over time into pastels.
I’m in trouble, Rhys thought. He pulled out the rest of the clothes so he could restack them and try and shut the doors. Under the cloth worms had eaten through one of the base boards. Beneath the rotted board he could see the shape of a box.