2017-10-15 / Family

Locked Out!

By VALERIE EGAR
Author

Everybody in the Randall family was in a hurry to leave the house. Saturday night was pizza night and everyone was hungry. “I’m starving!” Emily said.  She stood in the driveway next to the car impatiently waiting for her brother and her parents. What was taking so long?

Her brother shuffled out of the house a few minutes later, carrying his phone. Chad was texting, no doubt talking to his girlfriend. He leaned against the car, staring at his phone, paying no attention to Emily.

“Mom!” yelled Emily. “Dad!”

Mom poked her head out the door. “Be there in a minute! I’m looking for the coupons for free soda with the pizza.”

Emily rolled her eyes.  Mom always had coupons, but she never knew where they were.

Dad stepped out of the front door, looked at the sky, then turned to go back into the house. “Sorry guys, I need to shut the windows, looks like rain. I’ll only be a minute.”

Ugh! It always took so long for her family to get in the car and go.

Mom finally popped out of the door smiling, coupons in hand. “Found them!”

Dad stepped out of the house, locking the door behind him. “You’ve got the keys, honey?”

Mom froze. “No. They’re on the kitchen counter.”

Mom, Dad, Emily and Chad walked to the side of the house and looked in the kitchen window.  The ring with the car key and house key lay in the middle of the counter. Mom couldn’t drive the car without the key. They couldn’t get into the house to get the car key without the house key. They were locked out.

“Let’s not panic,” said Dad. “I’m sure there’s a way in.” All of them circled the house. Chad tried the back door. Locked.

Mom looked at the windows. All were shut tight.

“Doesn’t Mrs. Bitner have a key?” Emily asked.

Dad brightened. “Yes! Good thinking.”

Chad and Emily walked down the street to Mrs. Bitner’s house, but she wasn’t home.

“Oh dear,” Mom said. “I think she said something about spending a few days with her daughter in Connecticut.”

Dad shook his head. Things were not looking good.

“I’m hungry,” Emily said. “Really, really hungry.”

“I promised Cara I was coming over after dinner,” said Chad. “We’re working on a project together.”

They walked around the house again. “Maybe we should break a window to get inside?” said Mom.

Dad shook his head. “Not unless we really have to.”

“Look,” said Emily. “How about the cellar window? It looks open.”

The cellar window was old, a bit rusted and no longer locked tight. Dad tugged on it and it pulled open. The problem was that it was very small. Too small for Dad or Mom to fit through and too small for Chad, too.

“None of us will fit,” said Dad. “It’s not going to work.”

“I fit!” said Emily.

Dad hugged her. “But you don’t like the cellar. Too many creepy-crawly things. That’s what you always say.”

Emily took a deep breath. True, she didn’t like creepy-crawly things — centipedes, millipedes, spiders. All seemed to dwell in the cellar. But she also knew she was the only one who could do it.  “I can do it, Dad. I know I can.”

“Are you sure?” Mom asked.

Emily nodded.

“OK,” Dad said. “Once you’re though the window, step onto the workbench and then the floor. Go up the stairs and unlock the front door.”

Emily scrunched herself through the window. She didn’t like the musty cellar smell and held her breath. She felt a web on her face and hoped the spider was some place other than the web. Her eyes adjusted to the dark and she quick-stepped up the cellar stairs. She opened the front door and smiled. Victory! She’d done it!

Mom, Dad and even Chad hugged her. “Look in the mirror,” Chad laughed.

Emily saw cobwebs in her hair and a smudge on her nose. She washed her face and brushed her hair.

“You are brave, Emily!” said Mom.

“Are we ready now?” Emily said.  “I am very, very hungry!”

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