Tip toeing down the hallway, Magda could see light pouring from the keyhole near the end of the hallway. She chanced a quick glance behind her to make sure she was alone before she crept slowly, slinking through the shadows cast by the heavy drapery on the other side of the passage. Her slippers made a gentle scraping noise as she slid her feet through the dust on the side of the hallway. The drapes were always pulled shut in this part of the house and it was obvious no one ever cleaned here. As she neared the door, the blue light shone bright and Magda wondered if she would be able to see through the light to what lay inside.
For months Magda had noticed her father disappearing down this hallway for hours at a time and had raised the nerve to follow only the night before. Now, creeping toward the closed door while her father was out, Magda was sure she would discover the reason for her mother’s constant tears.
Crouching to her knees, her skirt brushing the floor, Magda took a deep breath and pressed her eye to the keyhole. Gasping, she pulled back and looked down the hall. The sound of her father’s footsteps echoed off the walls. She knew she would not get a second chance to see what was beyond the door.
Magda took a deep breath and pressed her eye to the keyhole once more. The footfalls got louder and she heard him call out her name and begin running toward her. She blinked rapidly as her eyes adjusted through the light and focused on the figure of a child laying on a pyramid shaped bed. Her dark curls fell over the side of the bed and trailed on the floor. Magda fingered her own dark curls and touched her face. It was the same as the girl on the bed.
Her heart was pounding as her father’s hand fell on her shoulder and pulled her back from the door. Magda blinked up at her father, the hall’s darkness in sharp contrast with the brightness behind the keyhole. Finally her eyes focused on her father’s terrified face as he waited for her to speak.
“Is she asleep?” Magda finally managed.
His shoulders slumped and he lowered himself to the floor beside her.
“No.” He said. “She is not asleep.”