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Stair Puzzle

A Carboard Fortress in the Attic, Chapter 6

There has to be something to these markings. Cynthia squinted up the darkened stairs. Her eyes were becoming more accustomed to the darkness and she was starting to be able to make out etchings, pictures with crudely scrawled captions, seemingly a chapter on each step.  Some had a familiarity, but with a medieval flair, and others were completely unrelatable to her.


The first step was of a woman warrior, a lady knight, and a wizard.  Training in the castle. Cynthia and Harris had met in college, although his major was in the sciences and she majored in english, they met at lunch at the table of a mutual friend.


Another picture showed the wizard and the knight on horses traveling away from each other. Traveling Separately.  She and Harris casually dated before they moved in together.  Yet another showed the knight and the wizard fighting a magical skeletal demon.  When Harris’s grandmother died, Cynthia traveled with him to the funeral and consoled him.  That was where they realized the seriousness of their relationship, that they had become a unit and not just living parallel lives.


Other drawings portrayed medieval versions of events where he had consoled her when his parents were passive aggressive to her, their ongoing discussion about having kids and the timing of it, and Harris’ fear of bringing children into the stresses of his adult anxieties.  The Wizard and the Knight fought an army, raced together toward a captive squire boy, and the Wizard was at the top of the tower as the squire boy walked away.


It was as though Harris was leaving a message to her that this was the way to go, but there were other scenes mixed in that didn’t make sense to Cynthia.  There was a scene where they befriend a dragon, a scene of sailing on a rough sea, one where a spell by the wizard accidentally destroys a village, and another where the knight is jousting.  She was confused.  She had no idea what those were supposed to mean and they certainly didn’t strike a chord with her.


I know it’s you, Harris, I know you’re telling me I’m on the right path but what am I supposed to do with this?  I can’t go up any higher than the top of the Pyramid.  Am I supposed to hop around on these steps like some kind of goofy child?  Cynthia smiled. She leaped to the first confusing part of the story, then the next, then the next, and the last.


The stairs shifted and shook.  The lower steps flattened one by one into a decline.  Cynthia tried to run up the steps before they turned into a slide under her feet until she nearly reached the top. Her feet fell out from under her and her hip slammed on the hard cardboard and she slid, tumbling and turning toward the entrance.  I going to fly right out the side of this thing!  

Her heart rate jumped.  The hall went dark and before she made it to the flat entryway she felt weightless. Am I falling?  What do I do?  She thought just before falling into a pile of empty boxes.  Harris had somehow given her the combination to the puzzle that led her into the great tomb.  She pulled herself out of her somewhat cushioned landing spot, relieved to be alive, only to see two large red luminescent nostrils staring back at her.

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