The Loft

The big, old key was inserted into the lock of the wooden door. Its inlaid carvings covered in spider webs and dust. As it was opened, a loud squeak came from the dry hinges, echoing through the empty, three story house.

Harry slowly stepped into the gloomy, dark hallway. The house hadn’t been lived in for over 10 years since his grandmother had passed on.

Originally, his older brother Fred had inherited the house, but had not taken much interest in the up keep of the building. So over the years the dust and cobwebs built up over everything and mice found a nice home for themselves for a while. Now Harry’s owned it because Fred had been killed in a car accident 12 months ago.

He moved in a bit further and through the dark could see the old staircase winding its way up towards the floors above. To his left was the sitting room, where once beautiful paintings hung on the walls, but all had been sold over the years to pay the taxes. Now only the shadows of them could be seen in the dinghy paint work and the good quality furniture stood for many a year, now hidden under dust covers.

Memories of the good times came flooding back to Harry as he wandered around the room, touching each piece of furniture in turn. He could see that there was going to be a lot of work needed to get the house back to its original state.

Over the years, Harry had built up his own building construction company and was very well off, so money wasn’t going to be an object to stop him from fixing the house. His idea was to make it into a boarding house for well to do people. With a few modifications, modern amenities and a pool installed out back, he wouldn’t have any trouble renting out the rooms.

Leaving the sitting room, Harry made his way to the hall and up the creaking staircase with its threadbare carpet running up the middle. One the second floor there were 12 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, but Harry decided to look in on them when he got back. His mind was only on one room. The room where he and his brother had enjoyed many hours of childhood fun. The loft.

It was situated above the third floors in the alcove. To reach is Harry had to walk to the end of the hallway on the third floor where a narrow door stood and then climb a narrow ladder. As he reached the man hole a thrill of excitement went through his body. What would he find there after all these years? Would the old dress up clothes still be there in the big wooden crates and the large mirror leaning up against the tea chest, but most of all would the large, old locked metal trunk be there, with its mysteries still in tacked.

Quickening his pace, Harry finally lifted the manhole lid and placed it aside. Climbing the rest of the way in, he pulled a touch from his pocket and switched it on. The electricity hadn’t been reconnected yet. Yes everything was still in its place, even the trunk.

Harry could feel the excitement growing inside him. Many a time he had wondered what was in the trunk and many a time he would asked Grandmother what was inside, but the answer was always the same.

“Wait until you are old enough to appreciate the contents, then I will allow you to look in”

Harry made his way through the crates to where the trunk stood in the corner. Wiping the dust off the best he could and pulling out a bunch of smaller keys, he slowly knelt down in front of it. Shining the light on the pad lock, he inspected it then looking at the keys. Inserting one key after the other with a shaky hand until the lock gave way. Placing the pad lock on the floor, he took a moment to get his heart beat back to some normality, and then he started to lift the heavy lid.

The first thing he saw was a beautiful, old framed picture of the house and garden as it looked long ago. Lifting this out, Harry found several different size tin boxes. All locked. Lifting the first small one out, he inspected the delicate design that had been painted on all sides.

Trying each key in turn, the right key was finally found. Inside where papers that had gone yellow with age, but the writing could still be read. Harry carefully lifted the top sheet and looked closely at it.

It was the deed to the old house and the name on it was a Frederick Harold MacGregor, dated 25th April 1888. Carefully laying that one aside, Harry lifted the next sheet out which was the marriage certificate of Fredrick MacGregor and a Mary Elizabeth Manfred, dated 3rd March, 1888.

Harry sat back on his heels and realized the Fredrick MacGregor was his great, great grandfather and that the information in this tin alone was what he had been searching for to help him in the quest to research his family tree.

As he went through the other tin boxes, he found more information that dated back to the beginning of the 18 hundreds and now knew where his ancestors had come from and when they had arrived in Australia. A diary was there amongst the papers. Written by the first MacGregor to arrive in Australia from England and what hardships he and his family had endured to get here.

Harry now understood why his Grandmother hadn’t let him view the box and with the information at hand, he felt he had something to look forward to in his life ahead.

The Loft


Bunbury, Australia

  • Artist

Artist's Description

The mystery of what was in the Trunk in alcove of the old house was soon at hand for Harry.

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