The Room Time Forgot (A Work In Progress) by Cerridwyn Tiponi

Down a sleepy, narrow, tree-filled lane lies the little hamlet of Heydon. Apart from the lane, there is no other way in or out of this quaint place. Legend has it that Heydon is the one place that hasn’t progressed into the 21st century, let alone the latter half of the 20th. Within its boundaries, there isn’t much to catch one’s notice: a minuscule convenience store, a coffee-house/bakery, the public house, a handful of terraced homes , and the impressive grey stone gothic styled church with its yard dotted with the headstones belonging to those members of the community who have long passed away. And in the centre of it all lays the town square. That is all there is in this little hamlet. Yet people seem to flock here, that is once they find the lane. These visitors are like those on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, each seeking something, but unaware of what. It is here in this place which time seems to stand still; where a seemingly interesting tale weaves into existence. A tale seemingly involving the public house and the mysterious secrets it holds. 

A miasma of cobwebs enveloped the room, along with layers of dust and decaying bits of paper. To look at this room, one would observe it isn’t grand in size or nature. There are no overly remarkable features belaying its principal purpose. It’s just a room like any other. The walls appear grey, the peeling wallpaper having faded over time. It’s hard to tell what colour the paper should be; ivory, blue or some other shade to compliment the furnishings. To the left of the entrance, sits a massive English Oak bookcase, filled with all manner of books, journals and periodicals of its day. The occasional bit of news rag can be gleaned from between the occupants of the shelves. At the very top sits a huge glass bowl which is overflowing with every conceivable oddity; rare feathers, rocks, a mummified mouse, a worn bridle and bit, etc. On the wall opposite the door is an unimposing fireplace; its tiled face totally obscured from view by a thick black covering of soot. The mantle appears to be made of the same grey stone as the church across the way. It isn’t ornately carved, just simply fashioned to be the focal point of the room, jutting out approximately 18 inches from the wall. Atop the stone rests the mantle clock which stopped counting time many years ago. It’s ormolu face barely recognizable beneath the filth, as if it were a young boy out tramping through the mud who reappears home in need of a severe wash. The other objects on the mantle seem to cower in the presence of the clock, yet the half-dozen, once colourful bottles stand at attention almost defying the importance of it. And above it all rests a formerly opulent mirror in an intricately carved and gilded frame; the only extravagance in the room. The mirror appears dejected now and out-of-place. The layers of grime have warped its view and a crack has developed over time in the upper left hand corner, working its way down the width. The mirror seems to project a sad perspective of this room. In the centre of the room sits a writing desk which still proudly displays a clear glass oil lamp, an inkwell long since dried up and the remains of a quill pen. It’s only drawer, with its unremarkable iron fitted lock, sits slightly askew giving the impression that the owner hurriedly shut it on his/her last visit to the room. The coordinating chair is manoeuvred at the correct angle to allow a lady with full skirts to deftly slip between and sit at the desk. Underneath the simple, utilitarian set lies a once stately red wool rug covered with dust and debris.

Outside, the intensely bright morning sun struggles its way through the filth encrusted window, giving the illusion of only the weakest sunlight existing beyond the room. And within that beam of light, dust motes seem to dance or bounce off one another; giving the room a magical feel. And magic it is. No one within the establishment knows this room exists. The inhabitants of the building have never found a door leading to this wondrous venue. They have gone about their daily lives constantly traversing not more than two feet from the entrance, yet never knowing of its existence. Very strange. They all spotted the window outside, yet have never ventured to discover its source. So curious. It’s probably because the window too is of no special consequence. A perfectly square, wooden-framed portal with typical Georgian glazing set into the whitewashed wall. From the outside, one could see nothing more than a bunch of wild roses which sprung up on the inside of the glass. There are no window coverings to be seen, although that doesn’t mean they didn’t exist. The years of neglect and filth did their job in making the window anything but ordinary. The previous owner of the property did attempt once to peer through this portal. He took the ladder from the shed, propped it up against the side of the building, and carefully picked his way up to the window on the second floor. The sun was shining so he figured it would make the task easy. He couldn’t have been more wrong. No matter which way he cupped his hands or turned his head, he couldn’t make out anything beyond the panes of glass other than the single pink bloom of a wild rose. “How was this possible,” he thought. This rose was thriving from within although no one knew of its existence except from the outside. Very puzzling indeed. Eventually though, even that owner stopped looking for the room. It became known in Heydon as the room time forgot and in truth that is what it really was. No human had set foot in the room in over 100 years. If ever found, it would be a treasure trove of what life was like, for the room was left on that fateful day when she walked out and locked the door forever. Sealing its fate and keeping the magic it contained within it for all eternity. Or so she thought when she cast the enchantment upon the room.

(C) Cerridwyn Tiponi

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