The Storage Space was dreadfully upset on behalf of poor long-suffering Karen, who had turned as white as a sheet.
But then the poor, long-suffering Storage Space shuddered again, and again, and again…though by all rights a building shouldn’t be able to shudder in quite that same, animated if you will, way. Shift perhaps, reverberate in response to some subterranean influence or other, but not that quick animated shudder. Well, really, would its next move be a sneeze or a soliloquy?
That slithering again, then something nice again, a gentle prompt to comfort Karen. But the Storage Space was beginning to recognize a pattern.
So it waited.
No odd thoughts. No inappropriate language. At last it relaxed just as the female detective and the old woman turned from their conversation to notice, as the Storage Space had previously, poor Karen’s condition.
That single word, directed toward dear Karen with the utmost compassion, had come from three different sources at once, in perfect harmony. It was as if a conductor had prompted it from an orchestra. The lowest, though nowhere near as low as her previous speaking voice, was that female detective. The Storage Space rather liked to think of itself as a rare countertenor, though of course it hadn’t spoken aloud but rather spoken directly into Karen’s mind and, it hoped, her heart.
But of course the pièce de résistance was Amelia’s gorgeous soprano, perhaps so high because she seems genuinely shocked to find Karen in such a state. She went on, dropping to a richly resonant contralto, “You don’t want this extraordinarily kind officer of the law to get to the bottom of whatever’s going on around here?”
Her voice was a veritable symphony. What remained of the grand old stage, hid under the stair creaked so deeply it was as if a lion purred. The poor, long-suffering Storage Space was feeling positively languid.
But the “kind officer” had stiffened after her last speech, as if she had been caught committing a crime when she spoke in a voice nowhere near as low as her previous speaking voice. Finally, with renewed vigor and her usual deep voice, she resumed her interrogation of the old woman Amelia.
Meanwhile the Storage Space comforted Karen the only way it knew how to comfort itself, with tales rich with the extraordinary, and long since gone, elegance of the 19th century.
The Storage Space paused after another odd shudder, cautious and waiting, but instead of odd, nonsensical thoughts and inappropriate language there was an eerie silence. It was about to go on describing the glories of a curricle with a matched pair of greys, when it noticed Karen’s face flipping between terror and a rebelliousness that suggested she was having an argument with herself. Then, just for a moment as if the volume had been turned up too high but was quickly corrected, the Storage Space heard the words “tell them!” inside itself.
The detective was grilling Amelia about Le Grand Rat!
Karen leapt up to grab both of the detective’s hands. “Irwin no longer works here because I killed him.”