Elizabeth Young

Bino´s Secret Adventure

            "But
there might be people buried down there!" Colletta's little brother cried. "Don't you want to see one?"

            "No,
Bino,"  Colletta replied, anxious to
get to church for rehearsal.  "I
don't want to see one.  We have to
hurry."  She wrapped her scarf
around her neck once more as the night air swirled through bare tree branches
and brushed crinkly dry leaves against the sidewalk and the doors of the
church, almost as if they too were anxious to enter.

            "I can
take one home to show Pappa, then he'll be proud of me."

            "No,
Bino."  Colletta pulled the large
wooden door open.

            "A
religion with secrets . . . "  Bino
whispered, reminding Colletta about the assignment she had helped him with on
catacombs.  "Hey!  Maybe the church has secrets!"  he said, slipping out of his coat.

            "Bino,"  Colletta called, smoothing her shiny dark
brown hair,  "we're suppose to think
about our parts as angels and remember our lines.  We can't go looking for underground burial
chambers."  She brushed her skirt
off and reached for the door handle.

            The draft of
cool air embraced them as they entered the vestibule.  Lit candles shone on the faces of first-
through fourth-graders lined up beside the altar.

            Walking up
the aisle, Colletta studied the intricate designs and wondered herself if any
secrets were hidden within the church. She wasn't supposed to be thinking of catacombs.  She had to concentrate on her lines.  Why did Bino's remarks cause her mind to
wander so?

            They took
their places in the back row with all the other angels as Sister conducted the
performance.  "Rachel,"  Sister called,  "kneel beside the manger and place the
Baby Jesus inside as everyone begins the carol."

            A small
blond-haired girl lowered herself beside the manger.

            "Now,
all the angels on the count of three. One . . . two . . . "

            Colletta's
voice rose with those of her fourth-grade classmates, creating a soft
melody.  She had almost forgotten about
Bino until she took a sideways glance to see if he was singing with the others
or just pretending to sing as he had done before.

            Bino wasn't
standing beside the other angels. Instead there was a small gap in the line where he should have
been.  Where could he have gone?

            Colletta
peered behind her classmates and saw an eerie dark narrow path disappearing
around the Tabernacle.

            Oh my gosh,
she thought, he actually went to look for catacombs!

            Sister
busily directed children playing the parts of sheep and shepherds and didn't
seem to notice that Bino was missing.

            Nervously,
Colletta tried to decide what to do.  She
raised her hand to call Sister's

attention, but quickly lowered it again.  She dropped behind her schoolmates and
trailed Bino’s steps down the dark narrow path.

            Tiny light
bulbs projecting out from the walls, guided her to a wide hallway lined on both
sides by closed wooden doors.  Straight
ahead, the landing divided a dark wooden staircase.  A tiny window revealed light on the other
side of the wall by the staircase. Colletta thought that it couldn't have been from the outside because it
was nighttime.

            What part of
the church was this?  Would she get into
trouble for being there?  Maybe this was
a separate building connected to the church.

            Wait a
minute!  The school!

            When they
came to church from school, they always walked down a long narrow hallway.  But where was that hallway now?  This didn't remind her of anything they had
passed before.  Where could Bino have
gone?  She tried to think.

            Back in

Italy, the catacombs were buried tunnels
that stretched for miles where early Christians hid to practice their religion,
she remembered.  So Bino wouldn't have
been upstairs searching for catacombs, he would be downstairs.

            Colletta
stared at the landing, wondering where this would lead her.

            Slowly, she
crept down the dark winding staircase, her hand timidly reaching out for the
banister, ready to snap back in case something touched it, for this whole place
seemed filled with mystery.

            The farther
Colletta would descend, the higher the floor seemed to rise, blocking her view
of the dimly lit hall back to the church until it was out of sight completely.

            Below, she
found another hallway twisting in a circle leading to more hallways.  There were at least a hundred different
directions Bino could have taken.  Which
did he choose?

            "Hi,
Colletta," a voice bellowed behind her.

            Colletta
jumped.  "Bino!"  she cried. "Where did you come from?  I
thought you were already down here."

            He shook his
head.  "I couldn't find the
stairs,"  he said.  "Thanks for finding them for me."  He patted her shoulder.

            "We
should go back."

            "After
we see the catacombs,"  he argued,
grasping her arm.  He pulled her across
the wide hallway and into a dark room where rows of burning candles
glittered.  Statues of saints lined the
right side of the wall while an altar stretched across the center.  On the other side, a stone staircase traveled
up to other mysteries.

            "We
can't go in there,"  she said.

            "Why
not?"  Bino asked.  "We won't disturb anyone--anything.  I can see what they look like."

            "Bino,"  Colletta called.  "I have to tell you something."

            He stopped
to face her.

            She
sighed.  "There are no catacombs in
this country,"  she explained.  "The ones we read about are back home in


Italy."

            Crestfallen,
Bino listened.  "You mean there are
none elsewhere?"

            "Well
yes,"  she said.  "They exist in some places in

Egypt like

Cairo and

Alexandria."

            He
hesitated.  "But not in

America?"

            Colletta
shook her head.

            "Now I
know why Pappa is so proud of you." Bino sighed.  "You are so
smart.  I wish he were proud of me."

            "What
do you mean by that?"

            "I
heard him and Mamma talking in their room,"  he said. "Pappa said you never cause trouble like he used to when he was a
boy . . . and like I do now."  Bino
lowered his head.

            "You
don't cause trouble,"  Colletta told
him.  "You're always looking for
adventure."  Sometimes she wished
she was more like him.

            Bino looked
up at her.  "He says, 'Colletta
learns from teachers and books but Bino, he must go see for himself'."

            Colletta,
noticing her reflection through Bino's dark eyes, could see how she appeared to
him.  "Bino, Pappa loves you very
much.  You are his son.  He is probably used to the way you do things
since he did them when he was a boy.  He
isn't used to mine."  She thought of
the many times back in

Italy she wished she had joined Bino and
his friends on their wild adventures.

            "Sometimes
I wonder what it would be like to be you," she added.

            He raised
his head.  "I know what it would be
like,"  he chuckled.  "Mamma would abandon all three of
us."

            They
laughed.

            "Come
on,"  Colletta said.  "We should go back now."

            They traced
their way back up another flight of stairs. They passed a row of small openings revealing the top of the front altar
and peered through to discover they had climbed too high and were on a balcony.

            Below,
Colletta could see their classmates beside the altar: the straight lines of
angels except for the two small empty spaces where she and Bino belonged, the
shepherds with their sheep beside the manger, witnessing the miracle of
Christmas.

            Colletta had
never viewed the church from the balcony. As the songs drifted up to her, she was touched by the scene below.  Now she saw a little of the way Bino had been
seeing things.  Down there was the world
she was a part of, and to see it from such a view was inspiring.

            "Is
this how God sees us?"  Bino asked.

            Colletta
shook her head.  "I don't
know,"  she whispered.

            "Let's
try to find the next floor down," he said.

            They backed
away from the edge and snuck down the steps and through the door to where they
found the wooden staircase.

            Colletta
searched for the tiny window she remembered, but the wall was bare.  She couldn't find the dark narrow path lit
with tiny light bulbs that led to the front of the church, either.

            Bino walked
over and tried all the doors.  Light
beamed beneath one, so he cracked it open and spotted their classmates,
singing, with their backs to them.  He
looked around and realized they were on the opposite side of the Tabernacle.

            "Oh,"  Colletta sighed.  "I guess we should go back."

            Bino
shrugged his shoulders and quietly shut the door.  "They won't be finished anytime
soon,"  he whispered.  "We can explore some more."

            Colletta
hesitated.  What had come over her?  This feeling of wonder?  The thrill of not knowing what lay ahead?  For the first time she was seeing things as
Bino might have seen them.  Colletta had
finally understood how curiosity could lure her brother.

            They tiptoed
up the first staircase they had found earlier. Excitement from walking on forbidden ground stirred within Colletta.

            "Want
to peek in the rooms?"  Bino asked.

            Colletta
shook her head.  That would be tempting
their fate too much.  They snuck back
downstairs and wandered around.  The
little window on the first landing separated the hall from the kitchen, they
found out.  Another door led to a private
chapel on the side of the church. 

            After a
while, they felt they had seen all there was to see.  Bino led Colletta back down the dimly lit,
narrow path to the church, but the quiet darkness ahead was disturbing.

            Why couldn't
they hear singing anymore?

            When they
reached the altar, the dark emptiness seemed overwhelming.  The only movement in the church were flames
on the tips of candles.  The sound of
wind bouncing against the stained-glass windows was its only company.

            "Everyone
has left,"  Bino said, amazed.

            Colletta was
terrified.  What would happen to them?

            "We'll
find a way out,"  Bino assured
her.  "We already know our way
around."  He cupped his sister's
hand and led her to the doors to the back of the church.  Colletta tried to push it open, but it
wouldn't budge.

            "Someone
locked the door,"  Bino said.  They were trapped!

            They walked
back to the front and went down the dimly lit hall connecting to the school
building.  Chairs were placed upon rows
of tables along the darkened auditorium. The only light that shined was on the other side, by the exit doors.

            Bino peered
across the room.  "Do you think
Sister is there?"

            "I
don't know,"  Colletta whispered and
held her brother's hand tightly.

            They crossed
the auditorium and caught sight of their coats hanging on the doorknobs as if
placed in preparation for their departure. "How did our coats get here?" Bino asked, puzzled.

            Colletta
shrugged.  They reached for them.  She pushed the door handle and the door
opened.  She peeked outside and said to
her brother,  "Well, at least we had
an adventure together."

            "Hey,"  Bino said, "Something's in here." He pulled a folded letter out from his coat's pocket.

            "What
does it say?"  Colletta asked.

            He unfolded
it.  "To Bino and
Colletta,"  he read.  "I hope that you two have enjoyed your
little 'trip around the castle' and are content with the new discoveries you
have made.  Because of your curiosity
(which I do encourage within the classroom), I have arranged another little
tour beginning Monday morning at
nine o'clock: a journey to the principal's
office."

             Bino glimpsed at Colletta.  She gasped.

            Bino dropped
his eyes to the letter.  "Since you
two prefer exploring together,"  he
continued,  "I am sure you will not
be disappointed in serving detention together. Signed, your ever-knowing principal, Father Ghostly."

            Bino stared
at Colletta.  "Do you think He might
have something to do with this?"  he
whispered, holding the letter and pointing upward.

            Colletta
shook her head.  "I don't
know,"  she uttered, slinging her
arms into her coat and guiding herself and Bino out the exit doors before any
other adventure could befall them.

THE END


   

 

Alle Rechte an diesem Beitrag liegen beim Autoren. Der Beitrag wurde auf e-Stories.org vom Autor eingeschickt Elizabeth Young.
Veröffentlicht auf e-Stories.org am 04.12.2009.

 

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