Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Art (01/18/07)
TITLE: Hidden Gallery
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“Alyssa, this is Grandma Jane, I need you.”
“What’s the matter Grandma Jane, are you hurt?” Alyssa waved off her coworkers as she grabbed her coat heading for the door.
“Yes” with a whisper of pain Grandma answered. “I fell in the sanctuary room I think I’ve broken my hip.”
“Have you called Mom or 911?” Backing her car out of its parking space, she whispered a prayer for God’s help.
“No, Alyssa I need you first. I’m not dying, just hurting” Grandma Jane murmured in exasperation.
Alyssa smiled, “Down, but not out, huh, Grandma Jane.” Alyssa knew she was five more minutes away.
Grandma Jane chuckled; “Just come upstairs to my sanctuary room. You can call your mother in the driveway and the ambulance in my room.”
“Alright, I will see you in three more minutes.” Alyssa’s mind was racing Grandma was in “The room,” no one in her whole family had ever entered Grandma’s domain. She, an not, Mom was going to be the first person to intrude. By accident though, not by any free will on Grandma Jane’s part.
“Alyssa? How are you? Aren’t you at work today?” Mom questioned.
“Mom, listen please. Grandma Jane has fallen and can’t get up.”
“Not funny Alyssa”
“Mom, I am serious, I am pulling into her drive now. Please come. I need to call 911, so I have to go. You might call her pastor too. Thanks.”
Putting her hand to the rail of the stairs she was already breathless with anticipation and worry. Punching in emergency on her phone she reached the landing. “I’m here and calling, Grandma Jane.”
Walking down the hall she recited Grandma’s address. When she reached the sanctuary room she stood silent, listening for any sounds.
“Alyssa, the access code is 7499,” Grandma Jane called from inside.
Alyssa punched the code, and saw her Grandmother lying by and easel of the crucifixion, the most beautiful depiction she had ever seen. Glancing down she saw Grandma Jane covered in little droplets of pain, grabbing a cloth she wiped gently at Grandma’s face. Grandma Jane grabbed her hand.
“Listen you have to put the paints away. Soak the brushes, and lock up. Most importantly Do Not Let Your Mother in here, only the paramedics. Promise me?”
“I promise,” Alyssa said, squeezing her hand as they heard the sirens pull in front of the house.
Grandma Jane gave her a push, “Now grab my Bible and my purse please, Thank-you my dear. I know you have a lot of questions about my art but they will keep for now, please go show my visitors up,”
“Where is she?” Mom called from the door.
Alyssa hurried downstairs, “They are bringing her down now. The insurance cards are here in her black purse. She wants you to follow the ambulance and me to lock-up.”
Mom nodded. Seeing Grandma Jane being carried on the stretcher had whitened her Mom’s normally bright cheeks. As the stretcher passed Alyssa, Grandma Jane whispered, “My secrets safe with you.”
Alyssa nodded. The adrenalin rush finally had subsided, and rounding the corner she was speechless. The whole room was an Art gallery. Every corner was filled with completed paintings of various sizes. There were portraits of her and her mother at various ages, in charcoal oils and watercolors, each one a masterpiece of detail.
In the next corner there was modern art that Alyssa didn’t think her Grandmother even knew about. The signature on every piece in the room was “The Plain Jane”. This room was better than any art gallery Alyssa had ever seen: animal portraits, landscapes, sunsets, paintings portraying every Bible story imaginable. Her phone vibrated her back to consciousness, “Hello Mom,” her eyes still scanning through the stacks of beauty and color. There must be three hundred paintings in this room.
“Plain Jane says she’s not waiting on you. The x-rays confirmed her suspicions.”
“Mom, why do you call her plain Jane?”
“I don’t know Alyssa; she always called herself Plain Jane. Oh sorry. I have to go. We’re headed for surgery. See you soon.
Alyssa finished the list Grandma Jane had given her Grabbing her purse she wrote down the secret code for another trip into Plain Jane’s Art gallery. Grandma Jane and her were now bonded by a very colorful secret. She couldn’t wait to talk to her. “WOW!” All she could think of on the way to the hospital was just “Wow!”
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