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House of Anubis and the Secret Club of the Old Willow

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Rusl was already waiting before his shop. When he saw his nephew, he raised his hand and welcomed him in: ''Welcome! It's been quite a while since I've seen you!''  

   Twilight smiled and warmly shook his uncle's hand. ''It's so kind of you to let us visit on a Sunday.''  

   ''No problem, Kiddo,'' Rusl said and his eyes shifted to Wild who had awkwardly watched the scene before her, ''and who is this jeune fille?''  

   Wild offered her hand. ''Wild, it's a pleasure meeting you, Sir.'' She laughed at her own formal sentence, but what else could you say to such a man? He looked so old-fashioned with a mustard yellow vest with pocket watch, striped trousers and black and white shoes. And he smelled a bit like mothballs mixed with old spice aftershave. His dark brown hair was combed back. In conclusion, Wild thought he looked perfectly fitted for an antique dealer.  

   Rusl made a deep bow and then kissed the top of her hand.  

   ''Mon plaisir, mademoiselle, mon plaisir,'' he murmured.  

   ''Anyways, come inside!'' Rusl offered and opened the door for both.  

   Inside, too, the scent of mothballs was overwhelming. But that wasn't just it, polishing wax and dust were mixed within it. For sure, not much daylight entered the shop and their eyes had adjust until Wild and Twilight could see what stood in the antique shop. Rusl had already made his way to the back. The two heard his voice coming from a beautiful wooden closet. ''Tea?''  

   ''Yes, please,'' Twilight said.  

   ''Please, make yourself comfortable!'' Rusl called out. ''Grab a chair!''  

   Easier said than done, because every square centimeter was filled with paintings, cups, saucers, glass vases, porcelain coffee pots, old library lamps, napkin rings, silver plates, copper kettles, candlesticks... You could say the weirdest object and Rusl would have it in his shop.  

   After a while Twilight found a green chair and Wild eventually pulled out a chair with red roses.   

   Rusl came from the back with a beautiful plate. He put it down on a delicate wooden side table where a price card said it cost three hundred rupees and the furniture looked like it would be one hundred years old at least.  

   ''Twilight, I've got to say that I'm always surprised when you visit me,'' Rusl said and filled the cups with tea in record time, ''you're getting bigger every time. In here nothing changes.''  

   He gave Wild a cup of Earl Gray. She gladly took it and sipped the warm drink.  

   ''But, where did you need my help with that couldn't wait?'' Rusl asked.  

   ''Well, um, we found something and we don't know what it is,'' Twilight said. Wild zipped open her backpack and carefully gave Rusl one of the rolls. She intensely looked on as Rusl inspected the roll more closely.  

   ''This...'' Rusl turned the roll round and round in his hands, ''is a wax roll. And a beauty, too. Most of them are rotted away.''  

   ''A wax roll? To wax with?'' Twilight asked.  

   ''No, to listen to. This is the precursor of the LP.''  

   ''So something is recorded on it?''  

   ''Exactly.'' Rusl pulled the lid off the roll and held the wax roll carefully in his hand. ''Wax rolls are invented by Edison, who also invented the light bulb. To listen to what has been recorded on the roll, you will need a phonograph. Between 1880 and 1930 this was the way to listen to music or record things.''  

   ''You could record stuff with this?'' Twilight asked and hopefully looked at Wild.  

   Rusl nodded. ''Of course. Record, play, it was a very ingenious system. But then again, Edison was a genius. I think this roll is about eighty years old.'' He put the roll back in the tube. ''How did you get hold of this?''  

   ''We found it at Wild's grandmother's house,'' Twilight lied. ''And she didn't know what it was either.''   

   ''Most of the times, on the wrapping, it says what has been recorded on it, but this is completely empty... So I'm guessing this is a homemade record.'' Rusl gave the tube back to Wild.   

   ''But... how can we hear what's been recorded?''  

   ''With a phonograph. Sadly, I don't have one.'' Rusl turned to Wild and raised an eyebrow. ''Perhaps your grandmother has one at her attic. If she has a roll, she must also have a phonograph.''  

   ''Then we must go back to the attic,'' Twilight mumbled.  

   ''That shouldn't be a problem, correct? Wait, I'll draw a sketch of a phonograph for you.'' Rusl grabbed a piece of paper from a small notebook and began drawing with a small pencil. With long strokes, he drew a rectangle with a winding wheel. He handed the paper to Wild.  

   ''I'm not an artist, but this should give you an idea of what you're looking for.''  

   Finally knowing what she was looking for, Wild couldn't wait to go back to the forbidden attic and search for the phonograph, but it was inappropriate to just rush away. So, the three of them stayed there for about an hour, drinking countless cups of tea and eating dry biscuits. While they were doing so, Rusl kept trying to sell the two the weirdest stuff from his shop with discount.  

   Wild could just restrain herself when he showed her a porcelain shepherdess. He found it perfectly fitted for a lady like her.    

   Twilight put his cup down and stood up. ''I'm sorry, uncle, but it's time for us to leave.''  

   ''Really?'' Rusl put the porcelain doll down. ''Well, feel free to visit anytime, Twilight. And don't feel shy to bring your girlfriend with you!''  

   Wild's cheeks turned red and quickly followed Twilight outside. She unlocked her bicycle and together they made their way back to Anubis.   

   ''I apologize for my uncle's behavior; he seems to be stuck in the stone age,'' Twilight said and then began laughing, ''but you had to see your face when he offered you that doll!''  

   ''Like you looked glad when he tried to sell you his collection pens!'' Wild retorted. She looked through the undergrowth and could see the tower of the House of Anubis stand proudly in the distance. Again she couldn't press away the feeling that the windows were staring at her.  

   ''Hey, what's wrong?'' Twilight asked. ''You're so quiet all of the sudden.''  

   ''It's the house,'' Wild said, ''it always gives me a weird feeling. Like it's looking at me.'' She chuckled awkwardly, as if apologizing for her stupid remark.  

   ''I understand what you mean,'' Twilight said. ''It feels like the house holds a secret.''  

   Wild looked at Twilight. ''Yes, precisely! That's exactly what I mean.''  

   ''Well, it's not weird. The house holds a secret doesn't it?''  

   Wild nodded. ''I worry a bit. We must go back to the attic, but what if Ganondorf sees us?'' She sighed. ''I just can't keep believing everything will keep going all right until the end.''   

   Exact on that moment, a black cat shot across the road. Wild screamed and could just in time dodge the animal before it disappeared on the other side of the road.  

   ''Did you see that?'' Wild breathed, ''a black cat. It's a bad sign!''  

   Twilight put a hand on Wild's shoulder. ''As long as I'm here, nothing will harm you.'' He smiled and brushed a lock of hair behind Wild's ear. ''And after all, superstition is bad luck.''