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November 09 , 2009

The Crystal Ball: A Mystery Story for Girls


Florence Huyler read the number on the door. She wondered at the lack of light from within; the glass of the door was like a slab of ebony. “No one here,” she murmured. “Just my luck.” For all that, she put out a hand to grasp the knob. In a city office building, ten stories up, one does not knock. Florence did not so much as allow the yielding door to make a sound. She turned the knob as one imagines a robber might turn the dial of a safe—slowly, silently. Why did she do this? Could she have answered this question? Probably not! Certainly she was not spying on the occupants of that room—at least, not yet. Perhaps that was the way she always opened a door. We all have our ways of doing things. Some of us seize a door knob, give it a quick turn, a yank, and there we are. And some, like Florence, move with the slyness and softness of a cat. It is their nature. One thing is sure; once the door had yielded to her touch and she had ushered herself into the semi-darkness that was beyond, she was glad of that sly silence, for something quite mysterious was going on beyond that door. She found herself in a place of all but complete darkness. Only before her, where a pair of heavy drapes parted, was there a narrow slit of eery blue light. There was no need of tiptoeing as she moved toward that long line of light. Her sturdy street shoes sank deep in something she knew must be a rich Oriental rug. “In such a building!” she thought with increasing surprise. The building was old, might at any time be wrecked to make parking space for cars. The elevator, as she came up, had swayed and teetered like a canary bird’s cage on a coiled spring.
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