The distant clomping of boots echoed through the castle. The kids shuffled the maps into a thick stack then turned them into a roll. Brody shoved them into his waist belt.
“Hurry!” Brody grabbed Emma’s hand and pulled her behind him. Emma grabbed Aspen’s collar. The pup and three kids hurried quietly on tiptoes toward the back of the castle. The voices of the soldiers grew louder until Max realized they were in the next room. Max motioned for Emma and Brody to follow her. She headed directly for a large, open dining room. Woven tapestries depicting the royalty that once lived there hung along the stone wall. Max pushed a loose stone between the tapestries and the wall opened a small crack. The secret passageway was just large enough for Aspen and the kids to sneak through, away from the soldiers and out into the bright sunshine. The trap door they scurried through was cleverly hidden in the exterior wall of the castle.
Blinded by the sun’s rays, the Emma and Max huddled next to the stone castle while their eyes adjusted to the abrupt change from dark to light. Brody paced in front of them blinking wildly but his vision was slow to return. Suddenly, he felt his feet slipping. Rocks and dirt tumbled from beneath his boots. He started to fall.
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