The Secret Adventurers Club (part 4 of 5)
The Secret Adventurers Club (part 4 of 5) postapocalyptic stories

ferp2 Old, well, old-ish.
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The Bedrooms... Ooh la la.

The Secret Adventurers Club (part 4 of 5)

The four treasure hunters ran back into the saloon area. The stairs leading up to the balcony were in the corners adjacent to the main entrance, one for each side.

"Casp an' me will do this side. You two do the other." They split into their pairs and thundered up the stairs to the waiting bedrooms. Finny grabbed Casper's arm.

"You start at this end, and I'll start at the other an' we'll meet in the middle."

Casper's face paled.

"Um. I think we should stay together?"

It came out as a question, but the look on Casper's face turned his words into more of a plea. Finny relented.

"Okay. Fine."

Together they raced down the balcony to the farthest door. On the opposite balcony, Onetooth and Worms were already inside the first bedroom.

And, by the sound of their shouts and the crashes, it appeared they were having a good time.

The door Finny came to wasn't locked, but inside it was dark and gloomy and smelled bad too. There was no way Casper was going to go first, so Finny led the way.

It took a few moments for their eyes to get accustomed to the dim light inside the room, but when they did, Finny's heart sank.

The crowded bunk beds, piles of dirty clothes and scant furniture didn't scream there was a fortune to be found here.

Nevertheless, at least it wasn't all smashed up, so they set about looking anyway.

The search was carried out by fingertip and with screwed up noses -- everything stank of unwashed bodies, cigarette smoke and stale alcohol.

Whoever lived here, Finny decided, needed an appointment with an orphanage scrubbing brush.

There was only one small set of drawers in the carpet-less room. It had a cracked mirror, and its top was crowded with an overflowing ashtray surrounded by lots of empty booze bottles.

It had two drawers, and they were full of lady's underwear and make up things, some of the later Finny could only guess at what they were for.

Nothing of any value though, although you wouldn't think so the way Casper was holding on for far too long to a pair of knickers.

Knickers, by the way, that no way would keep your bum warm on a cold night. Finny snatched them out of his hand, thrust them back into the drawer and slammed it shut.

She gave Casper a hard stare and held it until he mumbled something and turned away to look under the mattress of one of the bunks.

Finny did the same with the bunks on her side of the room and found a little collection of personal belongings. Nothing much.

A book, which she immediately stuffed into the waistband of her trousers. A small bottle of perfume, which made Finny gag.

Some pad things like some of the older girls had back in the dormitory; these joined the book because Finny reckoned she would be able to trade those, no problem. And lastly a framed photograph.

Finny took it over to the door to look at it.

It was a family comprising Mom, Dad and a little girl about Finny's own age. The photograph was very faded. It had a big crease down the middle where it had likely been folded to go in a pocket.

Finny looked at the figures for a while, taking in the details. The scene looked like it was taken at a farm. The family looked happy.

Finny's face set and then she pulled the picture from the black frame and dropped it on the floor to see if there was anything hidden behind it. Well, that's the reason she told herself anyway.

There wasn't. But it was then that Finny noticed that the frame was too heavy to be plastic. She scratched at it with her finger, and black paint came away revealing bare white metal underneath.

Most likely aluminium, she thought, but then remembered Joe showing her a book about silver and how silver had these special little marks on them that told you it was silver, how old it was,

who made it, what year and even sometimes how good it was. She didn't quite understand, but Joe showed her on her locket.

Sure enough, almost hidden around the rim of the pendant were some of the strange little marks. So, still in the lighted doorway, Finny examined the picture frame carefully.

In a corner on the back, she found the same sort of marks like in Joe's book and on her locket.

She felt a self-congratulatory tingle of excitement and stuffed the frame away with her other finds.

For his part, Casper found first a whole box of the pad things. Then some almost new lipsticks that were better than any of the old and broken stuff in the drawer.

Happy then, they left the room for the next. Finny looked across to where Onetooth and Worms were each carrying armloads of ladies' clothes to a growing pile near the stairs.

She shook her head and then led Casper to the waiting door.

The next two rooms proved to be drearily similar to the first. Even more so in one case when Finny's searching fingers found an over full pisspot.

She dried her hand on the far-from-clean sheet and retreated to the balcony, leaving Casper to finish digging through the room's contents.

Across the expanse of the Saloon,

Onetooth and Worms now seemed to have paused their treasure hunting to engage in a sword fight with two brightly coloured things they had found in one of their rooms.

They were really going at it too, and a smiling Finny watched them bonking each other around the head with the obviously pretty soft 'swords'.

It looked like fun, certainly more fun than dipping your hand in someone's wee.

Casper soon joined her. He had found a lot more girl-pad-things because his shirt now bulged with them, even sticking up through the neck hole.

Feeling less than optimistic at their luck so far, Finny and Casper made for the next door.

The door opened on a scene of total devastation. But this room was, or had been, something far grander than the first three. For a start, there were no shabby bunk beds.

Only one large bed occupied the room. Finny figured you could get eight kids sleeping in it easily and still have room to roll over. There was what had once been nice furniture too.

And amongst the devastation, what looked like expensive if rather flamboyant, clothes lay scattered across the floor. But Finny and Casper didn't go any further than the doorway.

Whoever slept in this room must really have liked to look at themselves, was Finny's conclusion.

There were a few unbroken mirror tiles left on the walls and ceiling, but most of them now lay in dagger-like shards all over the bed, the clothes and pretty much everything.

No way are we going digging around in there, Finny thought, holding onto Casper's arm just in case. She closed the door.

"Let's do the next one."

The next room was just as trashed as the mirror room, only without the foot-long, razor-sharp invitations to bloody death covering everything in sight.

Like the previous room, it had only one enormous bed and nice furniture. Also, like the other room, there were lots of shiny, sparkly and not very warm clothes scattered everywhere.

Obviously, whoever had got there before them had taken all the proper clothes, was Finny's assessment. These clothes were just like what Onetooth and Worms had been collecting.

Finny held one or two items up for closer inspection.

It dawned on her that what she had seen so far looked suspiciously like the clothes her older self and the other girls had been wearing in her Kidsmass eve dream.

The thought made her feel strangely uncomfortable so she stopped looking through the discarded clothing and, as Casper was already lifting the mattress,

went to the neat little dressing table and lifted it back onto its legs, well, the three that remained anyway.

When she had finished going through the drawers, Finny's haul was; several items of tradeable makeup,

a box of foil-wrapped posh balloons (she had to open one and blow it up to work out what they were) and, taped to the bottom of the drawer, (another piece of Joe advice) a really good dagger.

And so, it continued. Finny had dissuaded Casper from doing like Onetooth and Worms and collecting clothes. Between the two of them, they had already amassed a great pile of fancy clothing.

Anymore, she realised, would create what she remembered Joe had called a 'glub in the market' and they likely wouldn't be able to sell most of it.

Instead, she and Casper had concentrated on makeup, pads and knick-knacks... Oh and a growing collection of the posh balloons.

Finny planned on taking those to Matron Maisy because the occasional parties held at the orphanage always seemed to be short of balloons.

Of course, there would be the usual question; 'where did you get them from?' To which the usual answer 'found 'em scavenging' almost always sufficed.

It was still a risk, though, guessing what you could and couldn't get away with, but Finny wasn't stupid enough to take anything to the staff that would get her into too much trouble.

She and Casper had also come across the same sword things Onetooth and Worms had used for fighting. Finny doubted they were toy swords though. Swords didn't buzz for one thing.

She got a vague feeling, too, that they were probably something medical, and therefore likely icky. In the end, she decided to leave them and would make sure the others did too.

If they were medical, she didn't want to catch anything from them.

And so, she and Casper, and Onetooth and Worms eventually met about in the middle of the joining balcony.

Between them they had made quite a haul of goodies, combined with the food in the kitchen, it was going to be hard work getting it all through the streets.

And they still had the other door to the 'special place' to explore.

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