Carla stood a foot from the door of the shed.
It was hardly still a shed.
The bracken around it was cleared so the clearing could be picknicked in if necessary, and the outside walls were painted a creamy colour. The window was no longer cloudy and scratched because the plastic had been thrown away in favour of a new clearer plastic. The roof was no different, but there were two pots of pansies on either side of teh door, which was painted red. The lock had been replaced and Carla dreaded to think what wonders lay inside the door. How and why had Vienna done this?
With trembling fingers she inserted the key with its yellow ribbon into the keyhole. She turned it smoothly and the door swung open as usual.
But nothing was as usual inside.
To start with, the walls had been smoothed, perhaps plastered, and painted the creamy colour. The sloping ceiling was also cream. There was a blue wooden table at one end with a red and white checked tablecloth. Three small blue wooden chairs surrounded the table, on which was a vase of daffodils. There was a battery light on one wall. It was cheap, but it would do the job. A green carpet covered the floor. There was a small cupbard by the door, next to which were three small hooks for coats and things. There was even a bin on the floor, a doormat and a couple of pictures on the walls. They were bad pictures, and looked like a young child had painted them, and Carla concluded that Vienna was not much of an artist, though she was brilliant at music. There was a clock above thedoor. Finally there was a CD player on top of the cupboard.
Carla stared in suprise and happiness. What a wonderful place! Then she panicked. Where was the biscuit tin?
She looked a moment with her eyes, not daring to go farther in in case it was all a trap. There it was, the tin, on a cupboard shelf. That was alright, then. What else was there in the cupboard?
Carla relaxed and knelt down and saw a pile of paper and a pencilcase. Unzipping the pencilcase Carla found pencils, pens, rubbers and sharpeners and anything else they would ever need. Underneath the paper was coloured card. She frowned. What on earth...?
Then another wary thought struck her. Had Vienna used their money.
Carla took the biscuit tin from its neat shelf and opened it. They had before changed all their money for notes apart from a few stray coins that refused to go into pounds, adn Carla conscientiously counted it all. There was a little missing. Only a little.
Then on a small slip of paper in the tin Carla read:
It was short but it explained that tiny bit missing. Carla almost smiled at the irony.
Then at the bottom of the tin were three more keys. One had a pink ribbon with black tutus and ballet shoes on it. Another had a light blue ribbon with black tennis balls and tennis rackets. The last one had a black riubbon and was labelled 'SPARE KEY' in white letters.
Carla gasped. Her favourite colour was yellow. Jessica's favourite colour was pink. Rosetta didn't have a favourite colour, but the washed-out blue of her key's ribbon matched her grey eyes when they sparkled. Carla laughed a bitter laugh.
How much money did Vienna have to play out with?
A guilt penetrated Carla's delight. What had she done to her second cousin to deserve such a wonderful surprise? Rudeness; the silent treatment.
The truth was that she deserved nothing less.