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“Up here, the rain thundered like a relentless waterfall. There was one cobweb-covered window overlooking the side of the cottage. Beside it was a narrow armchair with a throw rug tossed over its back. An empty workbench ran along one end of the attic, covered with layers of paint splashes.

There was little else to investigate. No hidden rooms or secret passages. Disappointed, Christie hesitated at the edge of the open trapdoor, flashing the phone torch around one last time. In the furthest corner, where the roof was low, a dark shape was barely visible. It was a small wooden trunk, pushed so far back that Christie had to get onto her knees to reach it.

Dragging it out behind her took some effort, as it was heavier than it looked, but she managed to get it into the open part of the attic. Crafted from dark timber, it was about the size of a small suitcase but taller, with a curved top. It was locked. Christie sat back on her heels. Was this where Gran kept her secrets? If the cottage had been the home of the stationmaster until the trains stopped, who had lived here since? Not Gran. Would Martha have lived here? Maybe this trunk was empty and there were no secrets.

Only one way to find out. Christie pulled the cottage keys from a pocket. There was the key to the front door, a very small key that might be for a padlock, and a long skeleton key. Christie felt like a detective as she inserted the long key and turned it. It went around, and around again, and then with a small “click”, the lock opened.”