The Secret Party

Entry by: percypop

16th March 2016

Maisie kept as still as a mouse. No one must see her hiding place. Behind the wardrobe in the big bedroom, she felt safe. Hide and Seek was a good game; she wanted to avoid the noisy girls who shrieked and pulled you about when they found you.

Her mother had told her about the party at Joan Potter’s house.
"You'll love it when you get there, so don't be silly."

It was her favourite saying, but Maisie knew she would hate the rowdy gang of children who would be there. It was always the same.
"Maisie, why are you so plain?"
"Maisie, why do you cry so much?"
"Maisie, speak up I can't hear you."

That was why Hide and Seek became special; she could be alone and wait for her wonderful dream. It always began with silence. Soon, the people of The Dream would slip into her hiding place one by one. First came Jimmy the cheeky goblin, he teased her and made her smile. When she talked to him, she didn't have to speak out loud - that would give the game away! So she spoke in her mind and he laughed and chatted back.

Then there was Judy the clown, with her funny red hair and harlequin trousers. She would somersault and jump as high as the ceiling, but her feet were so light, she never made a sound -that would give the game away!

Sometimes, she saw the beautiful fairy Belinda, but she was never sure if she would appear. When she did, her wings dazzled Maisie with butterfly colours -but only in her mind, so she wouldn't give the game away.

As she crouched in the small space, she made herself as small as possible, pressing her face against the wooden back of the wardrobe. Her breath came in small gasps and she became light headed. The dream went on, with the friends cavorting about in her mind and she watched them with all her attention. Nothing else mattered. Gradually, the noises from the party grew distant and Maisie felt as if a thick blanket had wrapped around her, keeping her warm and protected. No more screeching, no more hair pulling or pinching, just slipping down into the quiet at the bottom of the world.

Downstairs, the girls played on. Blind man's Bluff and after that, Musical Chairs. Nobody missed Maisie until going home time.
"Get your coats girls," said Mrs Potter, "whose coat is this?" She held up the worn duffle coat with a torn sleeve. The girls looked at each other and giggled.

Joan said, "That's Maisie's, I'd know it anywhere."
The others nudged each other but said nothing.

"Well, where is she?" Nobody knew,"look around and find her then." said Mrs Potter and she called out Maisie’s name loudly. This set the others off, shouting and hallooing at the top of their voices. It was a new game and they joined in enthusiastically.

Maisie stirred in her cramped hideout with the noise of the hunt growing louder as the girls ran about the house. She whimpered as her dream friends faded gradually and the noise of the real world began to filter through the mist of returning consciousness.

"There she is!" Somebody grabbed her by the arm and pulled her out from behind the wardrobe. A chorus of excited voices demanded, "What have you been doing? You stupid thing! Come on - It's time to go home."

Putting on her coat just like the others, she took her place in the line of party goers, saying their ritual "Thank you for having me" at the front door.

Outside her mother waited.
"Did you have a lovely time?" Maisie smiled and nodded.
"Yes, I had a lovely party."

Her mother hurried her away, “There! I told you so. I knew you would enjoy it once you got there.”