The Secret of Molly-Anne Fingus

by Kerrie Clements
2nd March 2021

Molly-Anne was in the games room. She had been watching the raindrops run down the window for the past ten minutes, occasionally tracing it down with her finger, which made lines in the condensation. But now she was bored. She hopped off the armchair and stood on one leg, then pulled up her sock. Then she stood on the other leg and pulled her other sock up. ‘Lizzie, I’m so bored, let’s play a game!’ she whined. Lizzie was sitting on the floor doing a jigsaw, ‘I’m doing my puzzle, Molly!’ Molly-Anne scrunched up her face. ‘Well, I shall go and see if Tommy wants to play instead then’. She said, knowing full well that Lizzie liked Tommy. But Lizzie didn’t care today, she was far too busy doing her jigsaw to be bothered about chasing boys. She stuck her tongue out at Molly-Anne.

Molly-Anne Fingus was an energetic ten-year-old (who would argue that she was almost eleven!) with an incredibly short attention span. She’d had a tough start to life. Her parents died when she was a baby, and she now lived in an orphanage. But that didn’t stop her from enjoying herself, and she was one of the star pupils in her class. Molly-Anne had always longed for a sister. She knew she had Lizzie, but she wanted more than a best friend. She wanted someone who would be there for her, no matter what. Someone who would not hide behind their possessions and be themselves around her. Molly-Anne had brown hair which was styled in a short bob and brown eyes. She wasn’t very tall and almost always wore trousers. In the orphanage, they didn’t get many new clothes anyway. Lizzie Karcher was her best friend and she had beautiful, long blonde hair, which was always neatly brushed, and she wore a headband and some pretty clips. She was a girl who loved the sound of her own voice, and she loved being the centre of attention. She always wore beautiful dresses because she had some distant family outside of the orphanage who sent items in for her. Sometimes it made Molly a little jealous, but she was still her best friend. 

‘Hi, Tommy! Do you want to play a game with me?’ asked Molly-Anne as she walked into the library, where Tommy Folds was reading a comic. Tommy shook his head, ‘Sorry Molly, I am halfway through this really good Batman story!’ Molly-Anne felt sad. She walked out of the library with her head hung down low and her shoulders slumped. As she came out into the hallway, Lizzie was coming up from the games room. ‘Molly, are you alright? I have finished my jigsaw come and see!’ Lizzie bounded back down the hallway, and Molly-Anne followed. Lizzie had done a huge Disney princess jigsaw. ‘Wow Lizzie, that’s cool!’ Molly-Anne said with wide eyes. ‘Come on, Molly. Shall we go on an adventure? I have heard a really scary story about the abandoned house down the street!’ Lizzie said excitedly.

The girls ran to their dormitory, Molly-Anne put on her favourite jumper, which had red, blue, green and yellow spots on it. She put her raincoat and her wellies on and grabbed her scarf just in case. Lizzie also put on a jumper, a raincoat, and her wellies. She didn’t like scarves. She always said that she felt like they were strangling her. The girls ran downstairs. Just as they were nearing the front door of the orphanage, Mrs Hardiman came out of the dining room. ‘Girls! Where are you two going? It’s almost lunch! Go and get washed and cleaned up immediately, please’. Mrs Hardiman said, sternly. She had a very cross face; she always had a very cross face. Mrs Hardiman went past the girls and headed into the kitchen. The girls pretended to head upstairs, but when they were certain she had gone into the kitchen and wasn’t coming back out, they snuck out of the door.

The rain was pouring down, and it was freezing. Molly-Anne put her scarf on straight away. They pulled up their hoods and began to make their way down the street. The girls were having a great time. They were splashing in puddles, catching the raindrops on their tongues, singing, and dancing. Suddenly, Lizzie stopped dancing and stood still, Molly-Anne stopped too and asked, ‘Lizzie? What’s wrong?’ ‘This is the place’. Lizzie replied, staring up at a huge, old, and decrepit building. Molly-Anne looked up at the house. The bricks that were probably once white were now grey and covered in moss. Wooden panels covered each window, but it was easy to see through the gaps in the panels that the glass was broken on most of the panes. ‘This place is a mess! Lizzie, I don’t think we should go in there’. said Molly-Anne, cautiously. ‘Come on, Molly! Don’t be a scaredy-cat!’ Lizzie said, running off up the garden path of the run-down house. ‘Lizzie! Wait for me!’ Molly-Anne shouted after her, as she began to follow.

‘Come on, there’s a loose board on a window around the back’ Lizzie whispered as she led the way around to the back of the property. ‘How do you know? How did you even find out about this place Lizzie?’ Asked Molly-Anne, curiously. Lizzie tapped the side of her nose and moved one of the boards from in front of a window. She signalled to Molly-Anne to head inside and put her finger to her lips, meaning they needed to be quiet. Molly-Anne was not happy at all, but she did as she was told. She didn’t want to look weak or scared in front of her much cooler best friend. Lizzie followed her in. They were in an old kitchen. The room was dark, damp and smelly. ‘What are we even doing here?’ whispered Molly-Anne. ‘I heard that up in the attic of this house, there’s a mirror that can tell the future! I want to find it, Molly. I want to know if I’ll ever be famous!’ Lizzie giggled quietly and motioned for them to carry on moving. The kitchen had a worn-out tiled floor, and wallpaper that was peeling in lots of places. The ceiling was stained yellow and had wet patches, where Molly-Anne could only presume that the upstairs plumbing had leaked through. 

The girls walked through a hallway. The floorboards were creaking loudly underneath the stained, threadbare carpet, and this made Molly-Anne really nervous. ‘Lizzie, what if there’s someone in here? I think we should leave’, she said, her voice quivering. ‘Don’t chicken out on me now, Molly. Come on. Oh, wow, look at that!’ Lizzie exclaimed. She was pointing at some paintings hanging on the wall, in what looked to be an old living room. There were two of them, both portraits. One of an old woman and one of an old man. Molly-Anne didn’t like them at all. She thought they were spooky, and their eyes seemed to follow her as she entered the room. ‘These must have been the old house owners; I wonder what happened to them?’ Lizzie commented, having a closer look at the portraits. The old woman in the picture looked familiar to Molly-Anne. She didn’t like looking at her for too long because it creeped her out, but it certainly resembled someone she had met. She just couldn’t put her finger on who it was. In the living room, the furniture was covered with sheets that were probably once a bright white colour, but now they were covered in dust and dirt.

The friends headed back out of the room and into the hallway again. It was time for them to go upstairs. Every single step creaked and moaned under their feet as they climbed up. At the top, there was another long hallway to the right with multiple rooms on either side. But the room Lizzie was interested in was right above them. They crept down the hallway to where there was a ceiling hatch. The girls could see they needed a long pole to enable them to unhook the lock. Suddenly, a noise came from downstairs. It sounded like footsteps on wood, possibly in the living room, as the kitchen had a different type of floor. The girls panicked and ran to the nearest door. It looked like a child’s bedroom. The girls hid underneath the bed, they were frightened. Even Lizzie was shaking. They could smell a horrible stench coming from the carpet in here, and with their noses being so close to the ground, it was making Molly-Anne heave. After about ten minutes, which felt more like a decade, the girls heard no more noise and decided to come out from under the bed. Molly-Anne looked at Lizzie and smirked, ‘I wasn’t at all frightened then, you know! I was just making sure you weren’t on your own. I know how much of a scaredy-cat you can be, Molly!’ Lizzie remarked, pulling a face and dusting the dirt off her tights, which were covered in muddy water anyway. 

Molly-Anne wasn’t really paying attention, she was looking at all of the stuff that hadn’t been covered up. ‘I wonder why all of this stuff has been left uncovered. Every other room has sheets over everything’ Molly-Anne muttered to herself. ‘Let’s get out of here, it smells funny’, Lizzie suggested. Molly-Anne followed Lizzie out of the room, but she had a very strange feeling that she just couldn’t explain. Out in the hallway, the girls noticed the atmosphere felt completely different from before. ‘We need to find the pole for the attic’. Lizzie insisted. ‘What? Are you crazy? Lizzie, we need to go home!’ Molly-Anne replied. But Lizzie was already opening another door, ‘Here! This looks like a storage cupboard Molly!’ Lizzie said, excitedly. She was fumbling around trying to find a light switch. Just then the whole contents of the cupboard came tumbling forward off the shelves. Lizzie screamed as she fell and was hit by buckets, mops, boxes, and everything else that you would normally not imagine to be crammed into such a small space! Molly-Anne jumped backwards, mainly to get out of the way but also because it startled her. Lizzie began to get up off the floor. She wanted to cry, but she wanted to look tough in front of Molly-Anne. ‘Lizzie, are you alright?’ asked Molly-Anne. ‘I’m better than alright, Molly! Look what I found!’ Replied Lizzie, holding up a long, wooden pole with a hook on the end.

Lizzie held the pole at the end, she wasn’t very tall, and neither was Molly-Anne, but she was able to carefully unhook the lock. The hatch door swung down, and some ladders began to slowly drop from the attic. Suddenly, there was a loud scream from downstairs. The girls were rooted to the spot. Molly-Anne made the first move. She scrambled up the ladder, followed closely by Lizzie. ‘Why are we up here Molly? What were you thinking?’ Whispered Lizzie, angrily. ‘I had no choice! We can’t go downstairs because there is definitely someone down there, that was a real scream, Lizzie!’ Molly-Anne explained, in a hushed voice. ‘Shh! Someone is coming!’ she continued. The girls were still, and they could hear footsteps below. There was another noise. It sounded like something was being dragged up the stairs. Molly-Anne acted fast, she pulled up the ladder and shut the hatch, locking it from the inside. ‘There’s more than one person. This is bad. I am so sorry Molly. We should have gone home when you said!’ Lizzie began to cry. Molly-Anne cradled her best friend. She had never seen this side of Lizzie before. She was truly frightened and showing her weak side was something Lizzie never did.

The attic was huge. There was a little light coming in from a window that hadn’t been boarded up. Most of the items had been covered up with sheets, some boxes hadn’t been, but they were sealed shut with brown tape. Then Lizzie spotted something. Hidden in the corner of the room behind some stacked up boxes, there was a familiar shape covered in a sheet. ‘Molly! It’s the mirror!’ Lizzie whispered, excitedly. Molly-Anne helped Lizzie move the boxes out of the way, but as Molly-Anne picked one up, the bottom fell out. She crouched down to try and clean up the items that had dropped out of the box, but she couldn’t help but be a little nosey. It was mainly paperwork, which Molly-Anne didn’t understand and found very boring. But then she noticed some photos. ‘They were a family’ Molly-Anne said quietly to Lizzie, who was now crouching next to her. In the photos, there was what looked like a family. The mother and father were the people from the portraits downstairs, but a lot younger, and a baby wrapped up in a blanket. Molly-Anne flipped over the photograph, ‘Daniel, Abigail, and M…’ Molly-Anne began to read the words but stopped. Tears formed in her eyes. She handed the photo to Lizzie. ‘Daniel, Abigail, and Molly-Anne Fingus. Oh, my goodness! Molly, these are your parents!’ Lizzie said, staring at her friend, who was sobbing. ‘Molly, was this your house?’ Lizzie asked. But Molly-Anne had no idea. She had lived at Mrs Finch’s Orphanage for as long as she could remember. ‘Mrs Hardiman always said that I was taken to them by social services when my parents died. I was a baby, almost new-born. But this doesn’t make sense, Lizzie. If my parents died shortly after this photo was taken, how are they looking so old in the portraits downstairs?’ Mollie-Anne asked. ‘One thing that does make sense though, when we first saw those portraits, I knew I had seen the woman somewhere before. Now I know how I recognised her, I dream about her all of the time, Lizzie’. She continued.

Suddenly, a croaky, old, and haggard voice came from below the hatch. ‘Molly-Anne, I know you’re up there, I can smell you. I knew you would come home eventually!’ The girls looked at each other, they were petrified. ‘What are we going to do? We can’t open the hatch, that thing knows your name and does not sound human at all!’ Lizzie said. Molly-Anne could tell she was worried. ‘What about the window? It isn’t boarded up, let’s see if we can smash it with something’. Molly-Anne responded. Lizzie grabbed the wooden pole that she had used to open the lock on the hatch. The hook on the end was metal, it was worth a shot. She stood back from the window and swung with all her might. The hook hit the top corner of the windowpane, and it caused a huge crack to form from the top of the window to the bottom. The hatch began to shake violently, and the voice coming through it was getting more irritated by the second. Molly-Anne grabbed a huge, heavy book and threw it hard at the cracked window. It smashed. Lizzie climbed out first. There was a thin ledge, which stretched the whole length of the house. She stood to the side of the window and helped Molly-Anne climb out. The rain was lashing down now, and Molly-Anne had lost her scarf. The ground seemed a very long way down. The girls tried not to look down as they edged along the ledge towards the drainpipe. Just then, there was a loud crashing noise from inside the attic. The girls moved quicker. Lizzie reached the drainpipe. Luckily, she had done this before on her previous adventures. She was able to ignore the fact that she had a dress on and shimmy her way down to the safety of the ground. Molly-Anne, however, had not been on such adventures and was very nervous. Suddenly, an old, withered head that Molly-Anne recognised popped out of the broken window. It was her mother, or at least, it used to be. She was grinning at Molly-Anne. Her teeth were yellow and crooked, and most of them were missing. This was enough to make Molly-Anne grab hold of the drainpipe. Seconds later, she was on the ground, and the girls ran home.

Later that evening, the girls were eating dinner with the other children. They hadn’t told anyone about what had happened, but Molly-Anne presumed Lizzie would tell Tommy to make her look really brave. Molly-Anne finished her plate and asked if she could leave the table. She made her way up to the girl’s dormitory. Lizzie followed. ‘Are you alright, Molly?’ asked Lizzie as they sat on Molly-Anne’s bed. ‘Yes, Lizzie. I just can’t get my head around any of it’. Molly-Anne said as she pulled out the photo of her parents from her pocket. It was a bit soggy, so she put it on the top of the radiator to dry out. ‘I want to go back, Lizzie. I need to go back; I have so many questions, and I think I can find the answers there’. ‘We will go back, Molly. I promise’. Lizzie replied, hugging Molly-Anne. Just then, a feeling passed through both girls. For the first time in their lives, they felt as one. Molly-Anne finally felt as though she had not only a best friend, but a sister.


The End