Opening his front door, Mr. Young held his arms open wide to the nervous, beautiful, young girl. “Ta daa! Welcome to your new home, Mathilda.”
The small, skinny girl looked around the modestly sized… House?… Cottage? It certainly wasn’t what she had been expecting. She stepped back onto the dirty sidewalk to make sure her eyes weren’t playing tricks on her. On the outside it looked like an abandoned old building but when she stepped back through the doorway the inside was a cottage exactly like she had always seen in picture books. The living room and kitchen were one large space with a dining room table separating them on hardwood floors. The kitchen looked like it could hold at least two people cooking and the table looked large enough to hold six. The living room had a large sofa, a recliner, and a rocking chair to sit in and a sturdy looking coffee table. It had a large bookcase, an entertainment center and even a fireplace.
Stepping the rest of the way in, Mathilda jumped a little bit when Mr. Young closed the door and then strolled past her. He had her suitcase and duffle bag slung over his shoulder, everything she owned in the world except for the plant she was carrying, and set them down next to the sofa. “So what do you think?” he asked expectantly while smiling warmly.
Staring around in wonder Mathilda’s dark brown eyes finally landed on Mr. Young. He was maybe 5ft 8, not exactly muscular but not fat, with plain brown hair cut simply and he couldn’t stand out less from a crowd if he tried. “You turned an apartment building into cottage?” she asked skeptically.
Mr. Young looked at his new charge in confusion for a moment before smiling again and chuckling. “An apartment building? No, no, that was just the front door. This really is a cottage, take a look outside,” he said gesturing to the window above the kitchen sink. He watched Mathilda walk over to the sink, her dark hair cut into a bob, her eyes wide in fascination, wearing a simple, white tank-top and short shorts covering her teenage body.
“Oh fuck…” Mathilda blurted out as she looked out the window then ran to the two windows in the living room and then ran to the large picture window next to the fireplace. “Is that…?”
“That’s Perdidit Glen’,” Mr. Young said, “It’s where we live. Where the cottage is.”
Mathilda stared at Mr. Young in disbelief. “But we were…” she started before running to the door and throwing it open. Instead of a dirty city street the outside was now a wide open area filled with thick green grass, a bubbling stream that spilled into a brook just possibly big enough to swim in and above that was a blue sky broken by mountains off in the distance.
“How… how are you… What the fuck?” Mathilda stammered.
Mr. Young walked up behind the young girl and patted her affectionately on her head before resting his hand on her shoulder. “The front door leads out to many different places but it always leads back here. It helps me in my work.”
“Your work? Helping girls like me?” Mathilda asked in a reverent whisper.
“Not quite like you,” Mr. Young said. “But, yep. It helps me find troubled girls or let’s them find their way here.”
“Why not like me?” Mathilda asked nervously.
Mr. Young smiled down warmly at his new charge. “The girls will come and go as they need to but you live here now, it’s your home and I’m your guardian. I’ve even got that funny paper work you people are so fond of that says so. You’ll live here with me, assist me helping the girls and if you want, sharing my bed.”