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Nina pulled the cord and stood carefully aside, half convinced she would be pummeled by a ladder.  The old house was new with unlearned quirks and surely death was lurking around every corner.  Or a splinter.  Either way.  The ladder unfurled and landed gently on the floor.

Paper mask securely in place and dish gloves on, Nina climbed the ladder.  The attic was larger than expected, lit by a dim window on either side.  Boxes and trunks.  Stands littered with old coats like wet leaves.  On every surface, enough dust to write your name in.  Nina was glad for the mask.  At every step, the floorboards wheezed out the layers of settled time.

There was a whole life there, tucked away and forgotten.  China dolls, kitchen clutter, papers kept and never needed.  Nina poked about at this and that, feeling the intruder to someone else’s treasure.  Ali Baba all over again.  Withered shoes and chicken wire, a box of hat-pins awaiting long-lost hats.  It was all a bit overwhelming.

What on earth am I going to do with all of this?  The previous owner had passed away, the family off to other places.  By contract, it was hers, the house and contents purchased.  The others had washed their hands.  And now space was needed for other things.  Still, seemed wrong to just throw it away.

Nina sat herself down in an old wood rocking chair to think.  The floorboards accompanied the sway.  Otherwise silent moments.  And all at once the idea hatched.  I’ll have a rummage sale. 

She looked about, setting prices and staging in her head.  The biggest trouble would be getting it all downstairs.  But it’s all downhill from there.  What’s of interest will find a new home, what’s truly junk will toss.  Nina stretched her bones and relaxed into the rocker.

Except this, she thought, this I’ll keep… and maybe that wardrobe… and a coat stand could be awfully useful…