1| Dust From the Ceiling

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"In the dark..and I’m right on the middle mark. I’m just in the tier of everything that rides below the surface."

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  Enoch was in his room, tinkering with his clay men and other inventions. He ignored everyone that entered his room. He ignored everyone who passed by his room.

  A cold boy indeed, Enoch was. He knew no compassion for others, nor did he know any for himself. His mind was simply set on the Dull setting. He was an intelligent boy. Though intelligence came with the price of not having a good affinity with others around him.

  He never knew whether it was because he hung around dead things all the time, or if it was that his peculiarity was frightening. Or misunderstood and unappreciated. It was more of a sadist thing than anything. Bronwym could lift ten times her weight. That was an active thing that could always be used. Olive could control fire. That was also active.

  "Enoch, it's time to hold down Emma."Miss Peregrine called. He set down his tools and cleaned his hands before rushing downstairs into the garden.

  Emma removed her lead boots just as Enoch arrived. He glared at the pale blonde as she smiled at him solemnly. Enoch tied the rope around her waist and let her fly up. Boredly, he examined the house. There were small things he never noticed.

  Like the rust on the drainage pipe. And the overgrown vines on the right of the house near the vegetable garden.

  And the one room on the very far left with the blinds closed tightly. The window seemed to have brass locks reinforcing it to keep something from bursting out.

  "Enoch!"Emma chided.

  He glanced up and lightly frowned at her angry face. Enoch slowly pulled her back down. When she put on her lead boots, Enoch abandoned her to untie the rope herself.

  He disappeared back into the house, passing Miss Peregrine by the stairs on his way up. He had never seen that window before. Never. He had never seen a 14th door on the floor of the rooms for everyone. As soon as he got onto solid ground, Enoch began to pace up and down the second floor. On a mad search.

  In his small life, he never had something this exciting to think about. It gave him a little pep in his step. And the bags under his eyes didn't feel as heavy as they usually did.

  The more he looked, the less clues he found. There was no extra door. Not a doorknob. Not a handle. Not a shadow. Nor hinges. He growled to himself and punched the wall.

  "Dinnertime!"Miss Peregrine announced.

  Enoch rushed downstairs, not wanting to get on the bad side of his caretaker. He helped set the table, which he didn't do too often. He sat down at his usual seat.

  The other peculiars took their seats and began to eat as soon as they were told. Enoch stared down at his plate, gently prodding his peas about. He didn't have the overwhelming urge to devour his entire plate. He heaved a sigh and set down his fork and watched the others until he became hungry.

  "What's wrong Enoch? You're not eating."Miss Peregrine stated.

  The boy hesitated. She had such a kind face. He didn't want it to twist up into that of a devil at his question. But Enoch was simply dying to know. As his lips parted to squeak an acknowledging noise, something bumped upstairs.

  Something not large but probably the size of an animal. Everyone stared up. It took a few lagging seconds before there was another bump, followed by a prolonged scratching noise.

  "I-Is it a hollow?"Fiona stuttered.

  Enoch frowned deeply at the thought of that. That was unlikely. Their loop had gone undetected and the only Hollow in their loop was the one that killed Victor. And Miss Peregrine disposes of it daily.

  Miss Peregrine shook her head in reply with a curt smile."Why of course not. Now eat your greens."She urged.

  The boy crossed his arms and examined the woman at the base of the table. She fidgeted a lot now. Not with her typical calm demeanor. Dust fell onto the table from the ceiling.

  Enoch decided it was proper time to pop the cork off the bottle.

  "Miss Peregrine, is there someone else in this house?"

  He stared intently at her as she paused in the middle of cutting a square of meat. She cracked a glitching smile and looked up at the boy.

  "Of course not. I would've told you all."She insisted.

  Enoch dangerously pressed further into the matter at hand. "When I was outside in the garden, I noticed another window. It was padlocked. Like there was something in the room that you didn't want to escape."He said slowly, inching over the table with every word.

  She slammed her fist on the table violently, making a loud thump. The dishes clattered in fear and the food scattered off the plates.

  Enoch froze in place. Hugh hiccuped a bee in his shock. Miss Peregrine released a sigh, relaxing her hands. She placed them in her lap and closed her eyes, taking several deep breaths. When she opened her eyes, she looked up at the ceiling. Miss Peregrine looked back down at the children, ignoring Enoch as her gaze raked the table.

  "There is another peculiar living in this house."

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