The Boy of Many Hats

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Luke was bored.  Bored, bored and bored some more.  Summer had finally arrived and after months of talking and planning, in a noisy school cafeteria, it was time to begin those plans; However, The rain had its own plans.

“Mom I need something to do again!” cried Luke from the couch in the living room.

”Play your favorite computer game.”  Mom said, from her workspace in the den.

“I already did that!” sighed Luke to no one in particular. I need an adventure! he thought.

He looked around the room. Nothing really to start an adventure here, maybe upstairs?  He climbed down from the couch and headed up the stairs, lifting his legs high, as if mountain-climbing on rocks.  He dropped to his knees at the landing and crawled up on his belly.  When he reached the top, he peered to his left, then slowly to his right, then quickly to his left, then straight up to the ceiling.  There was a door!  A door in the ceiling! What secrets lie behind such a mystery?  A smirk rolled across his lips.  He scanned the hallway for something to stand on, but could not find anything that would get him high enough to reach the handle.

“Mom!” he shouted at the top of his lungs, making the cat that had joined him on the top landing jump.

“Luke, I am really busy doing some work here,” she replied. He thought she sounded annoyed, but this could not wait!

“I just need you to open this door,” he shouted, louder than before, hoping the urgency in his voice would command his mother to come running.

He heard the stomping of feet.  Clomp, clomp, and clomp.  He crouched down behind the post rail and waited to pounce.

“Gotcha!” he shouted, as his mother placed her left foot on the top landing.

“Ahhhhhh!  Let go!” she screamed.  “Don’t you ever do that to me again young man. You frightened me to death!”

“Could you please, please, open that door up there,” he said, pointing to the ceiling. “I promise not to bug ya anymore.”

“Alright, but no more interruptions this afternoon,” she said, pulling the handle down on the trap door – releasing a staircase that dropped like a spaceship ladder.

“Cooooool!” said Luke.

“Behave,” said Mom as she headed down the stairs.

The attic was dark.  He waited for his eyes to adjust.  He saw shadows of boxes, row upon row, piled high to the ceiling. To his right looked like the shape of a headless human.  He crawled towards this odd thing on his hands and knees. BAM! His head hit something – it was hard and plastic, with a rim all around. He removed it.

“Wow, a firefighter’s helmet,” he whispered.  Adjusting the new hat onto his head again, he smelled something. SMOKE! Turning around, flames shot up the rear wall of the attic.

“Fire!” he tried to scream, but a hose appeared in his hands.  A blast of water shot though, pushing him backwards.  The flames sizzled and turned to thick dark clouds.  Luke held on to the hose flopping back and forth in his hands like the garden snakes he used to catch. The hat fell off as he struggled and just as suddenly as they appeared, the flames were gone.

“Whoa!” said Luke under his breath.

His eyes spied something shiny and white on the floor in front of the wall that was on fire – it was a safari helmet.  It had a wide brim and seemed heavier than the previous helmet.  In the corner of the attic, he heard a low, rumbling sound.  He squinted and make out the shape in the dark corner where the noise was. Two eyes met his – red, shiny and staring back at him. The rumbling turned into a growl, then a roar, and now the eyes were moving towards him, very quickly!  He fell backwards. Teeth – enormous, shiny white, pointy teeth. AND BAD BREATH! Leaping out of the dark corner was a tiger!  Luke gulped loudly, as it lunged towards him. Colliding against the back wall, the helmet fell off.  The tiger was gone!

“Way cool,” he whispered.

He was still trying to catch his breath. KAPOW!  It felt like a bomb had exploded in the attic.  Looking over his shoulder, rows and rows of soldiers stood where the boxes had been.  On his head sat an army helmet made out of green camouflage material.

“General!” a voice shouted in his ear. “We need instructions. The enemy is surrounding us!”

“What are you?” Luke stammered.

“Orders sir, we need orders or we will be captured!” the phantom soldier exclaimed.


Luke dropped to the floor, waiting for another explosion.  All he could hear was heavy breathing. It was his own. He peered from under his arms that were covering his head, but once again, there was only the darkness of the attic.  Seeing a small ray of light from the trapdoor, he crawled on his belly to it.

“Luke,” a voice whispered.

Where was it coming from?  It seemed to be in the direction of the wall where the flames had appeared earlier. He changed direction and headed to the wall again, but boxes were in his way.  They were stacked row upon row, almost four levels high. Struggling to move one pile aside, a hole appeared in the floor.  A miner’s hat with a lamp on the top, sat beside the hole.  He put it on, turned on the light, and down the hole he went.  There was a slight incline as he crawled down the shaft.  The light from the hat shone only a few feet in front.  Ledges appeared to the left and right, with strange eyes shining from them.  Winged creatures sat glumly watching him.  They looked prehistoric and not one resembled any of the birds in his back yard.

“Luke,” that voice called again.

Where is it coming from? he thought. Turning around in the cramped space, he scampered upwards back to the attic.

“Luke. Luke!” Louder and louder the voice grew in volume.

His head popped up between the boxes to see his mother standing by the trapdoor bathed in light from a bulb in the attic ceiling.

“Where have you been?” she asked.

“Mom, you’re not going to believe the things that have been happening to me up here!”

“Really?” she laughed. “Let’s get out of this dusty attic and make some lunch.”

“Peanut butter and jam?”

“OK, anything you want,” she said holding out her arms for a hug.

He ran into them, dropping the hat with the broken light he had been holding.

As they climbed down the ladder and Mom locked the handle to the attic door, he took one last look up towards the ceiling and thought,  I bet there are more adventures waiting for me up there. I hope it rains all summer!

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Rating: 8.68/10. From 95 votes.
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- Total nr. of readings: 6,825 Copyright © The author [2020] All Rights Reserved. This story may not be reproduced without the express written permission of the author except for personal use.

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5 thoughts on “The Boy of Many Hats

  1. Jennie Wittenbach

    Imaginative and just like a boy of a certain age! Short, too, but the author got a lot in in a short space! Just one boo-boo: the word “shiny” has only one n!

    1. David Snowdon

      several more spelling mistakes or rather wrong words there but overall it was good as a short story for kids goes. A blast of water shot THROUGH not though. In front of the wall that HAD been on fire not WAS on fire, he had put the fire out.


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