TITLE: The Underground Empire of Joseph Wunderkind
GENRE: YA Contemporary Fantasy
A few days after his fifteenth birthday, Joseph Wunderkind discovered a broom closet in the basement of his apartment building where no broom closet should be. It wasn’t that a broom closet shouldn’t be in the basement, it’s just that he hadn’t noticed this particular broom closet yesterday, or the day before that, or in all the long summers that Joseph had escaped boredom and chores through exploring the dark basement.
Oh, it wasn’t like the broom closet was obvious. Joseph had only noticed it after he tripped at the bottom of the stairwell and caught himself by leaning against the wall. When he stood, he took his hand from the wall and a thick layer of dirt and dust came with it. Beneath the grime was a door made of a highly-polished wood entirely different from the doors leading to the tenants’ storage rooms. Joseph used his jacket to wipe the rest of the door clean and found a brass plate reading BROOM CLOSET. Not the least in the strange features of the door was the fact that the hinges were on the outside. This meant that the door opened outward into the hall, as though it were designed to keep something inside from getting out rather than preventing unauthorized people from getting in. The door’s handle was inset into the wood, but didn’t open when he pulled on it. The door was locked.
Why would a broom closet be locked?