Even though I just now found a new problem with the house, my mind started to drift off about where Darren was, making up new possibilities and scenarios about where he could have gone. He was doing work on the first floor. Perhaps he heard something falling apart in the basement and went downstairs to check it out. He saw the erosion and wood situation, then headed on out of the house to order more resources without me noticing. Darren always had good judgment when it came to problem solving and things like that. It was a sound theory, and it would be something that he did.
But there was still this gut feeling that something just didn’t add up.
Anxious to see if my ideas were on the right track, I went on my phone and called Darren again. It took a moment for the call to go through, considering the fact that I was underground, but the dial tone finally came on. My mind started playing tricks on me, imagining that I was hearing the sound of a phone’s ringtone going off nearby. I stayed on the line, hoping that Darren would eventually pick up. Unfortunately, he didn’t—his voicemail box came on, and I hung right up.
“Damn it,” I huffed under my breath. “Still nothing. Where the hell is this guy?” I checked my phone to see if I may have received a text from him without realizing it, but nothing new occurred on my phone for quite some time. I noticed the time on the screen, 12:47pm. Trying to keep my wits and faith about, I planned on giving Darren another hour to contact me or return to the house before contacting the others to see if they’ve heard from him.
Continuing my examination of the basement I went back to the wall and looked at the new hole where the brick was. As I got closer to it, the was a faint white light coming from the other side. It seemed to be covered by something, preventing the entire light from spreading out more. The musky scent of the basement was slowly overpowered by a traveling whiff of warm iron. I squinted to try and see if I could make out anything on the other side of the wall, but nothing stood out. I tired to get my phone light shining in but its reach wasn’t long enough to reach out ahead. The only thing I could make out was there was another room in the basement. The only thing was, there was no door that lead to it. An obvious solution would have been to break down the wall since it was already eroded away. It wouldn’t have been too much trouble. But at the same time, there was some kind of light coming from the other side, meaning that there must have been some kind of way to get there and go around the wall.
I followed up and down the length of the wall. All the way on the far right was another hatch, like the one I saw on the second floor ceiling.
What the hell is a hatch doing here?
It was a plain, wooden hatch with metal latches keeping it from opening. Although it was in a rather odd spot, it was big enough for a person to squeeze through if they crawled inside. It seemed like the longer I walked around this house, the more secrets I uncovered that the realtor never mentioned or hinted at; there’s no way a person could sell a house without knowing its entire ownership history. And on top of that, I was curious about the family who owned the house before. Why did they have all of this extra stuff installed? The only way I could find out was by going through that hatch.
I grabbed the small handle on the hatch, pulling it down with ease. The hinges cried and creaked out, most likely rusty on the inside. I brought my phone down and flashed the light inside.
“Time to see where this leads.”
Copyright © 2019 by Luka Tatsujo