For days I’d heard the soft knocking that I couldn’t place. Had Rocky returned? Last year I named the large woodpecker that pecked on my living room window, “Rocky.” I finally googled what to do about birds who nearly kill themselves knocking on windows, and I closed the curtain for two months until the light changed the reflection. I haven’t seen Rocky since.
But still. Knock Knock. Knock. A light tapping.
One day I ask my neighbor Bill to check it out, and he rattles every door and window in my small two-story house. He checks the attic and the batteries in the smoke alarms. “Karen, there is absolutely nothing wrong here,” he declares.
But he never hears the knocking, which resumes ten minutes after Bill leaves.
Today, I deftly take my shoes off and walk softly and smoothly over my mom’s oriental rugs that she bequeathed me when she died. In fact, she left the entire house to me, and I know every nook and cranny.
Aha! As my foot lands on the long hallway rug I feel a slight dip. Strange, I never noticed that before. I roll the rug up halfway, just noting the beauty of these old hardwood floors. However, nothing shows but a little dust.
I roll the rug a bit more, and gasp.
The wood floor is lighter at this spot with a square seam noticeable as if detailing a small flattened door. What the….?
And then it happens again. Knock. Knock. Knock. And with each Knock, the floor rises a tiny, tiny bit. Almost imperceptibly.
My fingers touch the seam, which I realize is not wood, but a hard metal material, like iron. Knock. Knock.
My finger catches a tiny hook at the edge of the square.
Knockknockknockknock. The sound is faster, louder. Insistent.
I begin to pull the hook, and then I think of every scary movie I’ve ever seen where I shout, “WHAT MORON GOES INTO A DARKENED BASEMENT?” Or in my case now, a mysterious trap door in an old house.
I quickly release my hand and flee out the front door like the smart woman I am.
But why? After all, this is my house.
I walk determinedly back through the door, down to the hallway, and pull that hook as fast and hard as I can. Oh my god. Ohmygodohmygodohmygod. Can it be? It can’t be.