Trap Door Ignition

rug, hardwood floor, trapped, flash fictionOhmygodohmygodohmygod. Can it be? It can’t be. (Click title for first part, Trapped…?)

I release the hook to the trap door and let it slam hard on the fingers of the person who’d been knocking below my feet on the secret door.

“Ow!” the deep voice growled. “Karen, open the door!”

I stand on the half of the oriental rug that is folded near the newly found trap door. All those years of living in this house, first as a child and then returning over a year ago after my mom passed, I’d always considered this cozy abode a haven, a place to escape the chaos of the outside world. As a children’s book author, I made up fantastical stories for the young, who allowed their imaginations to roam in undiscovered lands.

But now, I’ve just discovered that there’s more to this home than a refuge and a writing retreat. Could I even stay here when ….?

“Karen! Open up! I never knew about this tunnel between our homes until 30 minutes ago. I swear! But you’ll never guess why it’s here.”

Should I trust my neighbor Bill? He certainly seemed like a nice guy. In the past year since mom died and I returned, he’s shoveled the driveway, introduced me to his sister who’s become a friend, and taken me out to dinner – twice. A spark developed, but I’m a loner and have been tamping down the temptation for ignition.Love Heart Beat - Free image on Pixabay/PublicDomainPictures

Maybe I should call 911. Or, maybe I should believe in my instincts and listen to the sweet thumping of my heart.

I pull on the hook and open the trap door.

Bill’s relieved face adds a smile as he pulls himself up onto the hallway’s wood floor. “Underground,” he pants.

“What?”

Underground Tunnel Passage Zagreb - Free photo on Pixabay/GoranH“Our homes were part of the underground railroad! I knew that escaped slaves had been hidden in the town’s neighborhoods, but never suspected they were built under our homes!”

Bill jumps up, rather sprightly for a 50-year-old, and I step back, exclaiming, “You’ve known for days though! Why’d you knock and keep me in the dark?”

Bill shakes his head. “Not me.” Then he shouts down into the darkness below the trap door. “Joey!”

An impish 10-year-old face appears at the opening of the floor. “Sorry Ms. Cavanaugh,” he says, not looking the slightest bit sorry. “My brother and I found a trap door in our house two days ago, and we followed it to Bill’s cellar, and then your mom’s – er, your – house. We knocked, not to scare you, but, ummm, to see if it would open.”

I plop down on the floor next to Bill. “We’ve got history underneath us!” I exclaim. And with a leap of my heart, I turn to Bill and hug him tightly. Match Ignition Flame - Free photo on Pixabay/jagdi

Ignition activated.

(The end. But not for Karen and Bill.)

memoir, flash memoir, flash storiesThank you to all who commented in the first half of  Trapped?  Such fabulous, original and unique guesses! I planned on using some of the ideas when I wrote the ending to the story, but instead, Karen and Bill (and Joey) whispered the ending of the trap door mystery as my pen moved.  I was hoping for a genie or gnome, a bank robber mom, an evil Bill, or even Karen’s deepest darkest secrets knocking to get out (thanks to bloggers like Nicki (Behind the Story), Marcia (The Write Stuff); Diana (Myths of the Mirror), Linda (Articulation) and so many more. But, the winner of a copy of my book, Flashes of Life, goes to Bernadette of New Classic Recipe for her supposition that the knocking was Karen’s “mother’s old alarm clock set to go off every day with a note reminding Karen to enjoy every minute of the brief time we spend on earth.” May we all hear that knocking in the trap door of our minds!

107 thoughts on “Trap Door Ignition

  1. Well that was fun, Pam. For a minute there, I expected a children’s book character or muse to be waiting to tell her a story, but your ending actually made sense! That would make a great children’s book, wouldn’t it? Love these challenges. 😀 Happy Writing!

    Liked by 4 people

    • As you may know, here in southern New England several of the homes include secret spaces that were built for escaped slaves. I guess that knowledge came out from the secret spaces in my mind as I wrote the ending! 😳 Yes it would be a great children’s book. It just so happens that yesterday my nine-year-old grandson was here all day and he insisted I start writing my third children’s book with him. But no hidden trap doors in the next one. 🙃

      Liked by 1 person

    • Wow! Thank you Kathy. I forgot that I knew (!!) that there are a number of secret spaces in the towns around here in New England that were built for escaped slaves. I’m so glad it came up as I wrote about Joey Bill and Karen. Xo

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is awesome! I was afraid for Karen at first, but that Bill is a good guy and Joey is up for the adventure of it all. I love the historical aspect of your story, too, Pam. It would thrill me to discover my house was part of the Underground Railroad. Alas, we are built on a slab. 😦

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh dear. Slab would not do. But there are a lot of old wooden Victorian homes around this area that did have secret spaces for escaped slaves. Great part of history! So glad Joey discovered them again! 😀

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    • Who knew I could find romance in a trap door? I’m a true romantic so I guess I can find it anywhere. 🙂 Thanks so much Marian. No part 3 – I’m tunneled out. Hmmm, what’s up next? My muse will tell me, hopefully. xo

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  3. A satisfying resolution with a hint of mystery about the future. I remembered enjoying Part 1 of this story two weeks ago. Could anything be more exciting than discovering a piece of history below your house?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Pete. So much of history is still covered up, literally and figuratively. The older I get, the more enthralled I am with history. After all, at some point, the way we live will be “history” as well. Thus, I have dozens of photo albums. Ha! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a great ending!

    I don’t know how wide the tunnel was, but it’s a good thing your character opened the door. A grown man might have had a hard time turning around in there and going back.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. How fun that would be to find trap doors in our houses. Growing up we had a big hole in our cellar with a huge piece of wood covering it. My mother used to tell us it was a hole that went to China. We believed her and never took the cover off by ourselves. Your story brought up that scary memory from long ago.

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    • Thank you, Ann., I know! It wasn’t the ending I expected either. I really wanted to include a genie in there. But the characters led the way, and how cool to discover part of the Underground Railroad. It’s a part of history that’s rarely seen except here in the northeast of America. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I so appreciate your comment and how you chose your words. I’m not a “scary story” reader either. And yes, that’s exactly how it is; the characters whisper in my writing ear. Thanks SO much for reading. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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  7. This is a super fun story with a lovely ending, Pam. Brilliant! You never know how helpful the underground railroad tunnel is until we need it. I was amazed so many Ukrainians hid in the WWII bomb shelters underground.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Really enjoyed that the tunnel was for the Underground Railroad!
    Also – the closing reminder is something we all need to hear again and again
    “to enjoy every minute of the brief time we spend on earth.””

    Liked by 3 people

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