Ohmygodohmygodohmygod. 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.
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.
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.
(The end. But not for Karen and Bill.)
Thank 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!