Huge Problem – The HOUSE – 36

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( Continuation – Read “Back Underground” first )

Then it stroke me.

I clang to the rail and just stood there in disbelief. How in the world didn’t I think of that?

“What’s wrong?” The young man was still admiring his piece of art imprinted on the chewing gum.

“We are screwed.” I never used that word before, but it just came out of my mouth.

Phillip gazed in my face, still happy about his newest accomplishment. “I don’t understand.”

I couldn’t wrap my head around of what we’ve done without taking any precautions. “I’m sure these guys, whoever they are, have cameras all over the basement and they know we are here. They will report us to the police.”

That was a surprise to my neighbor, as well. I could see him getting nervous, and he bit his lips. Then he made a sign to move forward. But I didn’t want to go upstairs. I wanted to go back.

I passed by him and rushed down the stairs to the poolroom. Maybe I was wrong and the owners didn’t have cameras. But I needed to see and prepare myself for what to expect.

If I wouldn’t have been that stressed out, I could have sworn I heard the door we’ve tried to open, hitting the wall. But because of my erratic state of mind at that moment, I couldn’t guarantee that was what happened. The door was closed.

Phillip was one step behind me.

Then my heart fell into my stomach. There were at least four cameras on the ceiling, one in each corner. How brainless was I to put us in such a mess?

All my life I stayed out of trouble. I taught my son to be a man of good character, to tell the truth, to respect other people’s property and the laws, and here I was becoming a criminal.

Our clothes were still dripping water on the floor and I was cold, so cold.

Phillip placed his hands on his hips and started pacing up and down.

“What now?”

( To be continued )

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Wave Breakers – The HOUSE – 34

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(Continuation – Read “The HOUSE -33” first )

While resting to gain my strength, my neighbor went on a scout. He swam to the end of the blocks and managed to get out of the water.

These constructions built from the shore to some length into the ocean were open for the public most of the time. But when the waves were too big or during high tides, the lifeguards on duty kept the people away. Otherwise, audacious tourists liked to take a chance to climb and walk all the way to the end.

 

I pulled myself up on another rock to try to see the shore. I couldn’t recognize the cottages afar. If we came on a straight line from the house to the ocean, the closest way to get to the water was under the street ending with a couple of palm trees. I looked for the palm trees and they were pretty far, at the end of the sidewalk.

From that point further there were the cottages with a semi private shore. I’ve never been there before.

Then I remembered.

 

There was one time when soon-to-be my ex took me to a beach party a while ago. It was dark when we got there and I couldn’t recognize the house, but it was on this beach, on the outskirts of Newport. When we got there, a few couples had had already too much to drink and looked overjoyed to see us. One man seemed sober though, my ex’s new business partner, as my ex introduced him to me.

“Phillip, ” I called as I saw the young man swimming back. “Did you find anything?”

“I don’t know.” He blew his nose and held on to the rock near me. “Everything looks normal, but one thing.”

I waited.

“Someone took the time to paint the end of the blocks in white.” He paused and waved his hand. “Anyway, maybe this is the norm and they do it to every construction, ” he continued.

“How about when you go surfing?” I asked. “Do you remember any of these blocks in Newport Beach being painted?” My question didn’t bring too much light. “I don’t remember. I don’t do surfing at the end of the wave breakers, but between them.”

Great! After the ordeal I went through trying to stay alive while swimming under the water, we had more questions than answers.

“What now?”

The man let his body in the water and called. “We go back.”

-To be continued –

In the Tunnel – The HOUSE – 31

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-Continuation- (Read “The Tunnel” first)

“Where does this tunnel go?” And the man walked in the channel. The ceiling was too low for him to stand and he started swimming.

“What are you doing?” I didn’t like he was leaving me behind.

“Come, we’ll get to the end of this.”

There were only two options: to follow him or go back by myself.

“Is it safe?” My questions didn’t seem to bother him.

The man stopped and waited for me. “Do you really think that we are in danger or something? I mean, to be attacked?”

That was a wild thought, “to be attacked.” I had no idea.

“Maybe it’s not out business to do this. We should call the Police,” I said.

“And say what? That we trespassed in somebody else’s house and wander around ? Come on!”

The darkness and the narrow space made my heart skip a beat. “I hope there is enough air.”

The young man took my hand. “We’ll be fine.”

In a few moments it was pitch dark, but we kept advancing. We walked on ground for a while until it changed in sand. “We are close to the beach. Maybe we are ending up in somebody’s basement.” My joke was out of place.

“I have the feeling that this tunnel is illegal,” my neighbor spoke out loud.

We were in the water for at least 5-6 minutes now. I was sure we were going toward the ocean. Walking on the street from Adam’s place to the shore would take about 3-4 minutes. Dragging ourselves through the water might take a few minutes longer. All of a sudden I felt the ocean breeze coming in. Then I felt the first waves, slowly in the beginning, and increasing its strength, as we kept moving ahead.

“Do you know how to swim?” Phillip asked.

“I think I can survive,” I assured him, but deep inside I was scared to death.

 

Why was I there? Wasn’t my life complicated enough not to

make it unbearable now getting into things that were not supposed to be my concern?

Unfortunately, there was no way to go back by myself.

“Phillip, we should go back,” I tried in a normal voice, but the squeal in my tone didn’t help.

-To be continued –

The Tunnel – The HOUSE -30

new water channel in Ravne Tunnel Labyrinth, April 30, 2015

FOR A MOMENT I thought the new owner was a swimming enthusiast. But then I saw something strange. At the end of the area where the pool edges shrunk into the tunnel, there was a boat.

I walked to the far end to see if I could get into the tunnel without stepping into the water. Eh, that was impossible. I took a tour around the pool on the narrow path to another door I didn’t see in the beginning. I tried to open it, but it was locked. Weird as it was, the space in front of it was wet, sign that somebody or something was there not long ago.

I knocked. “Is anybody here?”

Then I heard Phillip barging in the room. His face dropped. “What is this?” He saw me staring at him. “This is new to me, you know. Mom never put a pool under the house.”

He moved a few steps to the water. “And what is this? A connecting tunnel?”

“A connecting tunnel to what?” I asked.

Next second, the man left his sandals on the pavement and dove into the water. “I’ll check it out.”

For my amazement, the pool wasn’t deep. The water came up to Phillip’s waist. “Are you coming?” he asked waving his hand. “No, I’ll just wait here,” I said, but immediately changed my mind while speaking. It didn’t matter that I got wet since I lived next-door. I slipped into the pool and followed my neighbor to the tunnel. “We need a light,” he mumbled. “Maybe the tunnel is lighted,” I replied pretty concerned to be left behind. The man reached to the boat and searched under the two benches. He pulled out a bag. “What’s this?” he talked to himself and opened it. There was an empty glass bottle, the ones you could find in a pharmacy in the past. “Let me see,” I asked and took it from his hand. The lid was wet. I opened it and a strong smell of chloroform stung my nose.

“Gosh! You can put to sleep a horse with this smell.” Phillip didn’t bother. He looked at the two paddles on the boat’s floor. “These are pretty new.”

You could see where the engine used to be. “They don’t use an engine,” I said, and that caught Phillip’s attention. “I wonder why…” “Maybe it broke. Or maybe they don’t want to make noise,” I continued.

-to be continued-

The Basement – The HOUSE -29

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I heard the helicopter of the Police circling in the air somewhere near by. Nothing new for this area. With the exception of the towel I saw on the floor and the disappearance of it, and of a faded smell of some chemical, everything else looked all right to me. But I wanted to take full advantage of this visit and get answers about the few things I’ve perceived being out of place in the last hours since I’ve moved on the Peninsula.

So, I dared.

“Phillip, maybe we should go in the basement.”

The young man came out from one of the rooms with something that looked like a small knife.

“I didn’t know mom held to this for such a long time. Gosh! The blade is almost gone.”

“Where did you find it?” I moved toward him to see. “Do you want to keep it?”

“This belonged to my grandpa. It was handmade.” My neighbor didn’t answer to any of my questions and went back to check for more stuff.

I could tell he was pretty moved going through a past time when he was a little boy with his mama.

I took on a small hall and then down the stairs. Interesting. From a particular level underground, there was a new addition of stairs. The concrete looked new and there was a barely perceptive line on the wall from where the new steps were added. I kept going down for way more than only to getting to a regular basement. There was no switch for lights and I held to the wall to make sure I don’t trip.

There was a door at the end of the stairs and the moment I opened it, the smell of chemical grew in intensity. I didn’t dare to take another step until I checked the wall to turn some lights on. They were not hard to find and when I turned the switch I was speechless.

There was a pool covering the whole area and continuing in a tunnel at the end of the building.

CHECK THIS OUT.

The Side Door – The HOUSE -27

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He went through his pocket and pulled up a bunch of keys. “Here it is. I’m sure mom’s old keys would work just fine.”

I followed him, biting in one of my nails. “Did your mom have a dog? A black dog?” I asked from behind. Phillip reached the front gate that was unlocked and stepped in the narrow yard. “No. Actually, we had a dog when I was little, but he passed away long ago. Why do you ask?” He jiggled the key in the keyhole. “This might take a little wile,” he continued not waiting for my answer. I was curious. “Why?”

But right that second, I heard the “click.”

“You did it,” I said ready to get in the house.

The man pushed the handle, but the door didn’t open.

“What’s wrong with it?” He leaned his shoulder into the door to force it. In vain.

“Maybe it didn’t unlock properly,” I suggested. That idea only made things worst. I heard Phillip curse. “Don’t tell me how to unlock my own door.” When he looked at me, I saw he was sorry for the burst of anger. “Forgive me, I shouldn’t take this on you.”

“It’s all right.”

I let him deal with the door and walked to the back of the house. There was a lot of old stuff and construction items pilled on top of each other, chairs, shelves, timber and I managed to make my way alongside the wall. There was a side door I’ve never seen before because of the heap of stuff. I tried it. It was locked.

Phillip was still trying to figure it out why the front door wouldn’t open, even though it was unlocked.

“Maybe something inside it’s blocking it,” I said coming closer. “Hey, listen, do you happen to have a key for the side door?”

My neighbor gave up on his project and walked by me to the door I was talking about.

“I don’t have the key, but I know where to find it.”

He stretched his arm to get his hand in the gutter on top of the door. “We kept this door locked all the time. Here is the key.”

The key was covered in rust. “It will be a miracle if this would work,” I commented. Phillip didn’t mind my words. He started whistling, as the door cracked with a sound.

“What were you saying, Sophie?”

The House -11-

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“I should go and see what that is,” I thought. My coming down the stairs called for more commotion from poor Pax. He growled and barked at me, even though I talked to him, trying to win his confidence. It didn’t work, and I heard Jacky calling him back in.

The street was empty. I passed the garage and moved away one of the three garbage bins to be able to see the shining object. It was an earring, the same exquisite kind I saw on the woman at the beach. She was wearing only one, and I was pretty sure the one in my hand was hers. How did it get there, behind the trash cans that were used by our three cottages and the house next door together?

The biker from the garage across the street came outside with a bag.

“Hi,” I greeted him. “Sorry for asking: Do you know who lives in this house? I found something by the trash and it might be theirs.”

The young man lifted his arm to his forehead to see me better. The sun was getting in his eyes. “I’m sorry, Ma’am. This house is empty.”

I crossed the road to speak with him privately.

“I don’t want to bother you, but it is strange.” I lowered my voice. “I heard some weird noise coming from the house a few minutes ago.”

The man placed his hand on his hip. I could see his tattoo by his armpit, one word, “mom.” “Weird noise?” “Yes, it was like somebody was grunting.” “A dog?” he asked. “I don’t know. I’m sorry to keep you. I just moved here. My name is Sophie.”

“Sophie?” The man gasped and pressed his chest. “My mom was Sophie. She just passed away. I miss her so much.”

*

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