It was an old wood frame house dating back to the turn of the century with a lot of windows and a screened in front porch. That’s something I always wanted because I like to sit outside and watch the rain. It sat on four acres so we didn’t have anybody crowding us. I don’t want you to think this place was in perfect condition because it wasn’t. That’s why we got it so cheap.
My wife, Dee, likes to work around the house. She’s barely five feet tall, but a ball of fire and a real fix er upper. I knew in the end she would have it looking like new.
After moving in, before we had a chance to do any repair or upgrading, my parents gave us a house warming party. We managed to unpack before the invasion took place. A lot of our friends from town showed up and some of the new friends we made since moving.
Well, after recovering from the party, we decided to start the remodeling. We scraped, painted, did carpentry, pulled up carpets, laid down wood floors, hauled in new furniture and threw out the old.
“Now for the outside,” Dee said.
We did the same thing out there, scraped old paint off the outside, slapped on new paint, repaired and painted the shutters, cleaned out the porch, and changed the shingled roof for a tin one. There was a shed out back, but we decided it could wait.
One day I sat on the front porch taking a break. I was feeling gritty. My face and clothes were covered with paint. Clouds were rolling in. I had the feeling we were about to get one of those patented afternoon thunderstorms. The wind picked up. Rain drops played their tunes on the roof.
I could hear Dee banging away on something. She carried a hammer like a gunfighter carried his gun and was quick on the draw if a nail needed pulling or hammering. Then it went quiet. I got up to see.
“What’s going on?” I asked her.
“Did you see this?”
She was looking at a black wall under the stairwell, her hammer in a position of defense if anything should burst out. I cautiously put my hand into the darkness. Something solid stopped it. I moved my hand around until I felt a crack then followed it.
“I think it’s a door,” I said, “get me a flashlight.”
A flashlight to us is something short of a spotlight that would light up the neighborhood.
“It is a door,” she said, “How could me miss it?”
The beam covered the entire area of the black wall. The door was set back from the front of the wall so no matter what angle the sun shown; it would be hidden.
“Probably because we haven’t slowed down since we got here. There’s no telling how many times we went by here thinking it was nothing but a black wall.”
I looked at her.
“How did you find it?”
“I don’t know. I walked by and just stopped and looked at it. I wondered why someone would want to paint this wall black when everything else is so light.”
“I would imagine it’s something they wanted to keep hidden,” I said, “there may be something in here we can use.”
“Or something to stay away from,” she said.
“I didn’t need that.”
I handed the light to her. The knob was the old type with the keyhole below it instead of in the knob. I turned it, but the door wouldn’t open. I squatted and looked through the keyhole. It was as dark as the wall.
“Shine the light on the bottom,” I said.
I put my hand in the crack below the door and ran it across. I looked at her and she smiled.
“Don’t let something get you.”
I stopped and jerked back my hand when it touched something.
Dee jumped back from my reaction.
“What is it?”
“It feels like a key.”
I put my hand back under the door and touched the object. I pulled it out. It was a key.
“Let’s open it!” she said.
I put the key in the lock and turned. We heard the click.
“Shine the light on the door and move back.”
The rain came down harder, crashing into the tin. Lightning lit up the room as I turned the knob and yanked the door open.
Copyright © September 30, 2010 by Lowell Bergeron