Doors To Mirrors (Excerpt 88) Bright

Nadja steps down into the concrete room with its bright white painted walls. From here, there is a tunnel large enough to stand up in and wide enough for two people to walk side by side through. The floor is dirt but the walls are part stone and dirt with wood and metal posts supporting the top and sides.

“I do need to warn you though, with the heavy rains these past few years, veins of tunnels from the underground cave system have opened up, so you have to be careful not to find yourself going the wrong way or falling.” Carl says with sincerity. “Just keep the lights on and you should not have any problems.”

“If you only told me about this, I would have never believed you.” She smiles as she flips the next switch, which lights the next long section of the tunnel.

“I still find it odd that Aunt Josephine went through so much trouble in order to have a secret way out of the cottage.” Nadja looks at Carl in a questioning manner.

“Josie was a unique woman.” Carl starts and then pauses to collect his emotions. “If the woman had a flaw, and I don’t think she did, it would be a strong desire for safety. She had dreams about something happening in the cottage, an attack or break-in of some sort. She said it was never really clear to her.” He states as he looks toward the first section of the tunnel. “As you go through, she even has mirrors placed to allow a view of what might be behind the next turn. In the dim light you can darn well scare yourself to death seeing your own reflection!” Carl laughs loudly as he holds his hand over his heart. “Damn well gave myself a heart attack the first time I walked through!”

“I will try to remember that.” Nadja laughs but then backs the conversation up. “I never knew she had dreams about being attacked in the cottage.” Nadja says in a worried tone.

“No no, don’t you worry about it. Nothing like that ever came to be, thankfully. I just think when you live alone and you’re not a big burly man,” Carl points to himself and grins, “you cannot help but think of the what-ifs.”

“Yes, that is definitely true.” Nadja agrees softly and then she smiles. “This will make for an interesting side note as I write in my journal tonight.”

“Ha! Yes indeed it will!” Carl laughs.

“Alright young lady, I am taking the tunnel home, it’s getting too darn cold out there and the sun has set.” Carl says as he looks around the room one last time. “I’ll hit the switches as I pass through the sections so you won’t have a huge electric bill.” He grins. “That aunt of yours, she was something else wasn’t she?”

“Yes, Carl. That she was.” Nadja says as she gives him a hug. “You be careful.”

“You do the same and you know you can call me anytime, in case you need me. Okay?” He says firmly as he looks her directly in the eyes as she nods yes. “Alright then, I’m off. Just swing the cabinet back and latch that hook and you’ll be safe and sound. Oh, do not hesitate to use this tunnel if needed. It will at least get you to the halfway point of my cabin and the train station. Goodnight Nadja, sleep well.”

“Goodnight Carl and thank you again.” Nadja grins.

She can hear Carl whistling happily as he begins his walk home and she climbs back up the ladder. Latching the secret door shut, Nadja shivers. The farther Carl gets from the cottage, the more abnormal the echoing tune becomes.


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