He Followed Dawn into her bedroom, “So what is it I need to see?”
“Dawn where’s the flashlight?” Dawn’s mom popped her head out from behind the door in the wall.
“AAAH! Jeez, you scared the pants off me!”
“Oh stop being melodramatic, you’ve still got your pants on.” Her mom laughed and then came over to where they were standing.
“Here’s the flash light, do you think it leads anywhere?” Dawn was so excited about finding this hidden door; she had to go and check it out for herself.
Peering into the dark passage, she couldn’t see anything past the small sliver of light from the open door. She couldn’t wait to go check it out.
“I’m sure it does, but don’t go exploring yet until your dad and I make sure it’s safe. Who knows what kind of condition that part of the house is in.”
“Okay, whoa stop right there. Are you two telling me that you found a secret passage? That is so cool. Here I thought this place was just some creepy old house, and now I see it is a creepy old house, with a secret passage. Childhood dream finally realized! Take that Hardy Boys!”
“Hahaha! Okay calm down there tiger, and come help me move this door a bit more.” Dawn’s mom said turning on the flashlight.
“Oh, okay. But, seriously this is exciting. How did you two find this thing?”
“That’s the cool part! you trigger the door by pressing on this little carving on the fireplace mantle.” Dawn showed her dad the small figure.
“Hmmm, Kind of looks like you Dawn. I wonder if she was based off a member of the family?” He could barely contain his excitement. “Oh, maybe this is the room of some great, great aunt who vanished mysteriously as a child and her father carved this to remember her by.”
“Then why would he make it into a secret passage?” If there was one thing Dawn and her dad loved it was a mystery. “I bet it was part of the underground railroad or the entrance to a secret spy den!”
“Honestly you two have the wildest imaginations.” Dawn’s mom just stood there shaking her head and smiling. “It’s probably just a coincidence that the girl resembles Dawn.”
“You’ll get over it. Now let’s see where this goes.” Her mom stepped into the dark corridor and froze.
“Well, does it go anywhere? Don’t keep us in suspense,” he said walking over to check out the opening in the wall for himself. “Oh! wow, this goes on farther than I thought, and it looks like it branches off.”
“I know right; I wonder if it runs through the whole house?”
Dawn came over and pushed through the small opening to stand next to her dad. She didn’t want to be the only one left out; it was in her bedroom after all.
She couldn’t believe her eyes; the passage was large enough for two people to walk side by side easily without bumping into the walls, and though it was hard to see passed the reach of the flashlight Dawn could see where it branched off.
“Cool!” Dawn’s voice echoed slightly. “So are we going or not? I definitely can’t wait to see where all this goes!” She took a few steps forward and then her mom pulled her back.
“Hold on there, as I said before your dad, and I will go check it out first. You can follow but stay behind us, and if I say stop you stop. These floorboards could go at any time.”
Dawn saluted her mother, “you got it, Mom, I mean General.” she couldn’t resist joking with her. It was the first time she had been excited about anything since they decided to move here, and she was making the most of it.
Her mom just rolled her eyes, “you are your father’s daughter.”
Her dad stood up a little straighter and smiled “I am so proud,” and wiped his eyes. “Now let’s go already the suspense is killing me.”
Dawns mom turned her attention back to the dark passageway, but couldn’t resist a little chuckle. She was trying to be the responsible adult, but she was just as excited as they were and wanted to know where these tunnels lead.
The hallway was musty and thick cobwebs hung from the beams like tattered curtains, in a few places the wood had begun to splinter and chip revealing the beams underneath. There was little noise outside of the creaking wood as the three of them crept along the passage.
Reaching the end of the short hallway, Dawn’s mom turned to the others, “Well what do you think should we go left and see where this corridor goes, or do we try out this stair case?”
“It might be safer to keep going down this hallway rather than risking the stairs, at least until morning.” Dawn’s dad said glancing in the direction of the staircase. Even with the flashlight, it was hard to see past the first few steps, and it looked like it was a steep climb down. There wouldn’t be much room for all of them at once.
Dawn looked down the corridor off to their left and back at the old stairwell, she couldn’t decide which path she wanted to take. They both looked equally creepy right now all covered in shadow and cobweb. Standing so close to the roof line Dawn could see where small holes had started to form, from either small animals trying to get in or time and weather. A cold breeze whipped through her hair, sending shivers up her spine.
Looking down the hallway, a sudden flash of movement caught her attention, “Did you see that?” Dawn pointed towards the now empty corridor.
“See what?” Her mom pointed the flashlight to the spot Dawn was looking at, but whatever had moved was gone now. “Maybe we should get you to bed; this has been a long day.” putting her arm around Dawn.
“No, really I’m fine, let’s keep going for just a little longer. I agree with Dad, we should wait until tomorrow to see where the stairs go, but let’s just check out this hallway a bit longer, please.”
“Hmm, alright. We can keep going.”
“Good! now that is settled, let’s go, team!” Her dad said enthusiastically.
“So Dawn what is it that you thought you saw?” He sounded genuinely curious.
“I’m not sure; it looked like a streak of light or something. It moved from one side of the hallway to the other.” Dawn gestured to the spot on the wall where she first saw it. Getting closer, she saw the wall was a little cracked and worn in places but otherwise solid. Maybe she imagined things, her mom was right it had been a long day after all.
“Do you think it could have been an animal of some kind? This is a relatively old house, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find things living inside the walls.” He said while checking the floor for any signs of critters.
“Oh, please don’t tell me we have rats. I hate rats!” Her mom started shining the light all over the place checking to make sure there weren’t any rats hiding in the shadows. She could be a brave woman most of the time but not when rats were involved.
“Oh don’t worry honey the only rat I see is the one about to fall on your head.” He chuckled.
“EEP!” Dawn’s mom jumped and after confirming that there was no rat, grumbled a bit and walked on ahead.
Both Dawn and her dad started to laugh.
“That is not funny!” She said as she reached the end of the passageway.
“I’m pretty sure it is.” Her Dad chuckled.
“Well, it looks like this is it.” Dawn’s mom waited for the other two to join her while she started scanning the wall for any clues.
“Is that it? It looks like every other inch of wall in this place. Why would they make a hallway that doesn’t lead anywhere?” Suddenly Dawn was feeling less than thrilled to be standing in this dark, smelly hallway.
“There must be some reason the passageway goes in this direction, do you think there might be a door somewhere? In most cases, there is always a secret door.” Dawn’s dad had not given up hope and started running his hands along the beams.
Dawn’s mom wasn’t sure they would find anything. Most of the beams looked fairly solid.
“Look at this! there seems to be a latch here set into the stud of the wall.” He reached for the flashlight. “This whole wall must be a door.”
Dawn squeezed in front so she could take a look. Her dad was right; if it weren’t for this rusty metal latch you wouldn’t be able to tell this wall was anything more than a wall. Running her hand over it, she wondered if it still worked. But even more, she wondered where this door went.
“Can I open it?” Dawn looked back at her mother.
“We might as well try it; I have to admit I am curious to see where this goes.”
Dawn smiled and brought her attention back to the latch. Her heart was racing. She clasped her hand around the latch and pulled.