Setting description and background
|Tunneling For Answers
Within seconds of the mechanism engaging, a large wooden door slid into the wall. The gears in the system protested loudly as
they performed their job.
"Sounds as if they have not been used in quite some time," remarked Catriona.
Tyler pulled out his phone and pointed the light through the opening. A white brick lined corridor lay before them. What surprised them both was the lack of mustiness in the air. That could only mean that whoever constructed this, also allowed for ventilation. They started down the corridor shining the phone light all around them. They came to a couple of alcoves off the main hall. Those alcoves all contained large wood racks used to hold barrels. There were even a few empty wine barrels on a few of the racks.
"Well, well, well," laughed Tyler. "Looks like some of the members of the family were doing their best to outsmart the prohibition police. That explains why all of the doors are so wide."
"Perfect spot to stash the hooch," laughed Catriona. "But that doesn't explain why these tunnels were here in the first place. These tunnels are really old. This looks like the type of brick on some of the buildings in the oldest part of town. The kind used on some of the buildings on the Register."
They went another hundred yards and came to another room with the same checkerboard flooring. Repeating the same sequence of actions as the outer door in the well, they found a smaller door that led into a very small room. By the light of the phone, they could see that the red baked brick room had a couple of cots against one wall. Whatever material had been on them had long since rotted away. On the opposite wall was an small square table covered with decades of dust and cobwebs. The mound of cobwebs in the center covered an old oil lamp. The ladder-back chairs that surrounded the table no longer had any seats. The caning that had once been there was shredded now, probably by mice. Shining the light on last wall, they found the outline of a door. There was a simple slide bolt latch holding it closed.
Passing through the last door, they found themselves in his grandfathers workshop. Putting his dying cell phone back in his pocket, Tyler went to the light switch on the wall and flipped it. Closing the last door, they could see that it blended seamlessly with the paneling of the workshop. Closer inspection revealed a dark flat latch that operated the door from the work shop side. If someone had decided to search this room, it would have been real easy to overlook that latch.
"Wow!", Catriona said turning around to face Tyler. "Tunnels and a hidden room. I know they were probably hiding wine from the revenuers, but do you think there was bootlegging going on here too?"
"Maybe, but that would have come later." answered Tyler. "I think these rooms had another purpose besides hiding bootleggers. Both rooms are older than those outer corridors. Remember, there was a lot of expansion and remodeling over the years. Especially after the original part of the house burned down after the Civil War. Which was always deemed suspicious by our family." The door leading out of the room confirmed his guess. It was as ordinary as a door could be, for the late 1800's that is. It was a four paneled wood door with a ceramic door knob and a skeleton key lock. Both of them were relieved to find that the door was not locked.
Before leaving the room, they took one last look around. It was pretty much empty save for two small cans of paint, a bottle of linseed oil and a large glass jar labeled "Solvent".