A woman makes a strange discovery while digging
|“Bill,” Molly called from outside the screen door. She waited patiently for several seconds before wiping her feet on the “TREAD ON ME” doormat and heading off to look for her husband. “Bill,” she tried again.
“On my way.” The rapid clomp of size twelve shoes introduced Bill's visage popping through the doorway into the kitchen. “Present,” he announced. “What's up?”
“Come down the garden with me. I found something odd.”
Bill trailed Molly through the doorway and across the yard, to the small garden she'd been busy expanding. Spotting the garden gate listing to one side with a broken hinge, he announced (as he'd done the previous two years), “I've got to fix that one of these days.”
“Take a look at this.” Molly stood at the far end of the garden and pointed to a hole she'd been digging for a new azalea.
Several inches down, Bill saw a flat, rusty metal surface. Always the great thinker (in his own mind), he said, “I wonder what it is.”
“We don't know how large it is, and we probably won't find out without digging up a few established plants.”
Bill looked at the sky and saw only a dull sun straining to break through the clouds. “Well,” he said. “It's fairly cool, and not too sunny. If we keep them wet, it shouldn't hurt to dig them up for a while.”
Molly already had a shovel, so Bill headed to the garage for a hoe, and soon they both were digging and dragging dirt off the mysterious surface. Then, two minutes later and three feet from the initial hole, Molly hit a raised rim. Digging more at that spot, they soon uncovered what appeared to be a hatch.
While Molly hurried to the garage for a crowbar, Bill started whacking at a rust-laden latch at one side of the hatch with the shovel. And when she returned, he started whacking at the rust-laden latch with the crowbar.
Eventually the latch gave up the fight and broke off. Dragging the crowbar along the edges of the square surface, Bill managed to jam the tip under one edge and pry the metal slab up and out of the way. “It's too dark to see anything,” he announced.
“I'll get a flashlight.” Molly dashed off, as Bill stretched out next to the opening and reached in as far as possible, groping for any surfaces that might suggest the size of enclosure.
Three minutes later, Molly returned with two flashlights. “Just in case one of them has weak batteries,” she said. She handed the larger flashlight to her husband, who proceeded to wave it around the dark unknown below.
“It must be about seven feet deep,” he said. His voice was slightly muffled, most likely caused by the rusty surfaces. “And I'd say eight or nine feet across in both directions.”
Molly dropped down beside Bill and poked the other flashlight into the hole. “It can't be an old septic tank.”
“No,” Bill agreed. “I don't see any entrance or exit holes.” He continued passing the light along the walls and floor, looking for any indications of purpose.
“This is creepy,” said Molly. “Maybe it was some kind of dungeon. Maybe a serial killer lived here long ago.”
“A serial killer with a lot of energy. Burying this here was no easy task.”
“Well, whatever it is, it's compromising my expansion plan for the garden.”
“Yeah,” said Bill. “You'll have to dedicate this space to shallow-rooted plants.”
Suddenly Molly's face brightened, although Bill couldn't see it in the darkness of the rusty container. “Hey,” she began, “what have you been talking about doing with David's bedroom after he gets married and moves out?”
“Huh? Oh, yeah. Turning it into a man ca—Wait a minute. Are you saying this...”
Once again, Bill couldn't see Molly smile.