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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Mystery · #2255702
An old stone doorway is found, following a storm, in a garden in Germany...
When they found the doorway it made the news that very day. It appeared one morning on Herr Grundmann's lawn. There had been a storm the previous night down the narrow glacial valley in which Herr Grundmann lives. Herr Grundmann allowed the reporters onto his lawn to photograph and commentate and he and his family watched and listened to all their reporting avidly, anxious for answers. One reporter, Frau Schmidt from the German ARD network, was giving her report. Herr Grundmann's family strained to listen as she did so. The Police Chief, several officers, and most of his neighbors were also listening.

         "We are standing here today against the backdrop of the mountains of the Schwarzwald, just a few kilometers down from the town of Hornberg. As you can see there is a doorway behind me and it is missing a house. This doorway appeared in a great storm last night amidst thunder and lightning. The coat of arms on the doorway is very familiar to the people in this area. It is the coat of arms of Count Ramstein who owned a lot of property here in centuries past and whose emblem is found on buildings all across the area. But where did the doorway come from? No houses are missing any doorways round here. Indeed, I am told by experts, the stone used is not local. So we did a search and we turned up something very mysterious. In fact, this is where the story gets really interesting. Image recognition software places this doorway at the entrance of a big old house in West Virginia in the USA near to the original Jamestown colony planted by English settlers four centuries ago. We identified the house as originally belonging to a Mrs. Ramsden, who joined the Virginia colony some 70 years after it was established and built the house with this doorway. She was a widow with a son who took her surname. The house appears to have stayed in the ownership of her descendants ever since. Just last week there was a spectacular fire that destroyed this house in America. Newspapers in the USA report that members of the Ramsden family are missing. This includes the famous billionaire Lee Ramsden who owns the global mining consortium his family built, called Ramsden Mining. When firemen went through the ruins in Jamestown they discovered the front door was missing. Yet here it is 4000 miles away in Germany. We have the local Police Chief with us now and he has indicated he is prepared to comment on the crime scene."

         The camera focused on an elderly, greying man with a tanned face, dressed in a police chief's uniform. He was about 6 feet tall with a strong confident posture worn by years of experience.

         "Herr Grundmann notified us of the object in his garden at 7:30 am this morning. I and one other officer arrived at the scene at about 8 am. We fenced off the area and notified the forensics team in Stuttgart about the situation. Initially, they were not that interested as we could specify no actual crime. At present all we have is a door that appeared in someone's back garden. Stuttgart was busy with various murders and rapes and we are a little out of their way. However, as information began to come out about the alleged connections to missing billionaires they changed their mind about this doorway and sent a team who examined the garden between 2:00 and 4:30 pm. A team is also expected later today from the USA to investigate links between this object and the possible abduction or kidnapping of businessman Lee Ramsden and members of his family. It is early days yet and I do not want to preempt any conclusions the professionals might make by speculating."

         The reporter said, "No of course not, but from your own investigation have you been able to find any tracks or any indication of how this door got here?"

         "Well as you might be aware there was a heavy thunderstorm last night which may well have washed evidence away. You can see for yourself that there are no tire tracks ripping up this lawn and that is why we called forensics in. Maybe there is some DNA under the overhangs of the doorway or on the handle, who knows? Obviously, a small local police force like the one I run does not have the resources of the Stuttgart main office and so we called the specialists in."

         "Could it have been flown in?"

         "In normal conditions yes they could have used a helicopter. But it was very dangerous flying weather for a helicopter last night with extreme rain and lightning. The mountains around here also give some very difficult air currents to navigate and especially in storm conditions. I do not know anyone who would have taken that kind of risk, to be honest."

         The reporter nodded her thanks to the Police Chief adding one final question. "Do you have any idea why the object was placed in Herr Grundmann's garden?"

         "Any answer I gave about that would be pure speculation. But to answer your question and to calm your fears Herr Grundmann the working theory right now is that historically this garden had some meaning for the Ramstein family when in Germany. Maybe there was a house here many centuries ago. Maybe this connects it to an emigrant family in the USA that adopted the surname Ramsden to blend into the early Virginia colony over there. Clearly, this is the assumption of the investigative teams as they would not be flying in specialists from the USA were this not the case. We do not know for sure but this is the angle being pursued right now."

Frau Schmidt turned back to face the camera directly. With the door placed just over her shoulder in the view of the camera, she continued her report.

         "So the mystery remains. No one really knows how a doorway from a burnt-out ruin in the USA ended up back in the lands of the Ramsteins who used to hold so much influence in this area. This is Frau Schmidt reporting from the Schwarzwald for ARD News."

Word Count & Notes

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