Sometimes the past rises up to bite you in the butt, and you never see it coming!
Adam and the gang are rehabbing an old church when they come across a tunnel they believe might have been part of the historic underground railroad. The two corpses they find lying in the tunnel transform the event from one of historical significance to recent tragedy. The investigation for how the two recently murdered people got into that tunnel leads Adam and the gang through a hair-raising series of events that will affect them for a long time, in ways they could never have imagined. Will Adam’s nosiness finally cause irreparable harm to one of the gang? Or will they rise above the tragedies they uncover, and come together in love and forgiveness, becoming all the stronger for it?
“And you punched a hole in this wall, why?”
The man holding the sledge hammer looked sheepish as he stepped back, resting the head of the big tool on the pile of fractured concrete by his feet. “The wall was moist. I just tapped it to see if it was solid.”
Adam scanned a look over the six foot five inch tall three hundred twenty pound ex-linebacker. “Tapped it, huh?”
An embarrassed grin spread across the man’s wide face. “Sorry, boss.”
Adam shook his head. He examined the hole more carefully. “This is just filler. No wonder it fell apart. He held out his hand. Give me that sledgehammer.” Taking the heavy tool, he hit the edge of the six inch wide hole with it. Moist concrete filler crumbled to the ground, opening another six inches next to the original hole. A thin, metal mesh showed through the hole. Adam hit it again.
Twenty minutes later he had a hole barely wider than a man and four feet tall. Blackness yawned away from the opening and the sour stench of mildew wafted out on the stale air. “What the hell is this?” Adam asked rhetorically.
Sandy Bradley frowned, ducking down to peer into the hole with Adam. “Looks like they walled off part of the basement.”
Adam frowned. “Father Paria didn’t say anything about a walled off section. I’m a little surprised since he would have liked the room to be bigger anyway.”
The two men peered into the darkness for another minute. Adam glanced at Sandy. “Run out to my truck and get my lantern, will you?”
The big man nodded and left, leaving Adam standing before the pitch black hole wondering at the disgusting smell emanating from it. He figured there must be an underground spring beneath the foundation and it had probably been seeping up into the space for years. Which would explain why somebody, at some point in the past, had walled it up.
A faint clanging sound bounced through the space, pinging off the unseen walls of the formerly closed off area. Adam blinked, wondering where the sound was coming from. He stuck his head into the opening and, after a moment’s hesitation, stepped through.
Adam stood perfectly still for a moment but didn’t hear anything else. He figured he’d probably been hearing his crew outside gathering their tools after returning from lunch. Sound carried strangely in the ancient church. He’d even considered, once or twice late at night, that the place might be haunted by the spirits of old parishioners.
Cool, moist air lifted Adam’s hair and he grimaced at the foul stench. He squinted, trying to see something…anything…in the dank space. There was a total absence of light that was disconcerting. Even still, with the moist chill seeping into his bones and making him shiver, Adam couldn’t shake the feeling that someone was watching him.
Air whispered past again. He turned his head and jolted as something chirped.
“Rats,” he murmured with disgust. If they left the room exposed, he’d have to get an exterminator in. Maybe he should just wall it off again and pretend they hadn’t found it.
Adam jumped, taking a step forward at the distant shout. “Is somebody in here?”
Silence throbbed in response.
He took another step and his foot bumped something. Hissing ensued and definite scurrying sounds. Adam turned and started out. He’d seen too many horror movies starring rats and had no intention of giving them a chance to nibble on him.
Heavy footsteps sounded on the steps beyond the room they were renovating and, a moment later Sandy strode into view. The lantern Adam had requested swung from his thick fingers. “Maddy’s here,” he informed Adam.
“Good. She can help me decide if we want to wall this thing back off.” Adam turned the lantern on. “Right at this moment I’m inclined to just pretend we never saw it.”
Adam lifted the lantern and its bright, cleansing light painted damp rock walls and a dirt floor. The wind sloughing through the void beyond the reach of the illuminating arc whistled past again, carrying a rotten meat stench with it. “Ugh. It smells like the rats have been bringing their treasures back to this roo…”
He stopped, his mouth hanging open. His pulse spiked and panic slipped along his spine. He wanted to turn and run but his feet were glued to the spot in horror.
Sandy moved up behind him, his bulk warm and reassuring. Until he screamed like a girl and turned tail to run.
Adam didn’t take long following him out.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Declan Sands writes romantic paranormal/fantasy and mystery/suspense, creating stories that celebrate the joy of love in all its forms. Known for writing great characters, snappy dialogue, and unique and exhilarating stories, Declan is the award-winning author of 50+ books and has been writing for over a decade under several noms de plume.