At the bottom of the stairs Carol stopped and looked around. Something was not right, while the furniture suggested living quarters, the walls were unadorned, and the small windows were high, near the ceiling. A shiver passed through her.
Between the rain and the filthy windows it was growing too dark for anymore entries in her note pad. As she made her way toward the door, the room lit up again and the boom was simultaneous. She hurried her steps. Outside, under the meager protections of the porch overhang, Carol locked the door, then turned and ran through the downpour, to her little red car. Nearly drenched, she closed the door and reached for the keys. There were no keys in the ignition. She was sure she'd left them there. My purse? Where's my purse? The minute it took her to scan the car revealed the truth. No purse, no keys. And with her purse gone, so was her cell phone. Maybe I took them inside. No. Someone stole them. Damn, damn damn." she thought, laying her head back against the headrest. Then she noticed the white on the car's hood. Not leaves like she'd thought, but white lettering. Without windshield wipers it was hard to it make out. It looked like, 3 10 n, and around the letters it appeared small painted flowers. This is just too weird.
Carol sat in the car for 30 minutes, until the rain slowed, then she clicked the trunk release, and hurried out. Thankfully, her suitcase was still in the trunk. She dragged it out, slammed the trunk lid and headed for the mansion. Before she went three steps she noticed that both tires were flat. Then she looked again at the hood. Right side up the letters spelled u die, and what she thought were flowers were tiny hand prints in the same white paint. Carol ran for the front door.
Once inside, Carol placed her suitcase on a coffee table and opened it, removing her Maglite flashlight. The flashlight was long and heavy, like a nightstick; it's heft, gave her a small measure of comfort. Carol had skipped lunch, intending to eat on her return trip. Her stomach growling, reminded her she hadn't had anything since her breakfast of toast and coffee. With flashlight in hand Carol made her way to the kitchen. Disappointed, but not surprise, she found nothing to eat, but what she did find was a small door wedged between the restaurant sized refrigerator and a floor to ceiling cupboard. The door was four feet high and two feet wide, and locked with a padlock.
A noise. Carol straightened up. What was that? The sound of footsteps? She stood very still listening. She gasped for breath, not realizing she'd been holding it. Must be the wind, she told herself. She searched the kitchen looking for something to break the padlock. What she found was a meat tenderizer hammer and a nutcracker. She forced the nutcracker through the padlock then hammered on it. The lock held, but the hasp tore loose from the wood.
The door creaked as Carol pulled it open. Beyond the door was steep stairs descending into darkness. Carol made a quick pass around the kitchen, peering out into other rooms, then arming herself with a butcher knife, and flashlight she returned to the small door.