"I'm fine, Pops. I'm not sure what is going on, really. Do you have any clue about this?"
"Me!? Hey, why don't you go stay with Jane for awhile. I'd feel better."
"So, I am in some kind of danger? I'm not staying with Mrs. K., Dad. Dad, I'm googling TLC now and nothing comes up. Are you and Molly hiding in danger, Angus?"
"Frankie, you have to trust your mom and me. It's possible, but not enough to worry about us."
"Are you kidding!? Someone came into my room. You are being very evasive and I want to speak with Mom. Now!"
Frankie tried to keep her voice under control but she had been lied to by her own parents who may be in trouble and she wasn't going to just go along without knowing the truth. Frankie waited and waited and listened to dead air. Finally Molly came to the phone.
"Frankie, are you okay? Look, we have a lot to talk about, a lot to explain, but we just can't do that right now. Yes, we have lied to you, but soon, very soon, we can be together. please go stay with Jane. it would ease our minds."
"Ma, I don't know what to say. Do you have any idea why someone would ransack my room?"
"Yes. It's has nothing to do with you... No, that's a lie, too. it has everything to do with you. Frankie, just trust me and your father. Please. I have to go, sweetheart. We love you."
Ma! Ma! If Frankie swore, the room would be blue with exhalations. Frankie did what her mom always did when stressed. She hid under Molly's bed and thought of stories. GOOD stories! Like fairies and knights and drago...
Sarah had only meant to ask the doctor to give her something for her fatigue. She knew the heat and constant rain made everyone tired, but Sarah seemed to be losing hours of time, as if a whole day was lost and she felt as if she had been poked and prodded.
Before she could knock on the door, she heard someone cry out. it sounded as if someone had been slapped. She stood by the door, not sure whether to burst in or...
"I told you what would happen if you say anything."
"I didn't say a word, boss. I swear. He asked me what I was doing in Sarah's room and I told him you were looking for her. That's all," simpered the second voice.
Sarah hid behind the bamboo plant and waited for the .... to exit. She knew who the first voice belonged to. Now she needed to know who was coming into her room, uninvited.
Sarah felt her skin crawl as the 'thing' walked into the sun. She started to follow the walking man.
October 29, 2012
"Hello, Sean. I always believed you were never far from her."
"Molly. Hello. i had no idea you kept up with Sarah."
"If you only knew, Sean. If you only knew."
He sawed and sawed and laughed in his native tongue. "Ooooooooeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaahhhaaaa."
Just one more.... Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on which side you swing, the walking man was on the wrong side of the branch and came down hard on the sidewalk.
As he limped away he said, "Owwwwwwwwwwwwwwoooooooeeeeeeee."
The first snow of the season fell. Frankie walked to work and marveled at the white glittering scene. She felt lost and didn't know which way to turn. What was Molly and Angus hiding? Where were they? Frankie was going to sit with Lily bean tonight. perhaps it was time to take a good look into the keyless door.
Later that evening...
"Where do you think your parents would hide a key, Lily Bean?"
"Well, Dad has a terrible memory and writes all his passwords down on a piece of paper he keeps in the book, "How to Remember Passwords.' It's in the bookcase, here. Maybe he wrote down where he hides the key."
"Okay. We can only try," said Frankie.
Lily Bean pointed out the book and Frankie took it down and opened it. It seemed as if every code, password, pin number had been written down. Frankie scanned down the list until she saw the word, 'key.' A key was in the book, 'Antique Keys.' It was just a fake book with a hollow inside, holding one key.
"You are a genius, Lily Bean."
"Nah. Dad's careless."
"Are you ready to check out that door?"
"Yep. Give me one minute, though."
Frankie waited and stopped frowning when she saw what LB had in her arms.
"No, you are a clever girl," smiled Frankie.
Lily Bean had two flashlights, two bike helmets, bottled water, a camera, and white chalk.
"Let's go partner."
Frankie turned the key and they both got goose bumps as hinges squealed on their frame. They pointed the beams of light into the vast nothingness. They looked at each other and walked into another life. Lily bean chalked cross marks along the crumbling brick walls as they cautiously moved on. They walked about ten minutes through the musty tunnel until they reached a fork.
"Which way, Lily Bean?"
"Use your sniffer, Frankie," suggested LB.
Frankie aimed her nose towards the tunnel going left and inhaled.
"This one smells like Mrs. Olsen's spritz cookies."
"Ooh, let's go there," said Lily Bean.
Frankie turned right, towards tunnel B and again inhaled.
"This one smells like a dead animal," whispered Frankie.
"Cookies or death?"
They looked at each other and without a word chose, death. They held hands and marked their way as the stench grew stronger.
"There's something up ahead. maybe we should turn back, LB."
"No way! Let's move, Frankie."
"Yes, ma'am. But if anything happens, you will run straight back to your basement."
"Yeah, yeah. let's go."
As they approached the smelly object, they clasped their noses tight. They inched their way closer. The smell was overwhelming. Especially for someone who had a sniffer like Frankie. Their eyes watered as they came upon... a coat.
"Phew. That is one stinky coat," observed LB.
Frankie poked the coat with her shoe and they both, "Aaawwwwed," as they saw the reason for the smell. A baby raccoon, or what was left of it. It looked like it had been chewed and torn apart.
"You okay, LB?" asked a jumpy Frankie.
"We should search the pockets, Frankie. I'll do it. You look a little green."
"Be careful, LB. Don't touch the animal."
"Duh, Frankie," as LB carefully felt for anything in the coat pockets. She pulled out a piece of paper that looked like a map. it looked to be a map of underground tunnels that covered the whole town of Manoomin. They both gasped when they saw the X mark right on the MacGillicuddy basement.
"Time to go, Lily Bean."
"Don't have to tell me twice."
They felt better the further away they got from the dead animal and closer to LB's basement.
"I'll print a copy for me, okay Frankie? Then we can both study this thing."
"Sure, LB. I just want to go home and take a shower."
"Oooooohh, that's like the movie, 'Psycho'. Maybe you should spend the night with me."
"Are you scared, LB?"
"Pffffttttt. Wasn't no X mark on my door."
"I'll be fine."
"That's what all the victims say."
"I'll borrow Poe from the shop. He'll warn me if anything weird happens."
"Great. I can see him now, squawking, "Frankie's dead. Frankie's dead!"
"No one wants to murder me, LB."
As Frankie spoke those words, the walking, limping, man, was devising another plan to rid her from this world.