Sally was just looking at the patch that the plumber painted. He told that he found nothing faulty in particular but still he changed the fittings of the water pipes running behind that wall just to be sure that leakage of any kind is checked. The plumber left.
She inched closer towards the wall, touched it and a felt a vibration, more like a short (for a fraction of nano seconds) spell of electric shock. She snapped her fingers back still looking at wall but was soon distracted by her ringing phone. It was Henry calling.
“Hey Honey will be late tonight, got one really important meeting cropped up at a short notice. See you in the night, don’t wait for me over dinner, Love you, bye” and Henry hung up.
Sally disconnected the call with a wry smile. She in fact felt disconnected from her self since the demise of her father. She contracted herself into a shell, severed ties with the world outside. Now over a year with Henry having her back things slowly started rolling. She wants herself to be occupied, she wants her old self back. But at this moment crushing in sofa with her coffee mug Sally was thinking how she could kill time. Getting enrolled in a university, joining her father’s office, working on hobbies, being socially active, taking up a social cause – many ideas crisscrossed her mind. Right now cutting the clutter and winning her attention were the unopened boxes and unwanted extra stuff waiting to be settled somewhere. And that “somewhere” was the big basement of her house. They knew its there but never explored and utilised yet.
A dusty, noisy staircase led to the basement. It was huge, dim lit and well segregated into few rooms and compartments. There were strong old fashioned wooden closets; some hardware inventory like paints, brushes,ladder; broken furniture; cobwebs all over. Sally brought down the boxes and settled them but she wasn’t done yet. She decided to inspect the rooms/ compartments. She was checking the spaces of that vault one by one. Broken flower pots, old porcelain pots, tools, furniture fittings, pet cages – there was so much to ponder with, segregate and dump too. She finally reached the tiniest room of the vault and it was locked.
She ran upstairs to bring the bunch of keys she had to check if any of them belong to that room. But alas!! Nothing seemed to be fitting. She was so engrossed in her trials and curiosity caught hold of her so much so that she lost the track of time. When luck didn’t favour her she kept aside the keys and begun her quest with the closets.
“Hmm they are beautiful” she thought as she touched the carved doors of the closets. She opened them. Old curtains, few rugs were kept there. In the drawers she found items like a hand mirror that clearly reflected how old it was, a hand bell, silk treads. She kept finding miscellaneous petty things till she accidentally laid her hands on a small rusty box kept hidden behind one of the closets. She opened it, it was empty in the first look of it but actually wasn’t. Beneath a cardboard layer there was a key.
“Finally!!” she said to herself and started fiddling with the key into the keyhole. The rigid dust and rust of many decades was making Sally struggle hard before the door finally flung open. That tiny room was filled with a pungent smell strong as compared to others. It had a small ventilator opening upto the road outside the house. There was a chair, a plate, a glass, a small wash basin and iron chains that had one end engraved in the wall as if the other loose end is used to keep someone cuffed. It seemed there was something written and struck off vehemently on the walls
The entire scene of that room intrigued Sally even more and as she set her first step inside the room there was a sudden violent crash overhead in the kitchen jolting Sally…