Her heart was racing both with anxiety of being locked in the room along with the fact that this what she had traveled thousands of miles to get a look at was laying in front of her. She dove in, found the chapter she was looking for and began taking copious notes and taking pictures of some of the more important pages, especially those with old wood cut images. Time flew. She checked her watch and it was now well over an hour since Mr. Smythe had left her. So she continued on researching this book. Time passed. Two hours and nary a sound. She was getting nervous. He’s old. Maybe he forgot. But Miss Pritchard knows I’m here.
Her anxiety level continues to rise. She got up and checked the door. Locked. She was a prisoner. She knocked loudly. Nothing.“Anybody out there? I need to leave now.” She checked her cell phone, no service. Frantically she began to pace around the room like a caged animal, looking for what, she hadn’t a clue. Maybe a spare key? She checked under the table, under the chairs, everywhere. Nothing. She went to the window. Secure with bars on the outside. Walked back to the table she mindlessly tapped on the walnut panels on the wall with her knuckles. Tap, tap, tap. Bonk. Tap, tap, tap. One panel had sounded hollow. She rapped on all the others. Solid. She went back to the hollow sounding one. Maybe it’s a secret passage. I saw somewhere some of these old houses had secret passages. Maybe it might be a way out of here.
She felt around the trim boards and felt something like a button that clicked when she pushed on it. The panel opened. A cool blast of thick musty air greeting her surprise. She opened it. Stairs faded into blackness, stairs that led down to where? Freedom? She felt around and found a light switch and a soft yellow glowed showing the old wooden stairs leading down to a to a landing. She got her things and carefully started down hoping against hope she might have found a way out of her prison.
After the landing the stairway turned and lead down another flight to a doorway. Hmmm, two flights. She calculated she might be in the basement. She peeked through the doorway into a stone walled room about twelve feet square. The one piece of furniture, a table sat in the center covered with some old looking manuscripts. She didn’t bother with them being more interested in a doorway out. She saw door in the stone walls but it was sealed with bricks and mortar. She ran 0ver and pounded and pushed on it but it was solid. She pounded on it yelling , “Help! Is anyone out there? Please help me!” Dead silence answered her.
Frustrated she felt tears start to come. No! I can’t cry. Stay focused. The manuscripts caught her, laying open on the old wooden table like they were left in haste. She could tell they were old, very old. She knew she shouldn’t touch them but curiosity got the best of her and she pulled a pen from her bag and carefully separated them so she could see them better. They were in Latin, written in an old script including several crude woodblock prints. She had studied both Latin and Greek exactly for this reason, to translate old texts as originally written, not from somebody else’s translation. The titles roughly translated to something like “Spells for Rapid Aging” and the other “Reversing Aging”.
Distracted momentarily from her dilemma, she pulled out her cell phone and took all the photos she thought she might need to do a thorough translation later, if she ever got out of this prison. Getting the documentation she wanted, but feeling even more defeated, she glumly walked back up the stairs. She had just closed the secret panel when she heard keys jingling outside the door.
To be continued . . .