A matter of life and … what’s worse than death? – Episode 4

This is a story inspired by a visit to an old castle in Italy. It was, of course, written while traveling on a plane, though I’m not sure if it was from Calgary to Toronto, or New York to Vancouver.
But, there’s more to come. Those were long flights…

And sadly when I read what I’d written, off the plane and in the cold hard light of dawn, there were problems, which now in the second draft, should provide the proper start.

 

Another fifty or so feet along, I stopped at an overhead grill.  The metal was showing on the tunnel side, but on the other, I could see bushes.

I think I knew where we were.  This was where the road crossed a small bridge and headed towards the castle entrance.  It was on the northeastern side of the old battlements, and going straight under the road would take us to the eastern wall.

Whether we could get out of the castle there remained to be seen.

I took a step and saw Jack stop and turn around to look back the way we had come.  A moment later a beam of light came from the break in the roof of the tunnel.  Perhaps the man had decided there might not be ghosts in the hole.

I heard the man’s voice travel up the tunnel.  “Looks like a cavern of something.”

That something he might guess to be a tunnel.

We had to go.

I moved quickly in the opposite direction, into the dark, the sound of more rocks falling from the roof following us.

 

Another hundred feet or so we reached a wall, a dead end to the tunnel.  It looked to me that it had been bricked in the recent past because it consisted of house bricks, not cobble stones.

The surface was wet, and there was the sound of dripping nearby.

Jack sat on the floor.  Nowhere to go, for him it was time to rest.

We couldn’t go back.

I pulled out a knife and poked it into the mortar, and the blade disappeared when I pushed it.  The mortar was soft.

I pushed hard on the wall midway up, and it moved.  I decided it might be wiser to kick at the wall, making it easier if it collapsed.

It created a hole about a foot round.  Further kicking made it bigger so that I could stoop down and climb through.  Jack went first, and I followed.

It came out into a clearing surrounded by trees.  Through the branches, I could see the forest on the other side of a paddock.

Jack once again stopped.

Voices.

Jackerby and one of his men.

“I’m sure there used to be a drainage tunnel somewhere here.  Those men got into the tunnel yet?”

“Working on making a hole so they can jump down.  No long now.”

“Go back and help them.  I’ll keep an eye out here in case they find the exit.”

I heard the other man leave.

A minute passed, then two.  Then Jackerby said, “I know you’re there Sam.  I’m alone out here, and I’m on your side.”

 

© Charles Heath 2019

 

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