Chapter 8 – What happens at night… (Part 2)

Raymond swung the door fully open and beckoned for Blaire.

“Come here, you’ve got to see this.” He said enthusiastically.

What Blaire had previously seen was no beast. It was Raymond’s luggage. A large sack with the top end tied shut by a small rope with shiny silver beads on both ends. The beads sat spaced apart at an equal height on the edge of the sack and reflected the candle light like the eyes of a boar. While the dense rain clouds now drowned out any light coming from the sky, it was not quite as dark earlier when Blaire first peaked in the room. The two windows must have illuminated the room just enough to reflect off the beads, but not enough to show the texture of the sack. Its silhouette could have easily looked like a large beast laying in the middle of the room.

“I’m sorry, I should have looked harder.” Blaire apologized when she noticed the sack.

Raymond turned to comfort her, but her stare surprised him. Usually people bow their head or look away when they admit their mistakes, especially shy people, but Blaire stared right into his eyes instead. Raymond thought he had started getting used to her oddities, but the stare still caught him off guard. He scrambled to recollect his thoughts.

“Oh uh, listen, don’t worry about that at all.” He started, “One time after my father and I came back from a vacation I left that sack in the main room and I jumped every time I saw it at night.
“Those things really do look like eyes.
“The first night I scared myself three times with it.”

Raymond began to grin. “In fact, one time I put it in my dad’s room while he was out at night.
“It was so funny!
“I heard him come in and then…”

He stopped as he noticed Blaire still had a blank stare on her face.

“Anyway, I’ll tell you that story some other time.” He changed the subject, “Now, we both heard a gurgling noise that alerted us to this ‘boar’s’ presence, but…
“I think I know what might have caused it.”

Raymond handed his candle to Blaire. “Here, hold this and follow.”

He led her back into the room they first entered before, the one with the lever that let rain through the ceiling. Raymond motioned for Blaire to stand in the back of the room. Even from there the candle still illuminated the whole room. The room was completely empty aside from the steel bar on the wall and a circular grate built into the ceiling. Raymond walked over to the lever, grabbed it, put his back up against the wall so he would not be standing under the grate and pulled the bar down. Rain came pouring directly downward from the circle in the ceiling. Raymond pushed the steel lever back up and the rain stopped. Moments later they heard the same gurgling sound they heard before.

“Well I guess that explains that.” Raymond winked. “It’ll probably do it again in a moment too, like before.”

Raymond turned around feeling quite proud of his mystery solving skills until he saw the spark board that Blaire had been holding under her arm. It reminded him that there was yet another mystery to solve, the horrible wall-running creature in the back room.

“Come on, we have something else to check on.”

When they left the room he noticed the wooden top to the brick divide or counter thing actually sat loosely like a lid. They lifted the lid and the counter was hollow underneath. It worked as a storage area. It stored a few boxes, a bed fit snugly between the two sides, followed by more boxes, another bed and one final large box. All very neatly packed. They opened the large box at the end and found bedsheets and pillows.

“I guess we don’t have to sleep on the floor then.” Raymond commented.

They opened a few of the small boxes and found cups, plates, curtains and finally, candles. Raymond grabbed one and lit it with the flame from Blaire’s candle. He then grabbed the spark board and politely slid it out from underneath Blaire’s arm and put it on the nearby table.

“We don’t need that right now,” he smiled. “Lets go check out that last monster in our closet.”

Raymond then realized what he just said.

“Well OK I didn’t mean ‘our” closet,” he scrambled to correct himself. “I mean like not… uh…
“I meant…
“It was a figure of speech.
“A poorly executed figure of speech.
“I mean it isn’t even a closet.”

Blaire gave him the blank stare again. He realized what he originally said probably did not even mean anything to her in the first place. She probably would not pick apart every little detail of what people say and try to make a big deal out of it like the gossipy middle-aged women he was used to on Navaden. Raymond’s mind started to drift off into another rant, but he quickly stopped himself.

“Anyway, off we go!” Raymond announced.

He headed toward the back room where he heard the noise before and Blaire followed him. He opened the metal door out of the main room to the back section and took note of the hall he and Blaire had previously stumbled around in the dark. It had a door immediately to the right, two farther down to the left and one at the end facing him. Raymond motioned Blaire to stay at the main room door as he ventured down the hall toward the door at the end. He slowly opened it and looked in. He saw nothing but an empty room with a box and a bunch of little black squares implanted in the walls. They spanned all the way around the room at equal height and distance.

Raymond motioned for Blaire to come in.

When she entered Raymond showed her what he did before to get the horrid noise to sound. He tried bumping the nearest black square, but nothing happened. He began to tap it near the top and saw the reflection of his finger on it. He realized it was a mirror slanted upward, so he tapped the bottom to counter the angle. The mirrors flipped downward into a straight position one after another in a sequence all the way around the room. They made a light screeching sound as they rotated and a tinging sound when they hit an upright angle. The room lit up very brightly with all of the mirrors now reflecting the candles the tired house explorers both held.

“Is that what you heard?” asked Blaire.

“That is absolutely brilliant,” Raymond mumbled. “Oh, yes that is the sound I heard.
“It sounded way worse at the time.”

Blaire heard his mumbling, “What’s brilliant?”

“Nicodemus must have set up these mirrors to spread the light from a single candle around this room,” explained Raymond. “He also made them able to tilt up in case we did not want the room that bright.”

“That sounds like a good feature,” Blaire started. “What do you think he made the rain room for?”

“I guess so I can access the rain water without needing to go outside and get wet.” Raymond speculated.

They both left the room and headed down the hall toward the main room. This time feeling safe without closing any doors behind them.  They approached the open storage counter in the middle of the room and looked inside it once again.

“This counter thing is a pretty neat feature too,” stated Raymond.

He heard the rain still pouring down hard on the roof. He was tired but realized he still needed to get the beds out of their snug storage slots and find separate rooms to put them in. He tried to lift one of the beds up, but the frame did not budge. Blaire noticed what he was doing and walked around to the other side of the frame to help out. No matter how hard they pulled, they could not move the bed.

“Forget it, I’m too tired for this,” Raymond sighed.

The beds lay in vertical succession anyway, and had a three foot gap between them. That assortment in itself was much less taboo than something like a double bed. Certainly if the neighbors had seen these two, a young unmarried man and woman sleeping alone in the same room, tongues would begin to wag. However, Raymond felt he and Blaire were likely far too tired to worry about that.  He opened up the big box at the end and pulled out the bedsheets. He arranged the pillows so the beds would be head to head instead of head to toe.

“What are you doing?’ Blaire asked.

“I hate pointing my feet at people,” answered Raymond. “It’s just a weird thing about me.
“It’s like when I’m around really small kids, I feel like I’m going to step on them.”

“But the beds are fairly far apart,” she mentioned.

“I know, but I just don’t like the feeling anyway.”

Raymond climbed into the bed facing the door, and Blaire climbed into the other.

“We’ve really got to give both Rose and Nicodemus a talking to tomorrow,” Raymond chuckled.

Raymond went over his entire day in his head before falling asleep. If he had that much of an adventure just buying a house, what was in store for him the next day?

<< Chapter 8 (Part 1) | Chapter 9 >>

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