The Hidden Door
Sam winced as the door creaked. He paused and listened to see if he could hear footsteps of any kind. Nothing. He was just about to resume his pressure on the door when Jeff pushed past him, rudely shoving the door inward. The resulting squeal of the hinges seemed to explode in Sam’s eardrums.
“What the hell?” he said, as loudly as he dared. “We’re breaking and entering here, in case you’d forgotten. We need to be quiet.”
Jeff shrugged. “I told you no one was here. I watched the old couple leave an hour ago. They don’t come back till morning. And the stores on either side are closed up tight too. Nobody’s gonna hear us. Quit being a pansy ass.”
Sam bit his tongue to keep from responding to Jeff’s taunts. Man, he was sick of him. Soon as he had enough dough, he was skipping town. This little Podunk town was weird as hell and he didn’t want to be here. Jeff was a native and while he was a jerk and about as subtle as a bull in a china shop, so far he’d been good at finding places to rob and knew the comings and goings of half the town. So he’d put up with him a bit longer.
Looking around, Sam asked, “What the hell kind of store is this?”
“Antiques.” Jeff answered. “You know, old valuable shit.”
“You’re kidding me, right?” Sam asked, staring at a taxidermied monkey leg. He didn’t see anything valuable. Everything he saw was creepy.
“Nope. Not kidding.” Jeff replied, picking up a glass jar filled with a clear liquid. Sloshing around inside were what appeared to be several eyeballs.
Sam shook his head in disgust and sighed. “Alright, I’ll look over here and you start on the other side of the room. Fill your pack with small things, anything you think we can fence.”
An hour later Sam had grabbed a few things; a gold locket, a silver brush & mirror set and gold pocket watch. He was ready to blow this gig. He’d felt nervous from the time they broke in and it was getting worse. Plus he was hot and sweaty and felt dirty from pawing through the dusty offerings. This whole night was a waste. He was pissed at Jeff and pissed at himself. He should’ve known better. This was nothing but an old junk store. Just as he turned to tell Jeff he thought they should go, Jeff let out yelp and jumped back several feet.
“A rat! A freakin rat!” he shouted.
“Shut the hell up!” Sam said. “Do you want us to get busted?”
Jeff shook his head. “Sorry man, but that startled the hell out of me. This place is giving me the heebie-jeebies.”
“Yeah,” Sam said. “I know what you mean. Let’s bail.” He shouldered his pack and headed for the entrance.
“Hey wait!” Jeff called. “I found a door.”
“Yeah, so did I.” Sam replied.
“No. I found a hidden door.” Jeff said.
Sam pondered that for a minute. Why would you hide a door unless there was something to hide behind it? What the hell, they’d already wasted the night as it was, couldn’t hurt to take a quick look. He walked over to where Jeff was moving a big cupboard. As they slid the cupboard to the side, Sam saw what Jeff was talking about- a small door had been hidden behind it.
“What do ya think’s behind there?” Jeff asked.
“How the hell should I know?” Sam said. “One of us will have to check.”
“Hell no!” Jeff said. “I ain’t going in there.”
Sam sighed. He really didn’t want to either. Had to be something worthwhile in there, he thought. This night couldn’t get any worse. He pulled out his pocket flashlight and knelt down on all fours.
“Okay Jeff, open her up.”
Jeff fought with the latch on the door for a few minutes before it gave. He swung the door wide and Sam shone his light inside. A puff of dusty air escaped, making them both cough.
“Jesus H! It smells like something died in there.” Jeff coughed.
Sam agreed but braced himself and started up the stairs. As soon as he was past the door, he was able to stand up a little. He followed the steps up to a landing and glanced around. The flashlight illuminated very little, but from what he could see, the room was just a storage area filled with more junk. Shit! Shit! Shit! This night sucks, he thought. Just as he started back to the stairs the swinging beam of the flashlight caught something scurrying into the shadows. He stopped and swung the light again.
This time, it wasn’t so quick. Caught in the light was something that resembled a cross between a guinea pig and a squirrel. The moment that Sam spent staring at it is what cost him is life. In the very next instant the thing flew at him all teeth and claws and sour breath. It latched on to his throat and penetrated the jugular before he even had a chance to scream. The only sound was a soft gurgling and the thump of his body as it sagged to the floor. The flashlight bounced down the stairs.
Jeff heard the thump and saw the flashlight bounce down. “Sam?” he called. “C’mon Sam, this shit’s not funny.” He waited a few minutes before he picked up the flashlight and climbed a stair or two. He never even saw the creature coming. The flashlight rolled down the stairs again and came to rest next to their backpacks.
The next morning Mr. & Mrs. Goldenstein arrived at Eccentricities and opened shop. Mrs. Goldenstein found the opened door and the packs beside it.
“Oh dear, oh dear.” She muttered, before shutting and latching the little door.
Mr. Goldenstein saw what she was doing and shook his head.
“Looks like little Goldie had a big night.”
I'm sure I don't have to repeat this but stealing is bad and will not go unpunished. Just saying.
Happy Friday- may your weekend be filled with fun,