It’s getting very hard to breathe now and we still haven’t found a way out of here. I bring out the oxygen canister for Caren to use and one for the cats. They have a special smaller canister, but it’s only meant for one cat. But I splice the tubes from their masks together and hook it to the canister, now they can both breathe with it, however, it won’t last as long. I call the cats over and hook them up and tell them to lie still. Meow,meow?=What about you? You need air too. “There’s not enough for Caren and me,” I said, “she needs it most right now.” But I did take a couple breaths from it and went over to the caskets.
There was something on that map and…maybe that’s it, there has to be an emergency escape from here. This room is a trap, there may not be anyone up top who closed the door, it might close automatically after a few minutes to trap anyone trying to steal their stolen goods. The only likely spot would be the same as what got us in here in the first place. There was a handle at the end of the one casket which I tried to pull and turn but nothing happened. Then I pushed it and heard a click. I pulled it back and the casket turned sideways revealing a crawl through tunnel.
I had to leave my backpack behind, but I took a few things along that I might need and down I went. At least it wasn’t too far but I started to feel strange and shake quite a bit, but I kept going. The end of the tunnel had a metal door but I couldn’t find a way to open it and I didn’t have time to look. So I took out my new cutter, kind of like a plastic explosive but it cuts like a torch. I got it around the door and hooked to my watch. Then I pressed a button on my watch and that cutter went to work. Once it was finished I just pushed and off it came, falling onto the floor. It was right at floor level which was good, and getting that blast of fresh air was amazing!
I felt better so off I went upstairs. I took my gun out and opened the trap door, hoping no one was in the kitchen, and there wasn’t. But outside by the grave monument were two men. I should have figured he would be here, there’s treasure involved. I went outside and yelled, “John!”. The other man stood up, fortunately I saw what kind of gun he had so I fell to the grass as he shot about 20 bullets against the wall of the house. I shot 3 times and he fell to the ground. Just then Baldwin’s men came, one through the kitchen and one on each side of the house. John dropped his gun right away and put up his hands and yelled, “don’t shoot, I’m not armed”.
“Open the lid John,” I said, “I’m sure you know how.” “Sure thing,” he said and did it right away. Baldwin’s men then took him and handcuffed him to a metal pole. The cats and Caren came up and came running over to me. I started feeling strange again and collapsed. I woke up in the doctor’s office again, he was standing there shaking his head. Baldwin, Lena and Calanthe were all there as well, plus Caren and the cats. Lena said, “it’s sure nice that case is over with, we almost lost you that time.” “Well, it’s not quite over with yet Lena,” I said. “What do you mean?”, she asked. “We still have to get one more person and that’s Annali,” I said. “Annali is here too?,” asked Caren.
“Yes, she is,” I said, “and she is wanted for 2 counts of murder.” “What?”, said Caren, “impossible!” The cats lay on the bed and started to growl and 2 of Baldwin’s men came in. “You’re acting was good, but I found out about you a long time back,” I said, “you killed the nurse here and before ever coming here you joined up with Gisela to get me, but before you left home, you killed your sister Caren.” Everyone was looking at Caren now. “She’s not Caren?!” said Lena, “she’s actually Annali?!” Annali moved away from the bed a bit and Baldwin’s men came and took her away. Meow!=Hey, she got our ring, want ring back! Baldwin went over, took the ring off her finger and tossed it to me.
Annali never said a word. “She’ll be in prison for a long time,” I said. Meow,meow?=What about human John? “He can only be charged with attempted murder, so he won’t be in prison for very long,” I said, “so we’ll see him again I’m sure, and probably Gisela too, unless she died from her wounds.” Meow,meow?=And treasure? We get to keep the silver bars as a finders fee, the rest will be returned to the museum. Meow?=Well, what you wait for now? Give ring to real woman you want to marry. “You played your part well Baldwin,” I said, “had me worried a bit.” He laughed with his usual joyous roar. I held out my hand and took Lena’s hand and started to put the ring on her finger and just said the words, “for always?” She smiled and said, “yes, for always.”
Join us next time for a brand new case, “Married”.
©2021 Steve McLeod.