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The Secret of The Grand Hotel(part two of three)

HANK: “You go ahead and go in, Heidi.”

HEIDI: “We put our heads together and figured out the best time of day to try was after 8:00 p.m. At the time, we proceeded to the cellar. The guests were being served dinner and the kitchen was a madhouse. We could hear the diners talking and laughing. In the kitchen, we could hear Andre the grand chef barking orders at all his assistants. You could hear his Army Sergeant voice everywhere.

We hustled to the door. We were getting so excited. Hank whipped out his wire and started to manipulate the lock with his wire. No sooner had he begun to work, there was a noise at the kitchen stairway. An employee was coming down to get a vintage bottle of wine for the guests. We didn’t know what to do so we just stood there, eyes wide open, not breathing and frightened to death.”

EMPLOYEEE (angrily): “Hey! What are you two kids doing here? No one is allowed down here after dinner begins. Now git! I don’t want to see you here again after hours or I’ll tell your parents about it.”

HANK AND HEIDI (together): “We’re sorry, we were just snooping around.” “By the way where does this door lead to?” asked Hank.

EMPLOYEEE: “I don’t know, nobody knows. It has been boarded up for years. I’ve worked here for 30 years and it never was opened during that time. Besides, no one has the key. Now get a move on!”

HANK TO HEIDI (outside): “Well, we tried. We’ll come again and be more careful.”

HEIDI: “Some days later we chose another night. It was pouring rain and lightening like crazy. Our house wasn’t far from the hotel’s back door. As usual the kitchen crew was very busy; cooks were scurrying around and the chef’s voice was barking out orders.

Flashes of lightening sporadically lit up the dark cellar. We were smart to bring a flashlight. We approached the padlocked door and Hank used his wire to open it. After what seemed like an hour “click” went the padlock. There were several old boards crisscrossing the door. They almost fell off from deterioration at the slightest touch of Hank’s hand. After removing the lock, Hank turned to me with a curious but scared look.”

HANK (jumps in): “Yes. I reached down to try the huge rusty handle and turned it ever so slowly. It creaked but continued to open. I took a deep breath and gradually pulled it more. As it opened a big “whoosh” of stagnant air blew in our faces.

“We stood in the open doorway and shined the flashlight into the darkness. It seemed to be a stairway leading upward. Dust and cobwebs were everywhere and covered us as we entered. We had to swing our arms all around us to clear away the hanging debris. The steps creaked with each step we took. Our flashlight penetrated the darkness. We stuck with it and reached the first level. It appeared there were more steps. Now and then things were flying at our heads. We heard what sounded like high squeals, Yuck! I turned to Heidi and said in a hunched voice, “Bats!”

HANK (continues): “At this point we must have been in there an hour. At least it seemed like that. The rain continued to pelt down as flashes of lightening lit the stairway, making shadows and shapes appear on the walls. We stopped and Heidi said in a whisper, “Lets go back.” I could see that she was very frightened. Of course, I wasn’t. Well, maybe a little.”

INTERVIEWER (interrupts): “This is all very fascinating. Where were the steps going? We’re dying to hear the conclusion…”

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Hal Vizino

A resident of Winterset Neighborhood Association, he is excellent artist & story teller. Hal author's a children's column in the newspaper. He became interested in writing children's stories and dedicating them to his four granddaughters. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer