Scene Fifteen

The scoop shovel hit the ground – hard.

Marko, who was purported to be an expert on the machine, pulled the scoop back to scrape away as much of the top soil as possible. Once the three inches or so of dirt, rocks and grass was removed, however, only a flat plain of concrete was exposed.

He turned off the machine, and Donald and the rest inspected the find.

“What do you make of it, Jackson?” Mr. Rogers said, rubbing his hand along what appeared to be an extension of the cobblestone street.

“I was hoping someone else had a good idea.”

Lonnie suggested they continue and expose the rest of the field. “I can’t imagine we stumbled upon is the beginnings of a failed through-street,” she said, bunching up the features of her face. “Why does nothing about this place make any sense?”

Melody cocked her head to one side. “This is the thing that bothers you?”

The five moved away from the center to the edges and Donald gave Marko the 'thumbs up' to finish the job.

No matter where it was placed, however, the scoop continued to find only cobblestone pavement. Melody plugged her ears, finding the horrible sound grating on her senses. Thirty minutes later the entire field was uncovered. This exposed no access to the well, if even it existed at all.

A neighbor next to the field appeared on her porch in her bathrobe. She shouted, “You boys building a skating rink over there?”

Lonnie waved back, while Melody winced at the accusation. It wasn't so much that they had been discovered, but that she had been categorized as one of the “boys” that annoyed her.

“Scientific experiment,” Lonnie called back.

Melody eyed her mother. “Really?”

“Well,” Lonnie said. “It is, kind of. In a general sort of way.”

The neighbor used her hand to shade her eyes as though the sun had been blocking her vision. “Oh, Lonnie, is that you? Oh, and Melody, too?” She smiled then, and waved, and went back into her house, as though the presence of both of them was enough to assure her that there wasn't just a bunch of nonsense going on.

“I feel bad, now,” Melody said. “It's like she's putting her trust in us.”

Her father stepped near her, with his hand on his chin as though in deep contemplation. “We scraped off some old ratty grass and that’s it. If the city came over they might give us a fine, or make us reseed the back lot. And that's a big maybe. I mean if you're worried about legalities and your reputation. There are things we’re not technically allowed to do on our own property, too, like building the foundation of a shed. Some people can't dig a hole in their yard and take the dirt off-site. It has to be reincorporated somewhere else on the property. I mean, does any of that sound criminal?"

“What is making you such a font of boring knowledge all of a sudden?” Melody asked him. “Are you going to start complaining about the gov’ment and the revenuers now, too?”

Bernie was still staring at the ground. “Apparently I babble when I’m nervous and confused. I was just trying to figure out why someone would do this.”

“Paving a yard and then planting sod on top?”

“Yeah. Well, more-so, why do the entire field? This is just a flat plane. The little hills and raised bits were all done intentionally as to make it seem natural. That raised portion in the back actually had a mostly composted remnant of a fabric netting to keep its shape.”

“Oh, like they didn't want this field to ever stand out," Lonnie said, softly. "So, if this was paved over, that might mean that instead of just filling in the basement maybe this is just a ceiling over an old underground structure.”

“I hadn't considered that, but I don’t know...maybe. It kind of makes sense now that somebody’s said it. Although where would the access point be? I mean there's no...”

Lonnie grabbed both of her husband's ears and physically turned his head around so that the little white structure that fronted the field, came into view.

“Oh,” he said.

Melody began to walk in that direction.

“Where are you going?” her father asked her.

“I'm going to look to see if there's any symbols that look like that Celtic Knot engraved anywhere.”

“I'm coming with you,” Lonnie said.

“Fine,” Bernie said, snapping out of his contemplative reverie. "I've got nothing better to do."

Melody hopped up on the porch and first began to examine the molding along the door. She was a little disappointed to find that it was just basic sheet metal. In fact, this was really the first time she had looked at the little weather station closely. She found it to be basically utilitarian like one might find on any governmental property where tax-payer money was considered. There was no window, and the small porch and side rails were nothing more than basic, treated lumber carelessly assembled as though only for temporary use. There were no decorative adornments of any kind.

She jumped down from the porch, and found her mother had pulled back the facade at the base of the structure. This revealed only five supports and a crawlspace.

“I don't think this place has any kind of access to the basement,” she said. “I mean there's a pipe in the middle, but it's not large enough for anyone to descend.”

“I didn't find anything that might tie this to the Celtic Knot clan, either,” Melody said, disappointedly. I really thought there was something nefarious about this place.”

“Sometimes, girly,” Lonnie said. “Things really are what they appear to be.”

Melody shook her head. “I will never believe that,” she said. She took a defensive stop backward when Donald walked over to them. He had upon his face a very dour expression.

“So,” Lonnie said. “Are you off to get a jackhammer?”

“I think we've attracted enough attention to ourselves for one day.”

“What's the plan, then?” Melody asked him. Surely he wasn't about to let this go. The mystery was beginning to thicken like prospector stew.

Her mother raised an eyebrow at her daughter at this moment.

Melody shrugged, another of her thoughts had escaped to the world. “Similes aren’t always easy to come by?”

“I don't know,” he said, sadly. “Every time I think I'm getting closer, I run into a brick wall.”

It Happened on Lafayette Street

Season One: Episode Four

Melody Jackson

vs. The Creeping Terror

by BMB Johnson

Scene Fifteen

Please support our efforts

Support the author -- buy him a coffee to keep him awake and writing

Read Bark, the first of the Bill Swagger stories, free on our site.

Tales of Fastlegreive

Our new ongoing series of stories in the Fastlegrieve realm.

Read the "Tales of Fastlegrieve" for free on our site.