5. Passageways, Lost and Remembered

Submitted for Contest #30 in response to: Write a story in which someone finds a secret passageway.... view prompt

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Submitted on 02/26/2020

Categories: Mystery


I took this week's 5 prompts and wrote a five-chapter novella.

Each prompt is a chapter.

I did this as a self-challenge: Could I tie five prompts together?

Could I do it well? You can read and decide. (Thank you.)


1. Dreaming? Sleep-Walking? 

2. Unexpected Call

3. Deja-Vu? All too True!  

4. I Lost My Moggy

5. Passageways, Lost and Remembered  *****


5 - Passageways, Lost and Remembered

Moggy is missing. Again! 

It has been two nights so far. So now we will try the Augusta-Xenna Cat Retrieval System. Again. Super-crisp, double-thick, bacon. It did the trick last time, about a week or so ago. Moggy went missing inside the house, we believe anyways, for nearly a week. Augusta and Xenna were having breakfast. Xenna had the bacon, and Moggy reappeared. I was truly at wit's end. So glad she came back.

But gone again. We cannot figure out where she might be hiding or exploring. Now here I am, eating double-thick, super-crisp bacon in my 3rd-floor bedroom, hoping that Moggy relents and returns.

Crunch, munch, crunch, mmmmm, this is really good bacon. "Hey! Moggy! Crispy, yummy bacon is here for you. Moggy-style bacon!" is my conversation with my missing cat. As I munch, I realize that I can't keep wolfing this stuff down. I did (allegedly) make it for Moggy-retrival. At least I need to eat more slowly. Then, a soft "Meow". A sable face comes around the corner into the room. "Yay!" I think to myself. As Moggy settles to eat her bacon portion, I call Xenna on my phone.

"Hi, Xenna. Yes, Moggy is with me now. Yes, bacon is the secret. We're going to spend some time together, I hope. I am hoping that I might be able to follow her after she eats. Tell Augusta. I will keep you posted. Bye, now."

I really don't care why Moggy comes out! I only care that she did come out. My immediate intention is to follow her closely as she meanders about to see if I can figure out where she goes to disappear.

After her mini welcome-back feast, Moggy decides to nap in my lap. Not a problem with me. Today is a Moggy-tracking day. She curls up tighter than tight, sighs, and soon is zzz'ing. I am comfy and don't need to move at all. I have my book here and continue my reading as Moggy sleeps.

A few hours later Moggy stirs. She shakes her head, looks at me, yawns widely, does a neck-stretch in my lap, gets up, does a really deep, long stretch and yawn, then sits, looking at me. I look back, with a smile. Moggy now seems to be staring hard at me. With a "meow" she arises, stretches again, then slowly ambles to the bedroom door. Moggy stops, looks back at me, and "meows" again. She is doing that hard look that is like a stare. Does she want me to follow her? She is yelling at me with her eyes. (!!)

"Okay, Moggy-cat. I'm getting up to follow you," I say softly, "Let's go to where you're going." Moggy steps out into the hall. When I get to the door and look out, Moggy is patiently waiting for me to catch up.

"Okay, I'm with you." Moggy walks off to the left towards the area that is over the 2nd-floor library. We are on the 3rd-floor. As we get to the end of the hall, Moggy stops and looks up at me. "Lead on, McMoggy. This is your show."


Moggy stops at the end of the hall and sits. Straight ahead is an area that contains the servants' stairway and some storage. To our right, the hall goes to a chamber door. To our left, there is the door to another chamber. On this floor, some of the chambers share a bathroom. A few rooms have stairs that go up directly to the room above. The chamber to our left has such a stairway.  

After a few moments, seemingly pondering, Moggy heads straight to the servants' stairway. I reach forward to turn the doorknob but Moggy puts her head against the bottom of the stairway door and pushes. Lo! The door swings sideways into the wall. A pocket door! I am still learning about everything that is my house. I haven't been in the house that long, and I only inherited it about two or so months ago. This house continually surprises me. This stairway is paneled. It is narrow but clean and well-maintained. Moggy steps down 6 stairs and stops again.  

Here, she pushes on a wood section under the panel and "whoosh", a totally unexpected pocket door opens. While I am thoroughly surprised, I instinctively reach down smoothly to catch and pick up Moggy. She half-yowls at me in protest. Against my chest, she struggles some. She does not want to be diverted. She is definitely on a mission.

Regardless, I pull out my phone and call Serga, my staff, and house manager. "Serga, Moggy has shown me a pocket door leading somewhere off the servants' stairway. Just coming down from the 3rd floor. About 6 steps down. I have not gone in and I have a wiggling Moggy in my arms. If you would collect Augusta, Xenna, and William, I would appreciate your presence as soon as reasonable. Yes, I will not be adventurous until you all arrive. Yes, thank you." William, as is Xenna, is my male driver and companion. Augusta is my personal attendant, or 'handmaiden'.  

Luckily our wait is short. All four a bit out of breath, obviously hurrying at my news. Each comes with a bright searchlight. Serga hands one to me. He asks William to lead. William responds, "Certainly, sir." It is close-quarters on the stairway. William describes what he comes to as he moves along.

I followed William, then Serga, Augusta, and Xenna. I had little worry about Xenna. She was tough. 

William had gone about 15 steps up this 2-foot wide passage when it opened into a large area filled with a large cache of varied items. The room was only 6 feet in height but that was sufficient for us all. William pushed 6 feet and bent a little. The rest of us stood upright.


We moved about the area to discover what was here. In and of itself it was a treasure trove. I located a chest that contained memorabilia of Old Gent Jennsen, my benefactor. Inside the chest was the key to lock it (smile) and a letter addressed to 'My Heir'. That ended up being me. 

 Allegedly I am, or was, Gent's 5th cousin. I haven't sat down and figured out how that comes about. Gent was his given name. But I have learned in a short time that 'gentle' and 'gentleman' were apt descriptions of the man.

The letter explains my ancestry, the answer to my question 'How?', and showed me that in 3 short months I went from feeling alone to knowingly have an ancestry that is deep and wide. The chest contained an album. It is a picture album, of Gent and his family, friends, military buddies, and others. I knew that I would spend many hours getting to know these people. The chest also contained notebooks, diaries, and more about Gent, and my elders. Gent also provided a map of sorts of the other, many other, caches in the house. Gent had obtained, 

collected, and acquired tons of stuff, some as far back as the early 1700s. We are talking the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, several European wars, the US Civil War, WWI, WWII, the Korean War. Not all was War memorabilia. There apparently are silverware, coin collections (!!), silver and gold bars, dishware sets (collectible types - complete), all ages of clothing, and so much more. We are all staggered and overwhelmed at the immensity of what we have found. And it is one cache of many! Gent said that most of what is stored here is extremely valuable but he and elders never had the need or urge in purpose to liquidate the contents. Gent said that he was planning on building or acquiring a building for a museum. He saw it as a fun for the ages (pun) opportunity. A great diversion.


I later sat to mentally unwind if I can before I go to bed. Awareness, harking back to my 'awake-dream' and 'deja-vu' experiences, begins to pull together things that I felt but could not understand what and why I was feeling them. One was the sensation of the house looming over me when I returned from work off the grounds, walking to the front steps. Now I understand why. The house was too tall to big for 5 stories. It actually has 9 stories when you tally in the secondary 'house within the house'. Expecting it to be about 65' tall, it was nearly 90' tall. A monster, big but kindly, of a house.

My mental wanderings transformed into philosophical thoughts. My passage in life had taken a sudden detour, and since then I have found and continue to find many things and information that keep on changing my life and my passageways. Not just forward, but it all blazed a pathway back in time, to places, times, and people of whom I had no awareness. Doors and passageways, they now make up my house and my life. I believe that this is what Gent felt with this place. His personal letter to me from the reading of his will conveyed exactly these thoughts. Doors and Passageways. Lost and Remembered.

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1 comment

Anthony Neal
18:35 Mar 05, 2020

Ambitious - I always appreciate when people try and have some fun with the prompts, and I certainly had fun reading it! I enjoyed how flowed into the different skits. I do feel a little guilty for so unceremoniously killing the cat off in my story though...!


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