Friday, March 31, 2017

Swamp (excerpt 2)

The first stop was the Crypt, a room just inside the passageway to the rest of the caves. Three sides of sheer rock closed off with a brick wall about eight-yards long and more than a foot deep, the Crypt’s door had been torn out long ago. Having served as the sanctuary and hideaway for previous owners of the hotel, it was packed with what could have been props from a movie: trunks with straps and skeleton-key locks, labels marked with the spidery characters of cultured penmanship; airtight wooden crates built to last for centuries; various iron safes, open to anyone aware that all lock combinations were listed on the front desk’s blotter pad, and; a Porsche Boxter-sized maple desk – loose papers dropping from the top to appear as if it were wearing mullet wig – from which the rest of the room appeared to radiate.

“I’m not looking forward to going through all this crap but I can see this being a really nice space… once it’s cleaned out,” their father mused as his gaze darted around the room. "So… let’s see the rest of this junkyard!”

Outside the Crypt, the passageway grew warmer as it wound its way to the next cave, a much larger room encrusted with calcium and lime, green and white drips covering everything like guano. Gooch’s eyes widened at the series of ovate vats in the room, pumps he imagined as gigantic fossilized dinosaur eggs. Pipes large and small crisscrossed the ceiling, chattering and clanking with life, needle-like stalactites forming where mineral water dripped.

“The whole town’s geothermal heating system runs through this contraption. Old timers say Pogo used to cut the heat when he was mad, which I’m told was pretty often. If he did, it happened here.”
Next, an expansive room revealed what had been the employee cafeteria during Pogo’s reign. “Lights don’t work from hereon in,” their father muttered as everyone’s flashlight beams scissored madly through the darkness. “Someone took almost every slab of metal outta here and ripped the copper wiring out of the walls. After Pogo, the later owners didn’t appear to have much use for this place or anything after this. Kinda scary, the caves beyond this room.”