If you haven’t read previous chapters I have a category listing on the side with the title 2015 April A-Z challenge. You can find all the chapters there. Thanks for reading!
“Where’s your car?” I ask Angela.
“I want to see this Wenner place. You got time to take me?” I start following Angela to her car. I want to see this property that has someone so interested they would send a thug to hustle Angela.
“I canceled all my appointments for this week. Between Tony’s death and threats to me, I couldn’t possibly work.” Angela digs out some keys and pushes the remote. I hear some locks unlock from a Cadillac SUV Escalade about ten feet from us. We get in the SUV and buckle up. I put Tee in the backseat with his satchel.
“We can stop someplace for breakfast on the way out,” I tell her. I was hungry and it’s been a long morning already.
Angela glances over at me and grimaces. “You just beat up some guy! How can you possibly think of food right now!”
“I didn’t beat him up. I stopped him from hurting you.”
“Where did you learn that stuff Dee? It all happened so fast!”
“I’ve been taking lessons for years. Anyway, that’s not important. Do you have the deed to this Wenner place?”
“No. Tony had it since he owned most of the place. I own forty percent, he owned the rest. The deed must be in his house somewhere.”
“Tony had that much money? A stand-up comic?” I ask, but I’m looking for a place to eat. I’m hungry and I’m sure Tee wouldn’t mind a bite. He loves scrambled eggs.
“Oh, he only was a comedian since he retired. It was always a dream of his to become a comedian. He made all his money in real estate. Tony owned one of the biggest real estate offices in Ashville. He started before Ashville became popular with the rich and famous.”
I see a well-known chain restaurant, known for its breakfast twenty-four hours a day. It was good enough for me. I point it out to Angela and tell her to stop there.
We stop and have a fast breakfast. I take some of the scrambled eggs out to Tee, who’s waiting patiently in the SUV. My mind is mulling over all Angela has told me about Tony. Seems he got into the real estate business just in time to cash in on the boom in Ashville. Made millions over the years and finally was able to retire and live his dream of playing in clubs as a stand-up comic. He sounds like he was a stand-up guy all around.
Forty-five minutes later Angela pulls onto a run down gravel road that leads to the Wenner mansion. Even I could see it would make a good area for an exclusive hotel. It sat on some good land, a bit overgrown with weeds now, but I saw the potential. It also was only fifteen minutes away from a ritzy yacht club on the ocean.
I’m looking around as Angela maneuvers the SUV to avoid some major potholes, when the mansion suddenly comes into view.
For being neglected for so long, it was surprisingly intact. Overgrown rose bushes and weeds were everywhere, but the building itself was eye-catching. As my uneducated eye looks the mansion over, it looks to me like something out of the Great Gatsby movies. Impressive.
“The house doesn’t look too bad,” I say to Angela as she stops and parks in what I imagine was once a grand circular driveway.
We get out of the SUV and I take a look around. That’s when I start to notice the various holes all around. Must be where people were digging for the gold.
“The house is in great shape considering. No one bothered with it, they were more interested in the grounds, as that is supposedly where old man Wenner had the gold buried. In some kind of underground vault is the rumor.” Angela steps carefully over some rubble.
“Let’s take a quick look around,” I suggest.
“Ok, but be careful, there are holes everywhere and some of them quite deep,” Angela warns me.
People are strange. To go out and dig holes all over just because of some decades-old rumor of gold. Gold has a way of making people crazy. Gold fever is real. Me, I’m not interested in finding the stuff. I’m just interested in finding out if Tony was killed because of some myth that there was gold buried here.
By now we’re behind the house in what looked like what used to be a pretty fancy garden. I could still see parts of hedges and flower beds. Years of dead leaves and overgrown grass rustle beneath our feet. We skirt a few holes and walk slightly off a faded path when I hear an ominous cracking sound underfoot.
We must have stepped on a hidden hole that had been covered with leaves and grass. The wood was old and weathered and couldn’t hold our combined weight. Seconds flashed by as I give Angela a hard shove off the boards and feel the wood give beneath my feet. This was going to hurt.
I’m laying flat on my back and looking up at the concerned face of Angela. I must have fallen a good fifteen feet. Good thing the dirt was soft. Well, softer than rock anyway. I’m trying to catch the breath that was knocked out of me as I hear Angela calling my name.
“Dee! Dee! Oh my god, Dee! Are you alright?”
I hear Tee barking up there and Angela calling my name, but I have no breath to answer. Finally in a big gasp, air comes back into my lungs. I cough as the dust I raised when I fell starts to settle around me. I start to take inventory of my limbs. Nothing broke, but damn that hurt.
I struggle up and try to take a look around. It’s dark and smells of the earth. I need some light. And a ladder.
“I’m Ok!” I gasp. “Can you find me a flashlight? And a ladder or rope? Also, get Tee’s satchel and throw it down to me. There might be some things in the outer pockets I can use.”
Tee is still barking as Angela answers me. “I have a flashlight in the car. I’ll see if I can find a ladder in one of the sheds.”
I hear her move off and try to calm Tee down. “Quiet Tee! That’s a good boy!”
I’m looking up at him when I see him move closer to the hole. “Stay back Tee!” I yell, but it’s too late.
I see the dirt shift under his feet and see him slide. He scrambles to get back, but it’s no use. With dirt falling around me, I watch as Tee slides through the hole and starts falling.
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