We were in our spare bedroom. We called it our office, but that wasn't accurate. It was a house for all of our crap that we had yet to unpack from our move. We had just finally cleaned it up enough to get to the closet, where she was moving the carpet off the trap door.
The trap door was large, professionally built. It was framed to be a noticable fixture before it was covered with carpet and forgotton about. I watched anxiously as she pried it open, and we both reeled from the smell of forgotten air, tainted with decades of Alaskan must.
The ladder leading downwards on the far side looked promisng, and she elected to go first. I held the flashlight, and she slowly climbed down the first few steps. Suddenly, she yelled, and I heard her fall. Judging by the time of her yell, it must have been twenty or thirty feet.
Worried, I poked my head through our threshold and looked into the gaping yet somehow well-lit expanse below. Immediately below the trapdoor was a balcony. I could see stairs leading off this balcony to my right, and around the room in front of me. The main floor, where she had fallen, had a beautiful art-deco style tile pattern, and the walls were adorned with light fixtures and painting from the same area. When I saw her, she looked more excited than hurt, her eyes conveying a sense of calm and joy that betrayed the big, bloody scrape on her face. She, and now I, both realized that we had quite literally fallen into a magnificently unexpected treasure.
But the immediate situation had to be addressed. How do we get her out? I had to make sure someone was here to keep an eye on my boy. Just barely walking and very curious, he'd share her fate in the basement if he was allowed close enough. My friend was here. Suddenly, I remebered him coming over earlier to help with the clean-up. I grabbed the boy and began walking around the house looking for my friend.
Rats, he must have left earlier. I left to inform her, and she seemed content exploring for the time being. I set off, running to the grocery store, where my parents happened to be. They watched the boy as I then ran to the theatre to meet another one of our friends.
While I was explaining to her the magnitude of our situation and what needed to be done, she came around the corner, anxious to show me something. I followed her, in utter disbelief, as she was in a hole in our office closet not twenty minutes ago.
We rounded the corner into a large hallway with three very large, red doors. They seemed like barn doors, mounted with rollers on pipes above them. Very inconspicuous decorations, considering the condition of the theatre. She walked to the middle door, and slid it open. There was actually a cavern behind this one, plenty tall and wide, but only a few feet deep, ending with a pair of beautiful art-deco style stained-glass doors. There was also a little push-button panel on our right, with five ivory buttons.
She typed in a sequence, and it sounded like five notes in a song. The doors opened. We walked into another compartment similar to the first, except we were now on a ramp leading downward. I put I together. This was the main entrance! This must have been a retreat during prohibition! Awesome!
She typed in another set of notes, the next five notes in the same song. We continued onward, two more compartments, each one closing the doors behind us as we entered the next room. The walls and floor were red and dimly, warmly lit in each compartment as we approached the main room.
Finally, in the fourth compartment, she punched in the wrong code. All of the doors behind us opened. We could see up to the big barn door in the theatre. Looks like we'll have to try again...