XVI – Roman Hidden Passageways, or WHAT THE . . .!

Dear Journal:

Things began to settle down a bit after the fracas in the main hall. The new/old furniture matched my tastes perfectly, so the villa began to feel more like home. The Lady hadn’t visited in a while because of some private business and the servants and guards were as unobtrusive as ever. Thus I was left to my own devices, so I decided to explore my new home.

Shoulda’ stayed in bed.

I’ve always been fascinated by architectural details like wall decorations and strange hallways, and I figured that this place must have some dandy secrets. I started snooping. Most Roman houses are set up in a predictable pattern, so that one can visit almost anywhere in Rome and see pretty much the same floor plan.

Figures my place WOULD have to be different. Believe it or not, I got lost. How does one get lost in one’s own home you might ask? Well, in my case, hang a left past the veranda and wind up in a section of house that shouldn’t be there.

The area I found myself in didn’t follow any traditional patterns of construction that I was familiar with. The traditional arch was present, but the walls were made up of huge blocks of tightly fitted black stone. It was as though the current villa had been added on to an older structure already present on the site. Since the older building was to the rear of the house, it, apparently, had never been noticed after the add on.

It was at this point that I should have found my way back to the veranda and avoided what happened next. As I’ve said, I’m the curious type. So much so that I’ve never had the common sense to leave well enough alone. Thus it was that I decided to explore this decidedly odd construction.

As I traversed the hallways, I noticed another oddity about the place. There were no right hand turns, only left. Well, if one turns left enough times, one should wind up back at the starting point.

In my case, that’s not what happened.

The general architecture remained the same, but the hallways I entered were always different in specific details. Another oddity. There was no furniture anywhere and the passageways were as clean as if they had just been swept. About the fifth left turn, I began to panic.

Where was the way out?!

I tried retracing my steps to no avail. The hallways I had traveled were no longer there. I had no choice but to continue forward through this strange maze. It was about three turns later that my luck changed.

For the worse.

The hallway I entered ended suddenly at an open doorway, where a flight of steps descended downward ’till they were lost in darkness. What to do? It had become painfully obvious by this time that my only road was forward, so, fearfully, down the steps I went.

The descent was not straight, but consisted of multiple turns. Always to the left. Another oddity. What had, at first observation, seemed to be darkness was not dark at all. More like a continuous twilight.

By the Gods! What had I unwittingly stumbled onto or into?

As the descent continued, I began to be aware that the air had developed some moisture, as though I was traveling beneath a body of water. It felt as though I had been descending for hours when, abruptly, the stairs ended, and I found myself standing on the level floor of a vast chamber. The same twilight glow lit the place, thus affording me some idea of where I was. At least I wouldn’t have to stumble around aimlessly.

Taking stock of my surroundings, I, by chance, glanced back the way I had come. What greeted my eyes was solid stone. The stairs were gone! At that moment, fear gave way to incipient terror.

Where was I?! How could I escape this nightmare? Unfortunately, the way was still forward.

Chapter XVII

Published in: on September 13, 2009 at 12:06 PM  Leave a Comment  

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