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Glimmers and Sheens

Shacklady Chapter 5 Excerpt

“After I got the deeds and key, Gerry got hold of a genuine 1912 map, also showing the mine but when we compared it to a 1928 edition, Hey Presto! Mr. Shacklady’s Mine had mysteriously disappeared.”

“Strange, though good for you! I guess you are going to renovate Lady Emily, then what.....sell her and make a wad?”

“No, quite the opposite,” Alan replied tersely. “As you’ll see in a moment or two, it’s not quite that simple.”

As their journey to the old Mine progressed, the road and the ride became much rougher. “Ooooph!” exclaimed Wendy, as both of the front wheels, vanished down a trench and climbed out again, equally as violently.

“Almost there,” said Alan, as his Subaru slid around the final corner and came to a swift halt.

There, ahead of them, a silver coloured 4x4 stood parked and it looked like it had been sitting there a good while. “That looks like Gerry’s machine,” Alan said as he opened the driver’s door, frowning and jumped out quickly. “I’ll just go and check that everything’s okay,” he muttered, as he looked at the dusty, damp vehicle. “I’ll be back in a tick,” he called, as he rushed over to the dew soaked 4x4. The windows were covered in a cold weather condensation and the hood was cold. He tried the doors but the car was securely locked.

“Is it your mate’s auto?” asked Nick, as he approached the scene.

“Sure is,” answered Alan, as he peered through gaps in the dew soaked windows.

“Anybody inside?”

“Nope, nothing and nobody, as far as I can see,” Alan replied disconsolately, then stood tall. “When I left him yesterday, he said that he was just going back into The Mine to fetch his camera, which he reckoned that he’d left in Emily’s cab. Maybe he couldn’t find it and decided to come back early this morning instead, in order to look for it?” That sounded weak, even to him. “Okay, well come on then, I’ll show you the mine entrance and we’ll see if we can dig out Gerry, wherever he is.”

Wendy approached and looked quizzically at Alan. “You’re worried aren’t you?” She asked and tried to follow his eyes to see what was interesting to him, in this moment of vague crisis.

“He must be inside the mine,” Alan declared and set off across the shattered landscape, towards what at first appeared to be little more than another time blasted, rock face.

“Where are we going?” Wendy inquired of Nick, while looking ahead at what appeared to be another sheer rock face. He could only shrug his shoulders.

“I’ve no idea but Alan seems to know where he’s going, so let’s just follow him,” Nick suggested.

As they crested the curve of the rock face, the heavily rusted iron gate that guarded the entrance of Silas Shacklady’s Mine from intruders, came into sight.

“Impressive,” gasped both Nick and Wendy almost in unison.

“Just wait until you see what’s inside,” Alan grinned and checked under the, ‘secret stone’ for the key. “It’s not here,” he declared a little too loudly. “So he must be inside.” Alan concluded, walking over to the rusted wrought iron gates and giving them a firm push, before he noticed that the key was still in the lock on the inside. He reached in, turned it and pushed again.

This accidentally curious build up, coupled with the stuttering creak of the hinges, captured the moment perfectly. A slight vibration of anticipated adventure rippled down Wendy’s spine, as she passed through the rusty portal and stepped into Silas Shacklady’s old Mine workings.

Mir stopped at the iron grill and started growling, softly. Wendy noticed that her hackles had risen. “It’s O.K, girl. Nothing to worry about,” she soothingly said, walking back to stroke her Wolf’s warm head, then turned back towards the inside.

As Nick and Alan casually moved further into the dark entrance, Mir took up her full guard stance and occasionally bared her teeth.

She sensed something.

There was something deeper, inside this old Mine.

Something threatening.

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