Memphis looked over at his brother. “Now all we have to do is find a way out there.” He went over to study the map again. He saw several of the tunnels close to the area but nothing that would take them the whole way through. Then he turned to Delaney and his eyes widened.
Delaney got up and walked over to him. “What’s wrong?”
Zeus and Leon both joined them.
Memphis turned back to the map of the property and found the closest tunnel…The tunnel that came out near the garage. Turning back to Delaney he asked, “Do you remember saying something about the spot you ducked into before you set off the flash bang? You said it looked like another room altogether.”
Delaney nodded. “But the room was empty. I remember telling you that too.”
Memphis nodded then stepped closer to the map and ran his finger along the tunnel that came out into the garage. Looking over at his Zeus he asked, “What if we were missing another tunnel that was part of this tunnel but hidden? Would it be possible that we walked right past the opening and never noticed it?”
Zeus ran his hands over the back of his head and thought about it for a moment, then shrugged. “Yeah, I have to admit it’s possible I suppose. We were more interested in seeing where the tunnel led us rather than what we might find along the way.”
Diabolus walked over and joined them. He was looking at the map. “Yeah, if I remember correctly, there was a bend in the tunnel.” He pointed at the spot in the tunnel. Next, he traced a path directly to the old well square. “We didn’t really have enough light with us when we went down there the first time to be able to tell anything. But yeah, there could be something we missed.”
“Well…” Scout stood from his chair. “There’s only one way to find out. Let’s go down there again and this time, we find out what we missed the first time.”
“Oh, this I gotta see for myself,” Calderone said.
Leon nodded. “Me too.”
“Well, no time like the present.” Zeus sighed. “Better get some lights then and we’ll find out.” He looked over at Leon. “As much as I know you want to be there, maybe you shouldn’t go until we at least know what we’re looking at here. Those tunnels might not be safe. We’ve been down there and with Delaney’s flash bomb going off, the ground might not be as safe as it once was.”
Leon’s nostrils flared but he didn’t say anything. He knew the danger was very real but the other man was correct, he did want to be there.
“He’s correct father, but I am going,” Calderone stated. “I know you don’t like it but someone will have to dig us out if the tunnel collapses.”
“Do not even joke about something like that son.” Leon growled. “Non è divertente.” It is not funny.
Calderone shook his head. “Si, it isn’t. And I know you do not appreciate being left behind but it really is for the best.”
Diabolus nodded. “Yeah, it might be for the best. We are gonna shake the walls with a sledgehammer. We might have to bust through the wall.” Shaking his head he said, “That is if we can even find it. This is a long shot at best.”
Delaney shivered. She glanced over at her grandfather and found him looking back. An idea popped into her head and she wasn’t sure she liked it. He had a certain look in his eye almost as if he knew something they didn’t. “Grandpa, what are you thinking?”
Alfredo shook his head. “I’m not really sure but I do remember that time and all the fuss my dad was making about having to put another well in. My dad had a hell of a temper and when he found we didn’t have water he was pissed. So while one team was drilling a new well, he had another company digging out the old one. When he replaced it with another huge tank I wasn’t sure exactly what he was doing. I knew better than to ask so I sat in my bedroom and watched them sink the new tank.”
“Do I hear a, but in that statement?” Leon asked.
Alfredo nodded. “But I also noted several of his men were busy digging as well. What they were digging this time, I didn’t need to know. Bene, his men were always digging something around this place.” He shook his head. “He was a man with too many secrets and he played too many head games. You never knew if he was telling the truth or spreading more lies when he spoke to you. It was infuriating as hell.”
“Si, it was.” Leon agreed. “He always had this look in his eyes and he would stare you in the face and lie to you. Un pagliaccio con troppi trucchi.”
Memphis got out his translator app on his phone and tapped that in.
Delaney looked over at him and shook her head.
Memphis read it and muttered, “A clown with too many tricks.” He chuckled.
Click went down to his office and when he returned, he handed Zeus a headset with a camera attached. “Wear this and we can go along with you. That way, we can see what you see, as you see it.”
Zeus snorted the put on the headset. “I want only four of us to go down. Diabolus you go get the hammer. Memphis, find us a black light, maybe we can see a difference with that if nothing else.” He looked over at Calderone. “You, me Diabolus and Memphis will go down into the tunnel. With this…” He motioned to the headset. “Everyone else will see what we see. But like Leon said, our time is running out and we have to figure out what Alfonzo left for his family.”
Calderone shed his jacket and laid it over a chair. He then headed toward Zeus and the others as they gathered what they needed to get ready to go down the tunnel.
Zeus turned on the headset.
Grave Digger came in and asked, “What’s happening?”
“They’re gonna hunt one of the tunnels for some well-tank,” Click explained.
Grave Digger shook his head and called out to the group, “I want no more bodies and if you can keep the injuries to a minimum, I would appreciate it.”
Zeus paused to look back at him and shrugged.
Memphis was the one to answer, “We’ll try buddy, we will try.”
Delaney stepped forward and grabbed a flashlight.
Grave Digger put his hand onto the table where the flashlights were as he blocked her access. “No way, young lady. You are on leave from the tunnels.”
She glared at him and placed her hands on her hips.
Alfredo came over and placed a hand onto her shoulder. “Per favore, bambina.”
Memphis turned his head to look over at her. “Sì, ascolta il pagliaccio, piccolo.”
Alfredo gasped as he stared at him.
Delaney chuckled, her anger immediately evaporating.
Memphis stared at Alfredo’s stunned expression then over at her.
She bit at her lip to keep from laughing now as she explained, “I’m afraid you need more lessons. You just said, Yes, listen to the clown, Baby.”
Memphis’ eyes rounded as he looked over at her grandpa. “I am so sorry sir.”
Alfredo now chuckled. “I do like that you are trying. But I don’t think I have ever been called a clown.”
Leon raised a brow at him. “Maybe do not speak Italian to me, son. It could get you fitted for some cement boots.” He then gave him the Leon glare.
Memphis tucked his head back then turned to rush away.
“Be safe…” Delaney called out as her amusement was now gone.
Click focused on getting the feed from the camera. Once he got it on his laptop, he transferred it to the monitor sitting on the table.
Everyone gathered around the table and as they watched, they saw the four men enter the tunnel and move along the sodden walls.
Memphis was shining his flashlight as he moved along and just before they got to the bend in the tunnel, he stopped and shone the light on the walls.
At first, they saw no difference wherever the light went, then he started over.
Leon hissed as he saw the outline. It was about six and half feet off the ground but there was a variable difference in the dirt. “There is a door there. I can see it.”
Click nodded. “So can they sir.”
The men in the tunnel made room for Diabolus.
The big guy swung his sledgehammer against the wall. It took him several hits to even make a dent in the dried adobe that had been used to build the wall back in.
Several more hits began to open a hole. Little by little, he finally broke through the wall and then he eventually opened the hole wider and wider. Diabolus was now coughing as the others were holding their hands over their mouths and noses, almost as if the air was foul down there.
Leon turned to Click, “Tell Zeus that they can go back down later but they should return now before they can’t.”
Click nodded at him as he tapped out a message on his phone that they should get out of there and sent it.
Zeus read the message on his phone and nodded.
They all turned to stumble back the way they had come. A short time later, they came back to the main room and they were all coughing.
Grave Digger went to his infirmary to get them oxygen. He set them up and gave each one of them a good whiff, one at a time.
After a few moments with oxygen, they began to recover.
“What happened down there?” Leon asked with a growl.
“The air inside that tunnel we just found was bad,” Zeus told him. “Really bad. There was almost a chemical stench to it.”
Alfredo lifted his head. “A chemical stench? Are you sure?”
Calderone nodded as he added, “Si, it was cattivo.”
Alfredo frowned. “I don’t understand. Why would he poison the air down there? It doesn’t make any sense to me if he told Barrett about the tunnel and what he put down there then he poisoned the air? Not even my father was that crazy.” Shaking his head he whispered, “He wouldn’t kill his own family with bad air.”
Grave Digger looked over at Zeus. “What exactly did it smell like, Boss?”
Zeus shook his head. “It’s hard to explain but I noticed my eyes were really dry on the way out of the tunnel and the hairs in my nose were tingling as if the air was too dry or something. Why? Do you know what it is?”
Grave Digger shook his head then turned to Alfredo, “Question, would the tank your dad buried have been a place to keep things dry and temperature controlled?”
Alfredo frowned. “I don’t know, why do you ask?”
“The dry air, along with the chemical smell,” Grave Digger explained. “It somehow fits with having a dry tank with air and temperature controls. The tank would last a long time but it wouldn’t last forever. If the pressure tank is empty then it will fill the cavity around the tank with a chemical imbalance. If you were a kid when he buried it, that was a long time ago. It is possible the tank went dry twenty years or so ago.”
Alfredo thought for a moment then shook his head. “My dad came down here after I left home a couple of times. He could have known about the tanks needing replacement every so often. I can’t believe he would have told my son and grandsons about this without it being safe for them to get to.”
Grave Digger shrugged. “Then I have no idea what’s going on but the guys shouldn’t go back down there without oxygen tanks strapped to their backs.”
Scout snorted. “Come on, that’s easy to do, doc.”
Leon snapped his head around and glared at the other man. “How?”
Scout shrugged. “We got some scuba tanks out in the shed. This spring we all went diving and we had to buy the tanks. They should be about half full or better.”
Grave Digger grinned. “That might work, I forgot about those tanks. And my infirmary might have enough canned O2 to fill them almost full if we need it.”
“Get those tanks,” Leon ordered. “I want to know what that crazy old man hid down there.”
Scout and a couple of the others went to get the diving equipment and Grave Digger went to get his oxygen tanks.
This second trip down Click had given Zeus a two way microphone clipped to his shirt. That way, he could tell them right away if there was any danger.
Half an hour later, they had four o2 tanks strapped to Zeus, Diabolus, Memphis, and Calderone’s backs.
Then they were on their way back down the tunnel. Diabolus finished breaking the wall down and carefully, they headed down the tunnel they found on the other side of the opening.
The people gathered around the table hardly dared to breathe as they watched the four men traverse the tunnel.
They came to a bend in the tunnel and they all halted in their tracks.
”Holy fucking shit.” They all heard Zeus say.
”What do you see?” Click asked.
“You guys aren’t going to believe this shit,” Zeus told them.
“Believe what?” Leon growled. “Show us what you’re looking at.”
Zeus took a couple of steps further into the new room and turned his camera toward the tank they found.
“Dios Madre,” Leon swore in astonishment.
“What the everlovin fuck?” Grave Digger whispered as he stared at the image.
The tank took up the whole room. It had a thermostat and a door with a combination lock on it, almost like a safe.
Zeus turned his head cam and showed them all that the tank looked broken and the hose was busted. It also had grime and slime caked over the hose part.
“There are only a few items in the world that would need all of this,” Leon grumbled as he looked pissed.
“And this was the reason for the bad air down there. That tank leaked and all the chemicals in it have been leaking out for a while now.” Grave Digger shook his head.