Anita cleans homes for a living. She doesn’t take much joy in her job, but she does have pride in her hard work, and how even her increasingly desperate situation has not been able to get her down. In a moment, she will begin cleaning out an old wardrobe, one that has not been touched since the stately home changed hands.

Near the back of the many old and dusty furs, she will find a hidden latch, mistaking it for a splinter to be pulled and reglued. Woodworking and joinery isn’t in her job description, but since the new owners are both asking and paying, there’s a bottle of wood glue in her back pocket.

The back will slide open on hinges still well-oiled, revealing a passage down into darkness. It’s filthy, so does it need to be cleaned too? That will be foremost on Anita’s mind as she enters, cell phone flashlight ablaze.

She has never heard of the Findlay Vault, the legendary trove that Sir Thomas Findlay III supposedly hid on the grounds. Anita has no idea that the room she is cleaning and airing out was the young Master Thomas IV’s room, untouched by his grieving mother who was one Sir Thomas’s young bride, until she died. No one had been in that room, in that wardrobe, in the nearly 70 years since Master Thomas IV had perished and his father had disappeared.

Anita will follow the long, cool stone tunnel, perhaps once used to smuggle Roman Catholic priests. She will follow it to the Findlay Trove, long undisturbed. And the light of her flashlight will play over the mummified remains of Sir Thomas, surrounded by the riches he hoped to take with him into the next world.

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!