A Secret Grave 90: One Day You’ll See


Victor had wanted to get into Leonard’s office for a long time. He’d never been invited in there. He’d see his father unlock the door with a key he always kept on his person, go in, and quickly close the door behind him. Same coming out: door shut and quickly locked. When Victor asked his father what went on in the room, all he’d get was a vague smile and a murmured “one day you’ll see.” Sometimes he’d listen outside the door, but there were no giveaway sounds. Occasionally odd smells: acrid, pungent, gassy, like something was burning. He assumed his father had some kind of secret lab in there and fantasized about getting his hands on the key and having it copied.



Photo taken at a rare moment when Leonard left the shades up/ The Laboratory (crop), Hector Rodriguez, creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0


One day he did get into the office. It was a complete fluke. Janet was over, the two of them working on math problems. Victor’s parents were gone for a few hours – his mother had given him a list of things to do: empty the dishwasher, take out trash, feed the dog, and turn the oven on to 350 degrees at five-thirty. “We’ll be home at six,” his mother told him. “We’re going to have lasagna for dinner. It’s already made and just needs to be heated.”

It was a Saturday afternoon. Roy was away at school and Diana at a friend’s for a sleepover. Victor and Janet had the house to themselves. Out of habit Victor tried the door to Leonard’s office as he passed it on a trip to the bathroom. Miraculously, it opened. “Jesus fucking Christ!” he shouted, as if someone had given him a hard smack. “Janet, come here!”

The two of them entered the room very cautiously. At first it looked perfectly ordinary. A floor-to-ceiling wall of books. Desk, chair, filing cabinets, a xerox machine. An improvised lab area with a Bunsen burner and shelves holding jars of chemicals. A sink. Stainless steel counters, rows and rows of drawers. The room measured about ten by twelve. On closer inspection, it wasn’t so ordinary. A display case filled with old medical tools and vessels containing specimens – a human fetus, an eye, various murky organs that resembled sea creatures floating in formaldehyde. A full length skeleton. A bulletin board thumbtacked with photos of people, men in business suits Victor didn’t recognize, some of them circled in red, as if they were targets of a search.



The photo of these four men seemed to have its own dedicated space on the bulletin board.


Victor studied the photos, perplexed. Who were these people and why were they important? Meanwhile, Janet scoured drawers and closets, thumbing through papers, folders, notebooks, journals. “Some of these are probably important,” she told Victor. “We should probably xerox them.” Then, hidden beneath stacks of files, she found a dusty old leather-bound book that was very big and thick and resembled a bible.


To be continued…


Cover photo ~ open door policy, frankieleon, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *