I climbed down into the trapdoor, immediately regretting my decision but fairly sure it was my only choice.
At least it wasn’t stinky down there, I reflected as I descended the ladder-stairs thing that angled sharply into darkness. By the time I was halfway down the smooth wooden construction, I knew I was past the level the sludge had reached. Whatever else this basement was, it was waterproof.
I’d been wondering how to get back down to the old Yard with the trumpet. Maybe this was my ticket, as well as being my way to the antique shop.
Of course, the question now was whether Rose had taken this route because it would take her to Collins Square, or simply because it was the only clean way out of the building, and was headed somewhere else entirely. A further question was, if there were multiple options available at the bottom of this ladder-stairs thing, how I would be able to figure out which way Rose had gone.
I regretted leaving my torch behind after we’d escaped from the old Yard and made it home. It hadn’t occurred to me that I’d be going back underground so soon, although in retrospect it should have.
I reached the bottom of the sharply-sloped stairs. Waterproof though it may have been, the basement was dank and slightly slimy. Very un-Rose, really – although again, she’d evidently felt she had no choice.
And that was odd, wasn’t it?
I thought about it more as I stepped carefully into the pitch blackness, waiting for my eyes to adjust. The easy solution, for Rose, would have been more or less what I’d theorised about with Marion, wouldn’t it? Replace the specs while I was running down the false lead she’d given me, save face, claim it was all a misunderstanding. She must have known we’d all be fine with laughing it off.
So she was either really invested in getting something for those specs, or they meant something so special to her that she was willing to go to these lengths to keep them … or she was willing to go to these lengths to keep me from getting them back.
Which was weird.
My eyes adjusted.
“Oh,” I said, looking down. “Hello.”