After attending his father’s funeral service, Morgan and his family returned to the family farmhouse. The farm had been in the family for decades and passed down to Morgan. However, he did not want to move back to his hometown of Kansas City, Missouri nor have anything to do with a farm that had not been in use for over twenty years.
He planned to clean it up, sale it and place the money into a college fund for his two daughter’s Monroe age seven and Mya who was five years old. Morgan never understood why his father held on to the farm even after receiving numerous generous offers from buyers. Now that his father was gone, Morgan hoped that someone was still interested in purchasing the six-bedroom split level house and large barn that sat on two hundred acres.
That night after dinner, Morgan stood in the living room staring out the picture window surveying the land. It was a beautiful site to see except for the large old barn that sat fifty acres away from the house. Even from a distance, he found the barn to be an eyesore, so he planned to stay at the farm for a month to prepare the property for sale. He would remove the contents inside the barn along with painting the exterior so that it would sale fast. That night before going to bed he planned to make the barn his number one priority the following day.
The next morning after breakfast Morgan took his wife and daughters to the airport so that they could return to their home in Atlanta Georgia. Once returning to the farm, he headed out to the barn to assess the repairs and contents inside. As he drove toward the barn, he could not remember the last time he had ever been inside of it. In the past, Morgan’s father and grandfather made daily trips to the barn and he assume it was just to ensure there were no squatters inside. It had been two weeks since his father died so as an extra precaution Morgan retrieved his father’s “357” revolver from the gun cabinet and would check.
Now at the barn Morgan took his time walking around to inspect the exterior. He had to admit the barn was in good condition and just needed a fresh coat of paint. All the windows had boards over them so he could not see inside and it did not appear that anyone nor anything had gotten in or out.
Now at the door, he tried several different keys on the keyring before finding the right one and unlocked the deadbolt. Morgan stepped back and aimed the gun, while using his right foot to push the door open. He eased inside and found the light switch and flicked it up not expecting it to work. But to his surprise the lights came on and the barn was completely empty.
“Wow, dad must have had this cleaned out and didn’t let me know,” Morgan said to himself now standing in the middle of the barn.
Satisfied that he would not have to do anything but paint Morgan prepared to leave but heard a sound. He turned in a full circle with the gun drawn even looking up to the ceiling.
“Hello, is anyone here,” he yelled before standing still to see if he heard the sound again.
Seconds later Morgan heard a knock right below his feet. He jumped to the side and looked down noticing the cellar door. His heart pounded as he looked around while kneeling noticing the pad lock. While shuffling through the keys he heard the knock again. “Hold on I am looking for the key,” he spoke.
When he found the key, he unlocked the cellar door, stepped back, and aimed his gun prepared to fire if necessary.
Two hands eased up then a female voice spoke, “Please don’t hurt me.”
When the woman was completely out of the cellar, Morgan almost lost his breath when he recognized his childhood friend Carmen who went missing at age 10. “Carmen is that you,” he whispered.
Instantly she began to cry while responding, “Yes it’s me! Oh, thank God you found me! Please get me out of this barn now!”
Morgan helped Carmen out the barn and they drove back to the house. She refused to go inside, so he went and retrieved a bottle of water. When he returned Carmen was standing in the middle of the yard, staring at the house. He walked towards her but she placed one hand out stopping him.
“Are you apart of this too, “she questioned.
When Morgan expressed confusion, Carmen eased closer to him. Once in arms reach, he handed her the bottle of water and watched her drink it all before she asked him for more along with some food. He hurried inside and warmed up a couple slices of left-over pizza and grabbed another water before returning to find Carmen under the Oak tree in the front yard. He remembered how they use to sit under the tree when they were children as he walked over.
Carmen did not notice him approaching as she sat in the grass staring in the direction of the barn. Morgan took a seat next to her and handed over the food and water. He watched her scarf down the pizza not leaving a crumb before drinking down the entire bottle of water.
“Carmen, how long have you been inside that barn,” he questioned.
Carmen looked over at Morgan and uttered the words “It started with chocolate cake.”