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In the Cemetery. Part 11

The large slab bearing the Di Winter name slowly came out, it was not carved into the stone as he believed. It was a stone slab that was added to the structure afterwards. He noted there were four long round shafts which held the plaque in place.

These shafts had notches on them and in the middle of the plague was a long iron rod that was shaped like a skeleton key. He pushed it back in and then took measurements with his tape measure before went around to the rear of the building. He then measured the back wall for the same height of where the plague was on the front.

He began to look at the stones closer and sure enough he found four holes for the round shafts and in the middle of them there was an opening that looked like a keyhole. The years of exposure to the elements had clogged these openings with dirt and leaves so Vince spent a great deal of time cleaning them out before liberally applying Kroil to all the openings.

He would wait a few days and allow the oily spray a to penetrate these openings before he proceeded with the next step. He saw a lot of Lorelei in those days. Hand in had they walked the cemetery and talked and he told her colorful stories about those interred there that he had learned from all his research. For reasons he did not understand he did not reveal the story about the treasure.

Three days later he returned to the crypt and and mounted his step ladder and pulled the slab bearing the Di Winter name and to his surprise it came all the way out. He carefully laid it face down on the ground while he carried the ladder to the back. He recovered the plaque and carefully mounted the ladder holding the slab and after aligning it with the four holes he began to push it in. It was not an easy task as it slid in very slowly, plus he had to be careful not to lose his balance.

As the slab slowly moved toward the wall Vince heard muffled clicks coming from inside the mausoleum. Finally after what seemed like hours the plaque met the wall. Vince ran around to the front and opened the metal gates. He had completed the first part of the clue of switching my name from from to back.

The third line of the poem was,' Stand on the threshold and reach the key.' Vince hoped that the muffled clicks he heard had opened a hidden recess containing a key. Alas he found none so he returned to the sunlight and sat on one of the stone benches and stared at the opening. He was missing part of the clue and racked his brain to recall it.

'Stand on the threshold and reach the key, keeping one foot on Earth and one with me.' He approached the doorway again and began to carefully examine it. There were carvings in the stone archway of books, birds, scales and at the top of the arch was a carving of an old skeleton key. He grabbed it and attempted to twist it, no good as it was solidly between two other stones.

"Keeping one foot on Earth and the other with me," Vince repeated to himself as looked down at the inlaid stones that made up the floor. He chose the center stones of the first row inside and outside of the doorway. He placed both feet on them and then jumped down hard landing on his heels, they recessed in about an inch. He then reached up and grabbed at the stone with the key carving.

He recalled that it would not turn due to its placement, so he pulled on it instead. Very slowly the stone moved downward away from its place in the arch until it was about one foot away. He released it and went inside and searched the walls and to his delight he discovered one of the stones was not about an inch from the rest. He inserted the handle of a small shovel and slowly and carefully applied pressure until it was far enough away from the wall that he could use his hands.

He pulled downward with all his strength until the stone would moved no more. He noticed that there were metal rods attached to the stone slab. Vince then reached inside and removed a small box that was wrapped in layers of oiled and waxed cloth. He slowly peeled away the layers to reveal a rather plain wooded box. The lid came off easily and his eyes grew wide as the sunlight revealed the contents.

There were gold and silver coins, antique jewelry and all manner of loose gems. He scooped up a handful of the treasure and then carefully re wrapped the box and returned it to its resting place. He then pushed the stone lid of the storage compartment back to the closed position. He stepped outside and notice that the stone in the archway had returned to its original position as had the stones on the floor.

He returned the plaque bearing Di Winters name to the front of the mausoleum. The treasure was once again safe and secure.

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