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    quokka
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Sanctuary from Harm - 5. Sanc Chapter 5

“I think we need to think about that seriously, as we don’t want you to get behind” I replied, “Ok” Jonah responded, and he led the way back downstairs, and we made our way into the atrium area. “So, what are we going to do with all of the other space in this warehouse?” Nathan asked me, “That’s where we need to do some brainstorming my friend, but I have a few ideas, as you can already see we have indoor tennis and basketball courts already” I replied.

Just before lunchtime, the pond was full of water, the aerator and pumps were in place, the aquatic plants were in the pond, along with the small barramundi fish. Brent turned on the cascading waterfall first, and it works wonderfully, and after topping up the water to all for the water that is in the pipes, he turned on the larger waterfall, which made a spectacular sight, and was actually quite noisy, so Brent reduced the amount of volume of water, which made it a lot quieter.

Leaving the water feature on, to allow the fish to get used to it, we headed to the apartment lounge room and sat down. “Well, now that is finished, the warehouse does start to look a bit like a sanctuary thanks to everyone’s hard work, now that it is completed, let’s have a short chat about the apartment.

Already we have two ideas for layouts of the apartments upstairs, which I will get Nathan to explain in a moment, and I have an idea about utilising the open spaces on the ground floor of the warehouse, apart from the tennis courts, and basketball courts, I was going to suggest indoor soccer and hockey, but unfortunately the support columns will be in the way. The 1st and 2nd-floor mezzanine levels on each side have very little on them as does the whole of the 1st floor, so some ideas on how to use that space would be useful” I said to everyone gathered.

“Well I agree with the boss, regarding having sports courts on the ground level, I think they can help with filling time for street kids that are bored and have nothing to do, I also like the idea of having school classes as well, maybe we can come up with a mixture of things, that will be beneficial for the street kids in a number of ways,” Nathan said.

We discussed the matter of accommodation for street kids on the first floor, which only had 2 bedrooms at each end at the moment. We decided to add another four more bedrooms at each end, making a total of 12 bedrooms in total for a total of 24 people.

While Charles and Brent worked on planning that, with Scott and Kurt staying to supervise, Nathan, Jonah and I headed to a sports store, to look at equipment supplies for the sports courts.

By the time we arrived back, Scott and Kurt had worked out the layout for the street kid accommodation, with it been decided that there is actually enough room for an additional 8 rooms at each side of the warehouse.

When all of this is in place, it will provide accommodation for forty homeless teenagers, which is a lot more than I had originally planned for.

From our trip to some sports stores, we Nathan, Jonah and I had come back with enough equipment and supplies for two tennis courts, and two basketball courts.

By the end of the day, we had managed to set up the sports courts, and after a light dinner, Scott, Charles, Brent and Kurt said goodnight and headed to their respective homes, as they all had work to go to in the morning, and Nathan stayed for a little longer before he too went home.

The next morning, Jonah came rushing into my room and bounced onto my bed. “Good morning dad, time to get up,” he said happily, and I groaned at being woken up this way, which made Jonah laugh. “Come on Dad, I have found something really neat, and I want to show you,” Jonah said before he dashed out of my room.

After a quick shower, I wandered into the lounge, where Jonah was watching cartoons on the television, “Breakfast first, then you can show me what you have found” I said to Jonah, who reluctantly turned off the TV and together we cooked some breakfast.

As soon as we had finished eating, and dumping the plates in the sink, Jonah grabbed my hand and literally dragged me to the stairs, and soon we were on the ground floor. “Ok, so what is it that you want to show me?” I asked Jonah who was smiling broadly.

“I came down here earlier, and I had a cup of water in my hand, and I tripped and spilt most of the water out of the cup, and it landed there on the base of the stairs…” Jonah said to me, and apart from seeing a crack in the concrete slab, which is on the list of things to fix, there was no sign of any spilt water.

“Have you already cleaned up the water you spilled?” I asked, still uncertain at what Jonah was trying to show me, and Jonah shook his head from side to side and continued to smile, so I looked at the cracked slab once more, and suddenly it came to me.

“You think there is an underground level to this building, don’t you?” I asked my clever son, and Jonah just giggled as he nodded his head. The bottom step is slightly higher than the level of the floor, so I was guessing that maybe a concrete slab had been poured over a metal plate or something like that.

Heading to the storeroom, I grabbed the small heavy hammer and a cold steel chisel and headed back to the stairs, before asking Jonah to stay right back, as bits of concrete will probably go flying all over the place.

I was a little surprised when the concrete broke away in large chunks, and I pushed away each bit till it revealed two heavy steel plates, with a bit of a space between them, which is probably where the water went too. “Can you go back to the storeroom please and…” I stopped when I heard the back door open and Nathan call out.

“Hi Ho, anybody home?” he shouted, “Yes Uncle Nat, near the stairs” Jonah called back. “Hello you two, my what a mess you are creating,” Nathan said when he saw the shattered concrete everywhere. “My clever son here has discovered a possible lower level to this warehouse, so we are trying to see if there is a trapdoor or something under this slab,” I said to my friend.

“Hold up, I will go and grab the wheelbarrow, gloves and shovels, to clean up this mess,” Nathan said as he headed for the storeroom, returning with everything a few minutes later, and we soon had the barrow loaded up with all of the concrete pieces.

Together, Nathan and I lifted up the first section of the heavy steel plating, to reveal… “Wow, the stairs continue on downwards, I think Jonah deserves a surprise present later, for discovering this,” Nathan announced, and Jonah cheered at this news. With the second plate removed, we were now looking at a continuing spiral staircase, and Nathan went to his vehicle, where he retrieved a powerful flashlight torch and handed it to Jonah.

Jonah shook his head and handed it over to me, saying he didn’t want to walk into any creepy spiderwebs in a dark area, and this made Nathan laugh, as I received the torch, and began the descent, taking each step very slowly, and pushing away the few cobwebs that were there, as Jonah had predicted.

At the bottom of the stairs, I discovered a light switch, and I flicked it on. “Come on down guys, you are in for a surprise,” I announced, as I looked up the now well-lit staircase, and it was Jonah who was next to come down the stairs.

What we had entered is a small entry foyer area, with a central reception office, and two doors at each end, I chose the very end door to the left of me and entered a larger hallway. To my right, we found two small storerooms, and opposite, a bigger room, that actually had an old desk, chair and bookcase in it.

Behind room, was an even bigger room, and what we found inside it, was a total surprise and big shock, as we stared at the dusty mini grand piano in the middle of the room. “I guess the previous owners already had this set up for and education area of some sort,” Nathan commented.

Next, we found two rooms that are slightly bigger than the office, and the last two rooms, are the biggest rooms so far, which would be perfect for classrooms or activity rooms. On the other side of the entry foyer, we found an identical layout as what we have seen. Instead of a music room, there is a full-size library, with floor to ceiling bookshelves, with some of the shelves still holding a collection of books.

“Music room, Library, two activity rooms and two classrooms, plus two offices, we are all set up for a mini-school,” Nathan said smiling. “Yes, we indeed do, thanks to my clever son, or else we would not have found it,” I replied, as I entered another entry hall, on the other side of the reception area, and this time there was just one other door opposite.

“Looks like we haven’t finished exploring yet,” I commented, as I walked over to the door and opened it, and finding a light switch, I flicked it on. “Holy cow!” Jonah said out loud, as we all stared down the long passageway, with a doorway just visible at the far end.

This time, Nathan took the lead, and Jonah and I followed him, and he stopped at the end door and waited for us to catch up. “I have no idea where we are, so I guess we just have to open this door and find out,” Nathan said, before opening the creaky door, which made Jonah jump in fright a little from the sound, and wrapped his arms around me.

“No ghosts son, just a door that needs oiling,” I commented, and I grabbed hold of his hand, as we stepped past the door, into another unknown room, which was dark until Nathan the light switch, to reveal that we were now in a wine cellar of some kind.

“That house you own, behind the warehouse, do you think we may be under it?” Nathan asked me, and I thought about what he said for a moment. “Actually, I think you are spot on with your suggestion, it is in the right direction, and the distance of the passageway would indeed put us close to the house,” I replied smiling.

After some looking around, there didn’t appear to be any other doorways, until Jonah pointed out a narrow shelving unit, located between the two cellar rooms, and after some fiddling around, we found a hidden latch, and the shelf swung out, to reveal a doorway to a passage, and flicking on another switch, it revealed a short passageway, that goes around a corner, where we found a set of stairs heading upwards.

At the top of the stairs, there is another small passageway, and we found a small doorway at the end, with another hidden latch, located in the same place, and we stepped into a small Pantry and into a kitchen, which I recognised right away to be the house at the back of the warehouse.

“Yes, this is my house, at the back of the warehouse. I’m surprised that we didn’t discover the hidden door when we were cleaning up the place a few months ago,” I commented to Nathan. “There wasn’t anything to do in the pantry, so I didn’t look at it in much detail,” Nathan replied, “Nor did I mate,” I said.

“You know, when we have finished all of the heavy work, in the warehouse, including installing new furniture, we could easily block up the entrance to the loading bay, and the front door, so that the only way in is via here.

Our own very secret entry, that will have everyone stumped, if they try to find a way inside,” Nathan said to me, and I just laughed. “Excellent idea, sneaky but still a great idea,” I responded.

After showing Jonah around the house, which was all completely repaired, but void of any furniture or internal doors, I checked that the two external doors are still securely locked, with deadlocks that require keys, we headed back downstairs, making sure that the door in the pantry is secured tight, so it can’t be accidentally discovered, and we made our way back to the warehouse.

“Let’s just keep this a secret from the other guys for now, and when they are not here, we can slowly clean up the lower level, and get it all back into good order,” Nathan suggested, as I agreed to this and made sure that Jonah understood this. One more bit of news and that is why I am here on a working day, I have taken some holiday leave, so I can spend some time here helping you guys” Nathan added, which was a real surprise for me.

“Well that is awesome news, so I guess that means that we get to work on downstairs right away, while the other lads are at work,” I responded, “I am afraid so mate,” Nathan replied grinning. After a quick cup of tea, and some discussions of what to do first, we headed back downstairs, along with rubbish bags, brooms, cloths and some protective face masks to stop us breathing in all of the dust.

“Dad… Dad, your phone is ringing,” I heard Jonah shout out to me, overall the noise Nathan was creating in the empty room, which echoed a lot, with him playing the piano. Nathan having heard Jonah’s shouting, stopped playing to allow me to answer the call, which had a blocked number ID.

“Hunter, this is Emanuel Grantley speaking, how are you?” a deep voice said as I answered the call, and I walked over to the piano, and sat down next to Nathan, leaning towards him so he could hear the conversation. “I am well thanking you, sir. How may I assist you today,” I replied, a little surprised that Charles Grantley’s father would be calling me out of the blue like this.

“Always polite and professional, I have always liked you, son.” Mr Grantley stated, “Thank you, sir, is there a reason for this call, if I may ask?” I replied. “Yes, I have heard along the grapevine, that you and your friends have been working on a low-key project for some time now, and that it is in aid of providing a shelter for underprivileged and homeless young people,” Mr Grantley stated.

“Err, yes sir, that is correct, and I will strangle Charles when I see him later today,” I replied, which had Mr Grantley laugh loudly. “Don’t do that, or you may miss out on getting some support for your project,” Charles’s father said when he stopped laughing, and I looked at Nathan in confusion for a moment.

“Sir, I have Nathan Porter with me, if I may, can I put this on loud-speaker, so he can join in the conversation?” I asked, “Please do,” Mr Grantley responded. “Good morning, sir, Nathan speaking,” Nat said as soon as it was on loud-speaker, “Good morning Nathan, how are your parents?” Mr Grantley replied.

“Well thank you, sir, I believe they are on a holiday at the moment,” Nathan replied, “No, we are back home, we arrived late last night,” came Nathan’s mother’s voice. “Oh! Hi Mum. Now can you please tell us what this is all about?” Nathan replied surprised.

“I am here too son, and hello Hunter,” another voice said, which was Nathan’s Dad. “As you know, since all four of you became friends back in university, us your parents, have been getting together on a monthly basis, as we have common interests, and we have been following the news of the project that you four boys have been working on, with the help of little snippets of information that you all mention when visiting home, or what we drag out of you in phone conversations,” Mr Grantley stated.

“Well, that makes sense, I have been wondering about that a bit lately, as my folks have also been pushing me for information,” I said in reply. “Yes, and we are sorry, but there is a special reason for doing that son,” came another voice, which was my father’s voice.

“Dad, what on earth is going on, that has three lots of parents ganging up, on us with this conversation?” I asked, shocked that my father is in on this conversation as well.

Copyright August 2019 Preston Wigglesworth, All Rights are Reserved
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Awesome chapter. The Sanctuary is progressing nicely, surprise find with the basement. Nathan has taken taken holiday so he can be at the Sanctuary full time. We find out that the parents have ganged up and have something planned to help with the plans for the Sanctuary.

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Excellent chapter, this story is really getting interesting with more surprises around every corner, 

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Wow, a hidden area in Wonderland! (How in heck did the prior owners get a Baby Grand into the basement? At least I know why they left it there! 😂)  I love the idea of a hidden passage from the school to the house, but why was it put there? (A secret school with a secret access--I'm hooked!)  Will we ever get to hear the back story behind this surprising find?

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