The heavy wooden door set into the rocky cliff on the beach at Campo di Fontana in South West Italy fascinated Agnes. Since she arrived in this holiday place with her husband Alfred, she had sort of been drawn to it. If they spent the day on the beach, she always made sure they were near the door.
“Agnes I do try to understand your strange ideas, but why we always have to be in this place on the beach is beyond my understanding. I think you have been watching too many horror films on the television. We fly to Italy to be on holiday and enjoy the sunny weather and you always have to camp down in this place. We could move a bit nearer to the sea.”
“I know Alfred, but that door just fascinates me. Why would anyone think of building a door in such a place. What lies behind the door? I have never seen anyone open the door and enter up to now.”
“Then if it is so interesting ask at the hotel. They will probably know the answer. It’s probably for keeping the beach chairs and tables that they hire out to us tourists.”
“I don’t think so Alfred, they usually put the beach furniture in piles on the beach in the evening and spread it around again in the morning. I am sure it is for something else.”
Alfred decided there was no point in arguing with Agnes so he turned over and decided to make sure that his back became the same shade of brown as his chest. They returned to the hotel in the evening for their meal and Agnes spoke to one of the young men at the reception desk.
“Can I help you Madam?”
“I just have a question. I noticed there is a large wooden door near the beach. Can you tell me why?”
The receptionist looked up from his work at the desk.
“I cannot help you madam. That area of the beach belongs to one of the businesses in the village and I do not come from this part of Italy.”
“Then who could help me?” Agnes asked
“I think you must ask around in our village” he said and looked back down at his work at the desk.
Agnes noticed that she would get no further help from this direction so went up to her hotel room.
“That’s funny Alfred.”
“What’s so funny?” he answered
“The hotel receptionist could not say anything about the door at the beach and it seemed to me he didn’t want to. There is something fishy going on in this village if you ask me.”
“Rubbish Agnes, it is just your suspicious mind that is inventing stories.
That evening when Agnes went to bed she just could not sleep.
“I can’t sleep.”
but the answer was the constant breathing and snoring of Alfred that had decided it was Agnes problem with her insomnia.
So Agnes decided to take a walk along the beach.
It was very quiet during the night and she found it very soothing to hear the waves gently lapping on the shore but she suddenly heard another noise; a creaking sound. She looked in the direction from where it was coming and saw the door in the cliffs, but it was open, just a slit and there was a beam of light breaking through the opening of the door. She went nearer to have a look. Through the opening she saw many wooden boxes on the floor.
“Oh no,” she thought, as at a second more detailed look she saw they were not boxes, but coffins, in all shapes and sizes and colours. She then heard footsteps coming towards her and made her way back to the hotel as quickly as possible.
“Alfred, Alfred are you asleep? Listen I have to tell you something. I knew there was something very fishy with that door in the cliffs.
“Agnes I was asleep until you came in and awoke me and what on earth are you doing fully dressed in the middle of the night?”
“I couldn’t sleep and went for a walk along the beach and the door was open and inside it was full of coffins.”
“Dracula was Rumanian and not Italian and that can’t be.”
“I tell you Alfred, it was a room full of coffins.”
“Ok, Ok was anyone in them?”
“I didn’t stay long enough to see. I heard someone and decided to disappear. I must tell the police tomorrow.”
This was getting a bit too much for Alfred. He knew his wife should not watch so many horror films on the television and with her imagination, this was the result.
“I tell you Agnes, tomorrow we will both take a walk along the beach at night and we will see what is going on.”
I am sure there is something illegal happening. Perhaps it is place where the mafia bring the people they kill.”
“We will wait until tomorrow evening and now let’s get some sleep from the rest of the night that is left.”
They spent the next day on the beach, Agnes keeping her eye on the wooden door, but everything was quiet. Late in the evening Alfred decided for his wife’s sake they would go for a walk along the beach. As they approached the door they slowed down but there was nothing suspicious. The door was closed and there were no strangers around. Just as they were leaving they heard voices speaking Italian coming from the direction of the door. It was then they saw two men make an exit through the door carrying a coffin between them and lock it with an extremely large key.
“I told you Alfred, there is something going on here”
“What is going on Agnes, all I saw was two men come out of a door and lock it. “
“Yes, but they were carrying a coffin and why only at night and not during the day. I am going to the police tomorrow.”
The next morning came and Agnes got herself ready and went to the police station in the village taking Alfred with her. There was a small problem. Agnes could not speak Italian and the Italian police spoke very little English. She tried to explain that people were probably being killed and put into coffins kept in a room beneath the cliffs, but the police reacted with a “Si, si”, “certo”, and “addio” which was a final goodbye. All this was accompanied by a lot of laughter.
Agnes was furious, but she could not speak the language. Suddenly another person entered the police station, but not dressed in uniform. The other police greeted him with a “Buongiorno signor capitano” and so much Italian Agnes could understand so she started to talk to their chief hoping he could understand English. He did.
“Can I help you” he asked and Agnes told him her story and what she had seen in the evening through the wooden door. Alfred decided to say nothing and let his wife get on with it.
The police captain listened and spoke
“This is a very serious accusation, I think you must come with me to see the owner of the room behind the door.”
He showed them out of the police station and began walking along the main road of the village until he stopped at the entrance of one of the buildings.
“This is where the owner has his business, Signor Nero” and he entered a small office in the building being followed by Agnes and Alfred. Signor Nero was a small person, dressed completely in black. Agnes recognised him as one of the men she saw on the beach and was already feeling sure that she had found an Italian vampire.
Signor Nero spoke English and asked Agnes and Alfred to follow him. They entered a large room. There was a table and chairs in one corner and he asked them to take a seat. By this time Alfred was laughing his head off and Agnes felt very stupid.
They were in the reception room of a funeral parlour. However, even Signor Nero saw the funny side of it and explained that the room in the cliffs was his storage room. It was only used at night as he did not want to offend the tourists during the day by transporting coffins along the beach into the village.
Rita's Writing Challenge: The Door at the Beach