The Threshold of human curiosity PART ONE

Landscaping-Rosehill-Cottage-for-The-Holiday-movie

The Threshold of human curiosity

By

Eduardas Pečiulis

It is said that knowledge is a gift. A priceless bestowal of information, which leads a person into a wider cognition of one’s surroundings. Comprehension of reality reveals its flaws and helps to overcome them, in turn improving one’s well-being and mental capabilities. Adapting to the environment and making the best of it is a step towards progression. A natural occurrence in every living being. An evolution. At least that was how I thought before the bunker. Now I don’t know. To this day I think about the events described below and I can only guess the implication of enlightenment and constant pursuit towards perfection. Is there a threshold for it? What happens if we would be forced to cross it?

My name is Carl Wilson. The story I am about to tell you happened in August of 2020, in the end of the Corona crisis. Due to new regulations established in quarantine, I have managed to make quite a career and successfully bargained for a residence in a remote rural area. It was a two-floor cottage with a huge backyard, which continued into the hills. Originally inhabited by shepherds, the building was secluded and far from civilization. It was a perfect place for my studies and resting. Tall oaken planks with oval windows made the home pleasant looking from the outside, and warmer from the inside. It also made funny sounds when the wind was howling in the hills. Especially early in the morning, when it was damp and cold. As I was born in the city, I found it a bit distracting, but I knew the basic principles of building homes and started looking for a source of the sounds.

The house was old and it had many creaks in it. I spent part of my free time looking for insulation faults in the walls, checking for the holes. During my repairs, I eventually ventured into a basement. Before me it was used as a storage room for agricultural means; hence it was vast and spacious. Even so, according to my calculations, the basement had continued even further in the backyard, but the entrance was walled up. I remember being frustrated for not managing to break the cement wall, which contributed to my doubts greatly. I was sure that the walls of the basement were not supposed to be that thick and I was right! Ordering the residence’s plot plan from a project management firm proved my guessing. In the blueprint, the basement extended far into the backyard and oddly ended with a small room deep beneath the surface.

Thrilled from an imminent discovery, I contacted an ex-owner of the home. It appears that he had known about the basement all along, but he never checked it. “Out of sight, out of mind,” he told me on the phone. Not being able to understand the man’s attitude, I decided to explore it on my own. I suppose it was inherent curiosity, which dragged me relentlessly towards the exploration of the unknown. What had I expected to find? Probably collapsed segment of the basement, some unfinished construction, or maybe even a smokehouse. Why did I even put that much effort into finding it? For some that should be clear as a day. For others – incomprehensible. I think the question exists for all living beings. Why did one bird jump out of a nest, while the other stayed?

I dug holes in my backyard until I hit the cement, yet, again, it was too thick for me to bypass. With my shovel, I followed the underground passage towards the hills. Until I found the entrance. It was a bunker door with a rusty wheel, built at an angle a few meters beneath the surface. Taking out of gravel surrounding it took me a better part of the day. I was sopping with sweat, but I guess you could say it was too late for me to stop at that point. It seemed that the closer I got to my destination; the harder difficulties emerged. The door wheel was stuck. Unfortunately, that only piqued my interest to the greater heights. I returned home and made a handle for better leverage. Eventually, the door gave away. Absolute darkness behind it greeted me with its pleasant chill. The image was burnt into my mind. It was a valid proof that I was right and that my search was not fruitless. At the same time, it was terrible to look at it. A few stairs were leading into a pitch-black. Carefully I stepped on them and they creaked horribly, echoing as if in pain throughout the hidden tunnels. Everything after that was a blur. I remember running home, taking a flashlight, and a ladder, stopping for a glass of water.

And then – descending into an unknown. The feeling was indescribable. Slowly stepping on the ladders down, I felt as if there was a whole new world below me. The temperature dropped and through the flashlight, I saw my breath. I had descended about five or six meters until the entrance became just a little window of white. Nuclear danger sign welcomed me, followed by split plaster walls and littered floor. On the ground, I found a tattered remnant of a map. Most of the symbols and lines were worn down, but from the looks of it, I understood that I was in a bunker, which was made out of tunnels established through my entire backyard. While exploring the rooms, I found some of them had stools, chairs, books, even a chalkboard. There were also sleeping facilities, shower rooms, a canteen. There was a full assortment of various functional rooms. I was exploring a bunker, which was meant to withstand the third war. And then I found him.

The Threshold of human curiosity by Eduardas Pečiulis, gardunytis@gmail.com, http://www.fiver.com/pugnatabula

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