The hallway was dark but not cold, no drafts were revealed as the father and daughter made their way to the room at the end of that hallway. the floor was flat and well constructed to be smooth and flat but the walls were stacked with rocks almost six feet high, her father having to bend down a little bit. The hallway smelled of nothing but stone, no moisture nor mold would ever be allowed in the house, even underground. He reached in his pocket to retrieve a set of keys from the sound of it as Lena's ears strained to pick up every detail of noise that she could. She was only a few paces behind him when he stopped quickly and she listened to the stepping of his feet as he turned to the left and put the key in the lock, the door being pushed open, still showing nothing but darkness. His hand reached out carefully to take her arm and guiding her in front of him, his hand now at the small of her back. Both of them were quiet, taking in the powerful energy of the room, the countless begging and crying buried within the walls and never to be let go. The blood shed, the darkness or everything that happened down here was carefully and slowly absorbed within Lena's being, even in the dark she closed her eyes, taking in all of the energy until finally she realized that one of the lights was turned on and she had walked a few steps in front of her father.
The single light was a energy saving light bulb that Lena was surprised to not know the proper name of as it shown brightly over her. The floor was smooth concrete, spotless of any signs of torture, looking as though it was just put in. Her black shoes with the pointed toes were shiny and reflected herself back to her in the light. Looking up from the floor she got a first glimpse of what was so secret. The room was about the size of the parlor, four walls of the same length and width, against the walls were what appeared to be a row of riding crops or whips, neatly placed on a rack vertical to the floor, she could count ten of them total in different sizes. The rack was only a few paces from her, just a few steps to the left and she could touch the leather that she now smelled. Beside the whips was a table, simple and wood with no cloth over it. The wood was in a simple design, nothing fancy or worth anything but what it held was something much more of interest. A large black covered book with yellowing pages sat in the middle of the table. "May I?" Lena asked when she turned to her father for permission. He nodded, her hands behind his back as he watched her explore the room that she would soon come to know like the back of her hand.
She walked over to the table to open the cover, holding it up so she wouldn't damage the spine as her other hand grazed the edges of each page as she turned it. Illustrations and carefully written notes were documented inside the book, even dated with information of the customer and their value to her father. She hadn't been aware that her father was a good artist as she continued to look over each page, the pictures showing different devices to hurt and possibly kill someone. One device was crafted to suspend the victim from the ceiling by their fingers. At first they were stood on a stool, gagged and bound at the ankles to keep from screaming or kicking. Once the stool was kicked away, then the victim was suspended just by the fingers and thumbs until the weight of the body would tear the fingers off, leaving them in agony until the kill was completed by another device. Page by page she carefully learned each of her father's creative tools, some so simple she almost laughed like a noose, and others much more complicated that would twist a person's spine with a crank until the bones snapped and the body was paralyzed.
"You may borrow it for a night if you wish." His voice said, breaking the silence. Lena closed the book and turned back to her father. "I would like that very much, I promise to not damage it in any way." He nodded in reply with a small smile. "i know that you won't but I appreciate you telling me so, you may take it with you when we leave." He walked to the door again, having now been closed while she had been looking at the whips and another light was turned on, down a ways but in the same placement as the other light bulb. She left the book alone as she walked to another section, the middle of the room bare but under closer observation on the walls she noticed a thin straight crack that had a similar one parallel to it and another across the top of both lines. She walked to it but her father come up beside her and stopped her hand from touching the wall by grabbing her wrist gently. "Not quite yet, I am impressed that you discovered that so quickly but there is still work to be done behind the wall that I want to complete before showing you." He let go of her wrist and she let it hang at her side. "I understand, forgive me for not asking first."
"You do not need to apologize, only promise to ask next time." Lena nodded and took a step back from the wall, turning to the other side and seeing the same secret doorway as the one now behind her. "Are the tools behind the walls?" She asked, returning her gaze back to her father who nodded again, his hand now resting in her jacket pocket, the one that held the gold pocket watch that was a gift from her when she was fifteen. She had learned secretly that he would touch the watch in times of distress, but his face was perfectly composed. She did not worry about it too much at the moment, she knew that he would tell her if anything was going wrong with anything. "Most of them, any that can be dismantled is used on another to keep things reused and also possibly destroyed is back there. Down here it is like a warehouse, there are many hidden rooms that are specially crafted to either be destroyed in case there is a discovery by authorities. Other rooms are like safe houses for us both if anything should happen. I want to make sure that every possible angle thought of can be resolved so all is well for us both and you do not need to worry."
Lena did not bring up the watch and what she had learned he kept it on hand for. Deep down she could tell that his mind was preoccupied, he was more expressive and explained things better then he was now. Not that she was not making sense of it all, but she had a bad habit of wanting to know everything. But she did not push anything, she would know when he was ready to say. He walked away to turn on the last two lights, the same distance apart from each other. The remainder of the room was almost bare except for another table on the opposite side of the other one, clearly a decoy to use as bait for the customer. There were some strange objects that were evenly placed on the table, one was a human skull with it;s jaw wide open, a grenade between its teeth. A joke of her father's no doubt with a crazy made up story she was certain. The other object was an oddity, a taxidermy animal that looked mad. It's marble eyes wide and its expression wild, with it's claws extended out and its mouth open wide. It was not a normal animal, but a creature, made of different animals like the face of a prairie dog, the front paws being the talons feet of a large bird and the torso of a cat, its tail pointed up but curling at the tip.
"Your creation?" she asks, looking at the creature and skull with wonder. He walked up behind her, looking over her shoulder. "Yes, I have an acquaintance that supplies me with my ideas and turns them into realistic realities. I will teach you the stories so you can tell them to other customers while I get the tools ready. You will know everything there is to know within a couple weeks, and then we will put your skills to the test on a customer of my selection." Her nod was her reply again, still she looked at the skull and creature, now turning her attention to the final piece. This one was more of an art, a carefully sculpted masterpiece that did its job in compelling her to keep her attention on it. It was a clay figurine of a man and woman, his hands tangling in her hair, her face contorted in pain as her hands were shoving at his chest. It was a clear display of abuse towards women and looking closer revealed that the amn's belt was undone, his zipper down, his gaze pointing to her chest. The woman had a plain dress on, his chest was bare. She got a bit of amusement as she looked at it, remembering all of the men who hid secret desires behind their eyes for her and she longed to see their reactions to this sculpture.
The table was the exact same as the other, same size and design, clearly not too important of a thought to her father seeing as how he wanted to always have the best furniture so he could feel more relaxed when he went to any room of the house. It seemed like a strange detail for him to overlook but she still had many things to learn and unlock about everything that happened down here and where her father got his inspiration for each tool and how it was carefully selected to fit the personality of the customer. It was slightly frustrating to have to find out about everything in different times instead of all at once, but Lena had to keep calm and be grateful for even the chance to learn before her birthday, a reward not to be taken lightly as she walked the entire area of the room, nothing more but a skeleton of what was really going to happen and what has happened. She returned to the book, there had to be at least 400 pages to it if not more. Nothing was hidden from her now as to what was in the room, now her attention was on what was beyond the room, even though she had learned so much already today, it still was not a dent into what her father's mind was really like and how he got every detail planned out for the future, so nothing went wrong and he was always one step ahead of everyone else, and now was willing to let his daughter take the chance to learn his ways and his beliefs so she may carry on the tradition of making money and doing the twisted things that they both loved.
For now she would look over everything in the book and return it when she had it read completely from cover to cover, every detail tattooed into her mind so she was one step closer to knowing everything that was hidden from the rest of the world. Once she held the book to her chest, she followed her father to the door, the lights turned off so the dark was welcomed again and they both left the room into the tunnel, Lena holding the book with care and her father leading the way until they were back in the office. The door was locked and hidden in the wall once they resurfaced, the darkness no more and the reality was that Lena's life had just begun to change forever.