The House of the Twelve Keys
Part 8. The Stinky Shower
“I don’t know how to swim!” Pat said.
Raj put a hand on her shoulder. “You don’t need to. This isn’t even up to our ankles.”
Pat opened her eyes. They were standing on a tiled floor, surrounded by glass. She pushed against the walls and the door, which refused to budge. The door was locked from the inside. No key.
“I can’t tell if we’re in the house or in the yard,” Pat said, rubbing some of the mist off the glass with her sleeve. The outside was shrouded in fog.
There was water inside the cell but, like Raj had said, it only came up a few centimetres.
“It’s not deep, but it does smell,” Raj said.
“You sure we didn’t land in a toilet?”
“Ha. No. It’s a shower.” Raj pointed at the network of brass knobs and pipes.
“Where’s the showerhead?” Pat asked.
They looked up.
High on the wall were three showerheads. Below the showerhead in the middle hung a drinking glass. It seemed to be floating in mid-air. It was empty. Well, empty of water. Inside was a key on a cork keychain, resting on the bottom of the glass.
“Okay. This seems pretty simple,” Pat said. “We fill that cup with water and the key floats up and out!” She reached over and turned one of the knobs. The nozzle to the left began spewing water down on them and into the shower. It rose quickly, and was soon up to their knees.
“I turned the middle knob!” Pat said, fiddling with it. “I can’t turn it off!” Water continued to pour down. She turned another knob, but that just sent even more water pouring down from the same nozzle.
“It’s a puzzle,” Raj said, holding his hands up in a futile attempt to stem the jet. “If we turn another wrong dial we’ll drown before that key floats to us.”
“Trace back the pipes from the showerhead!” Pat said. Raj used his right finger to trace the pipes. It wasn’t easy. There were dozens of twists and turns.
“That one,” he said, more confidently than he felt. The water was now up to their chests.
Pat turned the dial. Finally, the middle showerhead turned on, sending water into the cup. The cork rose slowly, bringing the precious key with it. But the other shower heads continued to pour water down on top of them. Would they get the key before sinking under the water?
It was going to be close. They stood on their tiptoes to keep their mouths above the water line.
“C’mon!” Pat said, watching the cork’s agonizing rise. Pat gulped and sank under the water, bubbles rising from her lips.
Raj tried to hold her up, but the water fought against them. He took a deep breath just as the water covered his own head. The cork finally carried the key over the lip of the cup and onto the surface of the water above them.
Raj kicked his legs to move up, and snatched it. His lungs ached as he sank back under the water. He grabbed Pat by the forearm, and slipped the key into the lock.
The door opened. And the force of the water swept everything across the floor and down a grand spiral staircase.
That was a close one! What do you think Pat and Raj could have done differently?