Deleted Scene 8: Asphyxiate

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After lighting the fuse, Ned backed from the tunnel, dashed to the old furnace, then crouched behind it, arms shielding his head. Even though the blast was expected, the loud boom still made him jump. He hoped that the late hour, relatively remote and underground location helped to decrease the chances of the sound being heard. Clicking on his flashlight, he moved to inspect his handiwork. Smoke and fine dust swirled in the beam of light and he had to wait until it settled to see the mound of earth clogging the hole.

He grinned. His inspired thought that fireworks could come in handy had just proven true.

After a few more detonations, he deemed the tunnel reasonably impassable—especially considering soon the cellar itself would cease to exist. Ned combed his fingers through his short hair, making a face at the grit he felt. He was filthy. Using the long branch to force the door open, he chose the cleanest shirt and pants, tossed them topside, and then reached for the edge to hoist himself out. He paused for a moment and then walked to a corner of the cellar. He picked up the cloth with the statue inside, rolled the artifact into his hand, then dropped the cloth while he stuffed the object in his pocket.

He headed for the campground showers.

On his way back, scrubbing his clean hair with the towel, Ned stopped mid-stride. He swore he saw a flash of light near the cellar. Switching to stealth-mode, he crept forward. There it was again. As he drew closer, he heard voices.

The trap door was open.

Damn kids. No doubt some delinquent campers escaped their family and were out here screwing around. Possibly literally. Ned’s face scrunched in distaste. He was going to scare the crap out of them.

Silently, he approached the open cellar. With their lights lit inside the cellar, the kids couldn’t see very far into the darkness above, and Ned was able to get close enough to examine them. Rage immediately drowned his surprise as recognition dawned.

It was the girl! The girl who’d had the statue!

And someone else. Maybe her brother.

Son of a B!

How had they found the cellar?

What did they—

Ned suspended the questions and allowed his indignation to take over. He reached down and grasped the trap door, heaving it on its hinges. Just before he dropped it, he noticed some kind of purse or bag and kicked it over the edge. Then he dragged logs on top of the door, ignoring the muffled pleas coming from inside the cellar.

Fortunately, the tunnel was blocked. The kids were trapped. Ned already knew how he’d get rid of them. All he needed was a piece of hose and he’d just seen one back at the campground. He’d let the carbon dioxide do the dirty work while he rigged the charges. Then when he blew up the cellar, the bodies would be buried. By the time they were discovered, he’d be long gone.