The House on Benatau Hill
By Jeff Baker
“I loved this place since I first saw it years ago.” Alejandro said, turning around to look out the big windows on either side of the living room. “And you can’t beat that view.”
He was right: the living room windows opened on three sides with a spectacular view of the canyons, cliffs and hills. The house, built and furnished in a modern 1950s-style was built on the top of Benatau Hill, actually a sort of mesa, the top of which was covered almost entirely by the house and linked to the large mountain with a road by a bridge.
“I used to see this in the middle of the night with all the lights lit up. When I heard old man Benatau had died, I rushed to buy this from his estate.”
“It’s fantastic!” Rafael said, gawking at the view. “And the furniture looks new! It’s like stepping into a film set, or going back to 1952!”
“Benatau was married five times and he managed to get richer with each new marriage,” Alejandro said. Divorced twice, widowed once officially, two more times unofficially, I say unofficially because he had two of his exes declared dead.” He stared at the tall cliff faces that stretched around for miles, reminding him of places in South America. “If this was the U.S., he probably would have gone to prison, but bribery carries a lot more weight here than it does there.”
“I guess,” Rafael said.
“Hey! Look at this! This is cool!” Alejandro led Rafael around a corner to a wide set of stairs. Halfway up, he reached over and pulled at a corner of a small alcove. There was a “pop” and the arched wall in the alcove swung open, revealing a small room inside.
“Secret guest bedroom, with its own bathroom!” Alejandro said. “But that’s nothing. There are a couple of secret passages leading to a secret basement built into the mountain. And watch this.”
They were at the top of the stairs, there was a tall bookcase built into the wall and a hallway leading to another set of bedrooms. Alejandro pulled a book from the shelf and there was a silent “click” and the bookcase opened outward, revealing a dark interior.
“After you,” Alejandro said. Grinning, Rafael stepped inside. There was a clunk as the trapdoor opened and a loud scream as Rafael fell all the way down the Cliffside to the roaring river below.
Alejandro shut the bookcase with another clicking sound.
“Well,” Alejandro said to the empty house. “…at least we had a pre-nup.”