Chase opens the museum door and walks to the back. He opens the office door and sees his friend throwing on his coat.
JJ takes his briefcase out from under his desk and starts putting his papers from the desk inside. "Evening Chase. How everything going with you?"
"Oh, you know, same as usual. Where are you heading off to?"
"Oh, Wilford is throwing a party, and I thought I'd do the old chap a favor and show up for once."
"Is it okay if I hang around here for a bit?" Chase asks hesitantly.
"Of course Chase!" JJ gestures to where a large key rack sits on the wall. "That key has your name on it for a reason, even if you refuse to take it. You're welcome in anytime my friend. I know this is one of the last places that brings you some peace and space to think, so feel free to take it when you want and come in to think." JJ snaps his case shut and starts walking out to the front door. Chase follows behind him.
"Thank you JJ, I really appreciate your trust in me, it's just I don't trust myself not to touch anything."
"Chase you have been sober for six months now. I know you are better than that and that fact alone proves it. You have grown Chase. It's high time that you see that fact yourself." JJ says sincerely as he claps his hand on Chase's shoulder and looked him in the eye.
"Thank you JJ. Have fun at that party!"
"I'll try!" He calls as he heads out the door.
Chase stands in the middle of the lobby and, after he nods to the night guard, looks around. He briefly skims over the sparse artwork in the room and turns to head into the Van Gogh section. It's a pretty small museum so he doesn't have to go very far to get there and there isn't a lot to look at, but he appreciates it anyway. A pretty small number of people come here so even during the day it's quiet here. He sits in the middle of the room and looks over paintings he had memorized at this point. These paintings always spoke to him the most since he relates to how Van Gogh felt.
After sitting there for a while Chase stood from the exhibit and left to go wander around the rest of the museum. He went into a long but sparsely decorated hall and started tracing his hand under the paintings. He was looking at the paintings, taking in the details the colors when he hit a stand with a vase on it. The impact bent him over it at the waist and he knocked into the vase. He gripped the edge of the stand by instinct, then, grabbed the vase. The vase however did not move from its position. Chase pulled back and looked at it. It stood on its edge at a 45 degree angle with a hinge attached to the stand and the bottom of the vase. He grabbed the vase gently and pushed on it to try and get it to be back on the table. With a just a bit of effort it clicked back into place and sat on the stand once again. Then another click was heard and part of the wall behind the vase swung open and revealed a passageway that was dark. Chase walked towards it cautiously and examined what he could see. He saw that the passage quickly turned into a staircase and that there was a candle and a box of matches tucked in the corner behind the hinge of the wall door. He grabbed the candle and match box and lit the candle after a few attempts of striking the match. He walked slowly into the corridor and down the steps. After a few steps suddenly there was a click and Chase turned to see the wall door swing shut behind him. Well, Chase thought, hopefully there is another way out somewhere in here. Why is there a hidden passage in JJ's museum? Why is it here? What is in it? Does JJ know about it? Did he have it made? Chase's line of thought quickly cut off as he reached the bottom of the stairs.
The room was full of life. Trees, flowers, and animals all were thriving in what looked to be an underground forest. Perhaps jungle as it was rather humid and warm to be a forest. The plant life was luscious and vibrant. The animals were gorgeous and elegant. Chase couldn't recognize any of them. This place felt like the story that JJ told. The jungle adventure he went on with the doctor and Wilford. Chase always felt like JJ cut off the story before the real reason he got excited about the trip. To Chase, this felt like the rest of the story could lay here.