It's cold in
this tunnel. The air is rather stuffy. I only have a flashlight.
Well, a flashlight and my wits. I'm not armed, like the guards.
The only things in my work belt are a selection of metal tools
that I almost never have to use.
tonight. Or I suppose this morning, seeing as it's 1:30 A.M. I
suppose I must appreciate the fact that I'm not a "fluffer" like
my friend Paul-his job is to collect hair blown into the tunnels
from people waiting for their respective train. My job is to each
night walk through the tunnels to the next station and make sure
there are no problems. In addition, tonight I was told a
compressor between this station and the next needed to be
repaired. So I grabbed my things and when the last stragglers had
left and I got the OK from the end of the line, I walked to the
platform and lowered myself down into the tracks.
I had to take
several deep breaths to calm my nerves. The trains have stopped
for the day, but being down in these tracks does not feel
natural. I took one final look at the fluorescent lights
illuminating the platform like one final breath before going down
for a particularly deep dive, and plunged into the
clicked my light on, the depth of the darkness hit me. It took a
speeding train 10 minutes to get to the next station. How long
would it take me on foot? I tried not to think about that. So
here I am. I've been walking for 30 minutes and I have no idea
how far away the compressor is. When you can only see 20 feet
ahead of you, it's hard to note distance. That flashlight in my
trembling hand is the only thing letting me know what's around.
Otherwise the tunnel is wrapped in absolute pitch black
minutes. How far have I traveled? I really can't tell. I still
haven't found the compressor, so I begin the walls with light,
trading distance of vision for range.
symbol on the wall. What the hell is it? I've never seen anything
like it. It's sending cold chills down my spine. Feeling braver
than I should, I tap the symbol with my flashlight. The echo
startles me. The inside is hollow, or at least not as thick as
the other walls.
the wall? I pull out my hammer and start taking swings at the
It breaks, more
easily than I thought it would. I shine my light through but
suddenly I realize I don't need it-this place is lit by glowing
torches on the walls…red torches. It doesn't seem natural. I step
through the now broken wall. This place looks like a temple-it's
probably a few hundred feet deep and narrow. These strange
torches on the wall show there is nothing really between here and
the end-just a hard stone floor. But at the very end lies some
sort of shrine, with strange offerings ranging from food to
ancient weapons to…is that gold? And the…'thing' that sits on a
throne on the shrine-it's not human. I can't say what it is. I
step my way closer to it and on my way my foot strikes a small
stone, knocking it along the floor loudly.
The thing opens
it eyes. It looks at me. It knows I'm here. I can't go