Shadow Crawlers. Part 42.

Part 1, Part 41

The noise in the tunnels was almost deafening, Grady had looked back once when they started and decided she didn’t want to know what was behind them. As she looked, the walls started to shift and morph, the people chasing after them didn’t seem to care that the walls were shifting, she saw one person, an old man, crushed in the closing gap. Feeling nauseous she looked forward and took a few deep, steady breaths. The tunnels were working how they were supposed to, and those people would kill her if they had the chance. She could smell the blood on the air, even though she knew that it would be impossible by now, it still lingered, filling her nostrils, polluting her lungs. She wanted to know how the others were doing, but there was no real way to find out, Grady suspected that if anything happened to Rose the fire would go out, though she hoped she was wrong.

Amy found the ride quickly became monotonous, there was nothing to look at, no distractions. As they went into the tunnels she forced herself to look forward, either the walls would start shifting or they wouldn’t, either way she hoped that the attackers wouldn’t be able to run fast enough to keep up. Sure they looked like people, but she had seen enough horror movies to know that something was off about them. She wished that they had shouted and screamed as they attacked, that way she’d have some idea if they were nearby or not, but they had moved pretty quietly and the sound of their bikes was drowning out the noise of everything else. They hadn’t considered how it would be amplified and Amy regretted not getting ear plugs of some kind. The fire lined the corners of the ceiling, as Rose had promised, providing a strange steady but flickering light, it was enough for them to see by and ensure they wouldn’t veer off the straight path.

Grady squinted, trying to see better in the light, it looked as though there was just a wall at the end, no opening, no escape, just a solid, smooth wall. She slowed down a little, as did Amy, they had both assumed that the tunnel would be open at this end and neither had asked. They stopped their bikes and looked at the wall.
“What do you think?”
“I dunno, it’ll probably open when we reach it, right?”
“Ok, I think we should take it slow, maybe stop when we get too close and walk the rest of the way, just to be safe.”
“Definitely.”

They sat on their bikes, the silence was strangely oppressive, there was no sign or sound that anyone was behind them. Both girls looked back and saw that about a hundred feet back, there was solid wall, either the wall ahead would open, or they were trapped. They started the bikes and moved forward slowly, hoping the wall would move.

As they neared, the wall pulled itself back, revealing a slight slope and a harsh, white light. They drove forward slowly, wondering where exactly they would be surfacing. Amy was out first, followed by Grady, they were in a car park, outside a large supermarket. They stopped the bikes for a moment to try and get their bearings. The ground started to shake slightly and there was a faint rumble, behind them the tunnel sealed itself.
“Who do you think they were? The people who attacked?”
“I don’t know, they’re all probably dead by now. Will we get going?”
“Yeah. I’m tempted to take a car, too bad they’ll realise it’s gone quick enough.”
“Don’t worry, we’ll find something soon.”
They started the bikes again and drove out of the parking lot, hoping that no one had seen them surface.

Rose and Brett passed each other in the tunnels, Rose stopped at one gap and fired a ball of flames at Alice, the fire missed, but in dodging she gave Simon an opening. Rose smiled to herself and moved to another gap. Brett paused for a moment and looked out, he wasn’t much use in fighting off Alice, but he could help Simon, make sure he didn’t respond too badly to the pain. They had found early on that they couldn’t actually harm Alice herself, but they could distract her. Rose was sending gouts of flame at her, while Ed was causing the ground beneath Alice to shift. It helped keep her off balance and made it harder for her to control Simon for long periods.

Sweat ran freely down Simons face, he was tired and breathing heavily. Alice seemed to be equally tired, but she wasn’t slowing down. The air around Alice solidified, Simon gasped, trying to catch his breath, it would distract Alice for only a few minutes. Blood started to run from Simons nose, he wiped at it distractedly, Alice had been trying to drain the blood from his body in small amounts. She wanted to draw out the fight, make Simon suffer, but in doing so she left herself exposed. She had tired him quickly, which made it harder for Simon to use his powers with any kind of skill. He took a deep breath and concentrated, Alice was trapped in a small ball of ice, beneath her the ground was shifting constantly. He screamed, focusing all his power and energy at the ball of ice, around him the ground began to freeze, a wave of white stretched outwards, he watched at Alice’s prison became clear, it froze solid, trapping her completely. Her eyes widened, panicked. Around them snow began to fall heavily. A tree nearby exploded, the sap freezing and expanding at a phenomenal rate. Simon fell to the ground, no longer controlling it, allowing it to take over, allowing the ice to rage. He didn’t want to control it anymore, he couldn’t. His breathing slowed as the snow fell on his face, like soft, cold kisses, burying him quickly. A small smile on his face. He forgot how much he enjoyed the cold. He sat up slowly, ignoring the world around him as it turned to ice and snow. This would be his kingdom now, he would start it anew, shape the world with his mighty power, make everything beautiful and cold. A bolt of fire headed towards him, he turned towards it, still smiling, it disappeared, silenced by the snow. He was stronger than they were, he was stronger than them all.

In the tunnel, Rose kept Brett and Ed warm, filling it with fire, around them the ground froze and cracked, Rose sent a handful of fire out at Simon, hoping it would distract him, bring him back to his senses. They needed to get to him, get him to stop. The ground cracked open, and together the three entered the frozen wastelands Simon was trying to create. A vortex of snow and ice swirled around him, obscuring him from view.

Simon watched it spreading outwards, it was his, all his. There was a sharp pain in his back, followed by one in his leg. He frowned. The snow began slow as Simon collapsed, the others stopped, fearing a trap. There was nothing but silence.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 24 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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One Response to Shadow Crawlers. Part 42.

  1. Pingback: Shadow Crawlers. Part 43 | Alan James Keogh

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