Tainted Victory – Chapter 9, Part 7 (Page-a-Day)

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Claudia, Evelyn, and Hugh continued deeper into the abyssal black of the secret passageway. The soft embers of the salablazer saliva was their sole light in the darkness. Though it was impossible to tell because of the darkness, it did not feel like there was much to actually see, examine, or experience. It was a consistent stone lined walkway that curved back around on itself like a snake made of shadows and curves. 

Evelyn raised her salablazer jar to a wall. It scraped it with an annoying clicking noise. “Whoever used this must have been very dedicated.”

“It is boring to navigate for sure,” Hugh said. The saliva in his jar jiggled from side to side with each pass around the walls. 

“I’m more curious where this runner lets out,” Claudia said. 

“There have been some minor dips here and there,” Evelyn said. “We could be well below ground and into the basement by now. 

“It has been getting colder the further we’ve gotten,” Claudia said. 

“Only someone with an insulated suit of armor could make it down here,” Evelyn said. 

“Or a coat,” Hugh said.

Evelyn slammed to a halt. Her boot clicked loudly off the stone. She turned to him. “Siguard tried to kill you!”

“Yes.” Hugh held up his glowing jar. It’s contents sloshed around, casting a moving glow against her face. “The facts don’t add up.”

“We’ll know more once we get out of this thing,” Claudia said. “Hopefully.”

“Okay.” Evelyn turned back and started walking again. “Well if it can’t possibly be Siguard, who could it be?” 

“I think it’s one of those soldiers outside,” Claudia said. 

“That can’t be it. Remember that the soldiers said they saw someone leave last night,” Evelyn said. 

“They could have just been told to say that.”

“The foot holes in the wall don’t back that story up.” 

“Didn’t the general say something about a mole in our party?” Hugh asked.

“The mole and the killer might not be the same person,” Claudia said. 

“So there could be multiple problems. Great,” Evelyn said. 

“Can we pause a second?” Hugh asked. He exchanged the jar into his free hand and rested his hand against the stone wall. He exhaled heavily. “I need to rest.” He took a couple breathes. 

“I know. Walking for a long time is hard,” Evelyn said. 

“You cannot be nice to anyone, can you?” Claudia asked. 

“I just need a minute. It’s fine.” Hugh laid his back against the wall. It sent shivers down his back. “Stones are definitely colder than this room.” He stretched his aching legs out. His back pushed against the stones. He heard a click. The stones behind him slid back. He jumped up.

“What did you do, doctor?” Evelyn asked. 

“I hope it is another passage to get us out of here,” Claudia said. 

Hugh raised his jar to look at the wall. The tiles slid in only to pop back into place. “Fake out, maybe.” Hugh took a step closer. He felt a solid slab of pressure build on the arch of his foot. The pressure built until it shot up. A rushing slide of brick smashed into the ceiling cutting him off from the others. 

“Hugh!” Evelyn called. She slapped her palm on the wall. A brick pushed into the structure. 

“We need to get out of here!” Claudia touched Evelyn’s shoulder. She then felt her stomach drop from out of her along with the stone floor. She screamed. The shrieks echoed further and further down the new abyss.

Evelyn spun on her heels. Her normally pale skin turned icy white. She felt more translucent than anything looking down at the hole in front of her. She turned to the sides. The walls hadn’t changed. She took a step to the hole. She felt the absence of ground below her. A dread rose out from the hole and pinned her in place. She shook her head. Her hair frizzed out. Then it occurred to her. She touched the wall and that hole opened. She looked back at the wall then held up her glowing jar.

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