Categories > Original > Fantasy > Tradewinds 04 - "Tranz-D"


by shadesmaclean 0 reviews

subterranean discovery

Category: Fantasy - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Fantasy - Published: 2008-10-09 - Updated: 2008-10-09 - 828 words - Complete

“Holy shit!” Justin gasped as he surfaced, the rush of water pushing him away from where he landed. He turned and looked up through the mist and spray of the roaring, echoing waterfall and was dazzled by what he saw. A liquid flood of light flowed into the cavern from the surface, shimmering off the distant walls in patterns of blue and green. One of the most beautiful things he had ever seen.

Before he had glimpsed more than a portion of what he was beginning to realize was a very large cavern, he caught sight of Bandit paddling around a familiar form drifting nearby.


His friend was floating on his back, but making no movement whatsoever. Now it was Justin’s turn to just jump right in, grabbing one of Max’s pack straps and dragging him toward the edge of the water.

Damn! That wasn’t there yesterday…” He muttered, straining against his burden, somehow managing to haul Max ashore. His friend hadn’t seemed that heavy when they were practicing their fighting techniques; now he knew what the term dead weight meant. As he dragged Max up onto a beach of pure white sand, he moaned, “Come on, Max… Don’t you dare die on me…”

He had started out meaning to be a smartass, but by the time he finished speaking, he realized that he was more worried than he wanted to admit.

He had to shove Bandit’s snout out of his way as he examined his friend. The first thing he noticed was that Max was still breathing, which relieved some of his fear. The next thing he spotted was a lump on the side of his head. At this he paused.

For all he knew, there might have been some water down here to begin with, but now that he thought about it, he understood that there may have been substantially less water in the cave when Max went down. He remembered that his friend went under first, merely delaying his own fall in what he guessed to be an attempt to rescue him from the whirlpool—

And that was where Justin was when the lights went out.


The rushing water that had, only seconds before, been a near deafening roar amplified by the echo of the cave, now dwindled to a lonely trickle. He caught only a shifting, shrinking splotch of light where the hole had been, then nothing as the cavern was plunged into total darkness.

Or perhaps not total darkness.

After a few seconds, he noticed that he could still faintly see the ceiling of the cave, and the surface of the water. And noticed, much to his dismay, that the ceiling appeared unbroken, giving him the disconcerting impression of feet, yards, perhaps fathoms, of solid stone. It was a very claustrophobic feeling, on the heels of that, his subterranean surroundings dredged up Pullman memories he could really have done without.

“The hell…”

After a moment it dawned on him that it should be pitch dark down here, and his eye caught the steady light shining from around a fold in the cave wall. Around the bend he found a hole in the wall. Beyond the gap, which was easily large enough for two people to walk abreast through, was a hallway. The hole cut in from the side, and the hall stretched out of sight to both his right and his left. The walls were made of dark metal, folded outward at mid height. What appeared to be fluorescent-looking lighting panels provided illumination from between hexagonal supports. Given that he was deep underground, his best guess was that it must be some kind of bunker.

“This was under here the whole time… Just wait ’til Max sees this—”

Then the hole flickered, revealing a brief glimpse of rock-solid cavern wall, then flashing back to the hallway again. He stood there for a long moment, just staring at the hole, wondering if it was going to do it again.

If Max saw this…

He looked back around the bend to see that Max was still lying on the sand. Bandit paced by his side, managing to convey more concern than Justin would have attributed to an animal. Justin stood for a long moment in thought before he decided what to do.

“Bandit…” Justin felt kinda silly talking to a cat, but he had seen Max do it all the time, and he was starting to get the impression that his feline companion sort of understood what he was saying. “Bandit… uh… you stay with Max, okay? I’m gonna go see if I can’t find some help.”

Bandit looked at him for a moment, then started shaking himself dry, continuing to glance at Max’s inert form at intervals.

With that, Justin turned back to the mysterious hole and stepped through, hoping against hope that there was someone or something that might help him.
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