Categories > Original > Fantasy > Tradewinds 09 - "The Building is Hungry!"


by shadesmaclean 0 reviews

Justin, up to the basement

Category: Fantasy - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Fantasy,Horror,Sci-fi - Published: 2009-03-01 - Updated: 2009-03-01 - 803 words - Complete

Justin was starting to wonder if perhaps the stairs weren’t such a great idea.

When he first entered the building, his ears were still burning. Is that all he cares about? And not even to him, but to Max. He wasn’t sure what pissed him off more, this Shades guy’s speaking as if he wasn’t even there, or being lectured by someone who obviously never had to live in a hole, steal for a living, scurry and hide in fear of military police… What the fuck does he know? What does Max see in that asshole?

Yet he was still a teeny bit leery of “underground” places after his time in the mines and Tranz-D, so when he spotted this ascending stairway, he decided to search the upper floors first. The fact that he couldn’t tell which way either Kato or her friends had gone only added to his irritation. Though he was angry enough to start with, the climb had cooled him off some. By now his legs were burning even more than they had in any of Max’s training runs.

In fact, he was starting to wonder what the hell was going on. He had lost track of how many flights of stairs he had climbed, but he was fairly sure this place had only three or four floors, five tops. Yet he could see at least three or four more flights looming above him.

And he couldn’t even see the bottom anymore.

From the start, he figured Kato’s friends weren’t hiding or anything. It would only be a matter of time before he ran into them. On the outside, this place looked like it could be explored in a fairly short period of time. Much to his dismay, he was growing increasingly certain that he had already walked up through the top of the building somehow, and his anger at Shades had begun to dissipate as he started to seriously wonder just how much higher this stairway could possibly go.

At last, shaky-kneed and almost totally out of breath, he pushed open a door at the top of the stairs, the first one he’d found that wasn’t locked. One that someone might actually have passed through recently. His relief at not having to chop it down, though, was brief, for when he saw the long, dimly-lit room before him, he found himself terribly disoriented. The grey concrete walls, floor, even the ceiling, all looked like the stuff of basements to him.

After all, he had lived in one long enough to know one when he saw it.

As he staggered into the cool, damp-smelling corridor, it struck him that this was probably what the Works looked like before the Authority reduced it to the Ruins. The thought spooked him enough to make him draw his power pistol, the one that still had ammo left, as he wandered into what looked more and more to him to be an underground complex. Fluorescent light panels hung from the ceiling, though only about half of them were on, and between the massive square pillars, some sections were caged off with floor-to-ceiling bars.

Ordinarily, Justin would be curious enough about what was locked away in there to cut out the bars, but all he could see in these sub-rooms were shelves of books and binders and dusty boxes. Nothing of interest, in other words. That, and the fact that his path shifted left and right in squarish sections, the backs of the far cages partially shrouded in shadows beyond the light banks, he was starting to get the eerie impression that, rather than intruders being locked out, something might be locked in.

In that moment, he remembered that strange “warded” box from Obscura Antiques, and shuddered as that creepy shopkeep’s cryptic words (locked out, or locked in…) crept into his head.

Found himself reaching into his pocket and taking out that curious figurine the shopkeep gave him, looking over the stark runes carved into it and wondering if it really was a good luck charm. Not that he had ever put much stock in luck, certainly not any trust, at any rate. Worried that if there was such a thing, they may have used it all up before ever setting foot in here…

He shook those thoughts off as it dawned on him that the farthest portion of this basement that he could see should have been at least a block or two beyond the edge of the Harken Building. And above it, at that. It was the same dizzying disorientation he had experienced in Tranz-D, and he was beginning to suspect that bastard Shades may have been on to something.

That only made Justin mad at him all over again.
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