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


by shadesmaclean 0 reviews

Justin wanders the halls

Category: Fantasy - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Fantasy,Horror - Published: 2009-10-06 - Updated: 2009-10-06 - 1197 words - Complete

After the frozen storage areas, Justin’s explorations took him through long cinder-block hallways and more basement rooms similar to the ones he had passed through earlier. Sans the cages. Instead, these rooms were mostly empty, aside from the occasional stack of boxes and such, and the halls were lined with doors, and banks of windows looking in on darkened rooms. He couldn’t quite decide which windows made him more nervous, the ones with blinds drawn, or the ones that opened on these shadowy rooms.

In one uncommonly bright hallway, he had paused and upped the nerve to peer into the dusty darkness beyond. At first all he saw was his own reflection, double-barrel power pistol armed and ready. Once his eyes adjusted to the gloom, and the somehow unsettling layers of dust, he saw more of the same. Metal shelves, and what appeared to be boxes of documents.

Yet there was something about how simply mundane this scene was that made him shudder in spite of himself. That all he could see through these portals was only the murky outlines of what was inside as he passed each one. There was one window he specifically walked on the opposite side of the hall as he passed. Something about it, the way the area inside was so black against the bright white of the hallway.

Kept getting the irrational idea that something was going to reach out for him out of that blackness…

What the fuck is with this place? he wondered as he warily watched what at least should look like just an ordinary room. Found his memories switching back and forth from his early days hiding from the ghosts of the Ruins in a manner he would now consider childish, to his more recent nightmare experience in another dimension full of real monsters. Just let there not be anything in that room…

This he thought, to any gods that happened to be in the neighborhood, though he was beginning to understand that this place was devoid of gods. A place the gods had forgotten.

This he thought, opening his hand to find he was gripping that figurine again. And had no memory of even taking it out. After that inexplicably creepy room, he no longer cared if this thing was real or not. Perhaps protective talismans weren’t such a bad thing after all, he concluded as he pressed on. Decided that if he actually survived this place, he would be sure to thank that crazy old man if he ever met him again.

It wasn’t until he had put a lot of distance between himself and that hallway that his nerves began to settle down somewhat.

He was beginning to wish he had dragged Max in with him after telling Shades off. Then he took it back. Whatever happened to himself, he found he hoped Max never had to see this place. Still, he knew his friend was no coward, and he was horribly certain Max would come in looking for him. After all, he was willing to tempt Fate going back to Tranz-D. Yet he was fast reaching the point that he would even travel with Shades rather than be alone in here.

When he stepped around the next corner, taking it wide as he had most of the previous turns, Justin stopped in his tracks at what he saw beyond the double-doors only a stone’s throw ahead. It was easily the largest room he had ever seen; even in that scant lighting, he could barely see the other side of the cavernous chamber at least two- or three-hundred feet beyond, the ceiling a staggering height above him. Everything cast in the harsh glare of arc-sodiums the like of which he had never seen before but already decided he didn’t like. All this space— enough to build a ship, by his reckoning— and so little in it, just a few vehicles parked at random along the sides.

“Kato!” Justin called out, wondering now why he hadn’t thought to try that when he first came in. “Chase! George!… Max!… Shades!…”

His voice echoed grandly, but hollowly, as if in mockery of his hopes. Much like the atonal coldness of the Ruins, he reflected. As the chamber returned to its former silence, he began to think that perhaps calling his friends wasn’t such a bright idea. As if he had just told the whole place he was here. Hoping he hadn’t just given himself away, thought to exactly what, he wasn’t certain, he quickly traversed the floor.

At the far end of the enormous hangar was a massive garage door. There was a padlock slapped on it, but Justin Black was not one to be stopped that easily; two clean shots blew it off. Then he wished he hadn’t done that. Not only would his staff had gotten the job done without wasting ammo, it also would’ve been a hell of a lot quieter.

Beyond was a large paved tunnel of monolithic concrete walls. Occasional arc-sodiums gave dim illumination. From where he stood, he could not see the end of it.

He was about to head out when he got an idea. If these tunnels were as extensive as everything else in the Harken Building, this could be a very long walk indeed. After the distance he had walked so far— what felt like miles— by his calculations, he was pretty sure he shouldn’t even be on Centralict Island anymore. Yet this passage was easily large enough to accommodate any of the vehicles behind him. He wondered vaguely if any of them had owners as he turned back to examine them.

If they did, tough shit.

There was a boat on a trailer. Like a fish out of water… A dump-truck. Looks like it belongs in the Boneyard… A red semi cab. Weird… A camouflaged tank. Armored, and I love that gun, but it’d probably cause a cave-in… A motorcycle. Looks like fun… A big black truck with jacked-up tires. A definite possibility… A twin-engine airplane. Can that thing really fly?… he wondered. A yellow Beetle. Looks kinda cramped… A flatbed trailer. Useless… A car marked taxi, resting on cinder blocks without any tires. Even more useless…

And made up his mind.

The tunnels might get smaller, and he wanted room to maneuver, so he checked the motorcycle first. At first he kicked off, taking a couple tries and almost giving up before he started to gain his balance. Back in the Triangle State, he had seen patrols cruising the coast on things that sort of looked like this, only made for water, so he was certain he could ride it.

After he got it down, he tried starting the engine. The keys were in it, and it started easily, still he was surprised at first at how loud the thing was. But after revving it a couple times, he decided he actually kinda liked it.

All the same, years of instinct told him he was making too much noise, and decided not to linger as he headed off into the tunnels.
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