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


by shadesmaclean 0 reviews

Justin takes the freight elevator

Category: Fantasy - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Fantasy,Horror - Published: 2009-10-11 - Updated: 2009-10-11 - 952 words - Complete

Justin had no idea how long he had been cruising around these tunnels before he finally reached a dead end.

Or at least at first he thought it was a dead end. A big metal wall with a black-and-yellow-slashed strip across its width. On closer inspection, though, he realized that it was a door, complete with a blocky control panel next to it.

He pondered his move for a long moment, finally dismounting and whipping out one power pistol. Bracing himself for the worst, he reached out and pressed the largest button. The door split open about halfway up, along the strip, the top sliding into the ceiling, the bottom into the floor. Like jaws gaping, Justin reckoned.

Within, a second latticework of bars accordioned aside, revealing a blue steel freight elevator. It took him a moment to realize what it was, then he lowered his guard. Having tired of the monotony of the tunnels, he pushed the motorcycle in.

There was another control panel inside, and he closed the door behind him. Once inside, though, he was again struck by the same disorientation as he had at finding a basement at the “top” of all those stairs. His directional quandary finally ended with the realization that he was already at the bottom level of this thing.

No way to go but up, so he pressed for the top floor.

The interior of the freight elevator was like a big blue metal cage; as he rose through the levels, he could see different concrete segments as he passed them. For over a dozen levels, he ascended through a massive steel framework, beyond which was a colossal, multi-level chamber full of pulleys and hoists and smaller elevator platforms, ramps and crisscrossing stairways. Levels upon levels of platforms and catwalks circled the interior of this impossibly tall enclosure.

Seeing it all from his moving vantage point nearly made him dizzy as he looked about.

Then it was back to the concrete shaft. Justin had completely lost track of how many levels he had risen through when it finally stopped. He stood there for a long moment before finally making up his mind to leave.

For a moment, he was afraid to leave the elevator. Much like a shark-diver, he had come to feel rather safe inside this cage. It was hard to shake the maddening feeling that there was something— perhaps more than one something— on the other side of those metal jaws, lying in wait.

It was finding his hand again holding that crudely carved figurine that made up his mind; it was time to nip this growing reliance on magical thinking in the bud.

Along the way, he had noticed that there was a lattice-door facing each way, but when he opened the one he came through, he found nothing but solid concrete before him that was clearly a wall. The only path open to him lay in the opposite direction.

Keeping his double-barrel power pistol ready, he took a deep breath and at last opened the other door. Beyond was another cavernous chamber of concrete and asphalt, the ceiling easily high enough to drive large vehicles through. A few vehicles were scattered on row upon row of grid-lines marking most of the level. Numbers, and more of those black-and-yellow signs, marched up and down the walls. At one end of the place was a pair of ramps, one going up, one going down.

After finally shrugging and resigning himself to the fact that such abstract notions as “up” and “down” didn’t mean jack shit in this place, he decided to see what was at the top of it. Firing up the engine, he took off again, cruising up the ramp. At the top of the ramp, he found himself on an almost identical parking level, with another level above it. Practicing his maneuvering, and getting the hang of it in this large and mostly open space.

At least until he ran out of gas.

Or something. The engine just sputtered out, and the motorcycle puttered to a halt and then refused to start again. After messing around with it for all of thirty or forty seconds, he just let the thing fall over and walked away.

So much for keeping it and taking it with him.

After pondering his options for a few moments, he decided to press on as he had before, wanting to see how many levels there were. Resolving that if it went on too much farther, he would change direction, and see where any of the occasional doors he saw along the way led to. Concluding that if any of Kato’s friends had come this way, once into the tunnels, there was no hope of tracking them anymore anyway.

And no chance in hell of Max being able to catch up with him, even before the tunnels. Though now fairly confident he was wasn’t being followed earlier, as he originally feared, he was no longer so confident that leaving marks of any sort would have done him or Max much good anyway. Was no longer even so sure he could necessarily find his way back to the tunnels, despite their being what seemed like a very direct route back.

This whole Building was making Tranz-D look positively navigable by comparison, and Justin Black didn’t like it one bit. Reaching into his pocket and clutching that strange figurine from Obscura Antiques again, he set out once more. And surprised himself by hoping maybe the odd trinket would turn out to be a good luck charm, for he felt that no amount of good fortune could possibly be too much in this creepy place.
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