(The story begins here.)
(The last recap is here.)
They switched the flashlights off while everyone got reoriented. It was somehow easier in the dark. Finally a brief discussion established that they would try to leave the way they had come, so they turned on the flashlights and moved carefully toward the section of wall that led to the cart home.
Dr. Fleming examined the spot where the globes had been, only to find blackened shreds of something. A quick inspection of the floor revealed filaments of an unknown material. The doctor carefully collected samples, warning the others to avoid the crystalline shards on the floor.
“Don’t touch anything! It could very well be poisonous.”
“If it is,” Lassiter remarked, “there’s probably enough harmful material floating around as dust to kill us all.”
“Some dangers we can’t avoid, but there’s no point in multiplying them.”
“What are those filaments, anyway?”
“I suspect they are the wiring of the globes. They may not conduct electricity, but they probably carried whatever energy the globes used. Perhaps I can bring the equipment here someday to analyze all this properly.”
They reached the wall. Shafer was leading, Dr. Fleming and Lassiter lagged behind, still absorbed in studying the debris, and Darren urged Clio along; she was busily adjusting her bow to its normal draw weight. But they all stopped short as Shafer muttered, “Uh-oh.”
“What do you mean, ‘uh-oh’?” Dr. Fleming demanded.
“The wall won’t open. The Shiny One is holding it shut. I don’t think it likes us.”
“The Shiny One is the Dead One now.”
“Not dead, just terribly, terribly hurt. Pretty angry, too. It’s using a lot of power to hold the wall shut. We might be able to get through anyway, but it would just track us down.”
“Victor,” Darren said, “there’s luminescence in the pool that wasn’t there before.”
It didn’t take long to verify this: the glow was increasing slightly but noticeably. Soon a faint light emerged from the pool. It carried a globe as it slowly rose toward the roof of the cavern.
“It’s got a replacement bulb!” Shafer cried.
“That means there’s still power up there,” Dr. Fleming said. “Clio—Miss FitzHugh—could you hit those shreds up there with an arrow?”
“Even if I glue one of these filaments to it?”
He uncapped a bottle, dipped an arrow in it, then poked a filament and handed the assemblage to her. As she was fitting it to the string, Shafer walked up and spat on the filament.
“What are you doing?” she demanded.
“Gotta have spit. It messes the creature up.”
“Like the guy in the diary,” Darren muttered.
Clio added her spit, and said, “‘From hell's heart, I stab at thee. For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee.’”
“Aye-aye, Captain Ahab,” Darren murmured. She grinned and prepared to release the arrow.
Next: An Arrow Escape
1 year ago