58. The Ancient Engines of Deimos, Part V   1 comment

Meanwhile in Space

Episode 58: The Ancient Engines of Deimos, Part V: The Tunnels of Deimos

Caretaker Benjamin led Astralyn through the back streets of Dunlin. No dark alley was off limits. Astralyn knew it was to minimize the possibility of them being seen by any other Caretakers, but it was starting to get ridiculous. In the short time that she had been following him she had seen two muggings, a drug deal, and maybe witnessed someone getting stabbed. She tried her best to memorize the path that they were taking, but the directions were so random, that she couldn’t keep track. At one point, she knew that they had taken four lefts.

“Just a little bit further,” Caretaker Benjamin said, stopping at the end of another dark alley. He looked up and down the adjoining street before he made his move.

“Yeah, right,” Astralyn replied. She followed him to the end of the street where a three story building that looked old and would crumble at the slightest touch. All of the windows were either broken or boarded up. From the sight of it, no one had been there in decades. She looked for a ‘Condemned’ sign. “Are you sure that this is safe?” She figured that in this day and age, people would have taken better care of their buildings.

“Of course it’s safe.” Caretaker Benjamin motioned for her to continue to follow him. “Just whatever you do, don’t touch the walls.” He was joking, but Astralyn thought that it was a pretty good idea.

The two of them entered the building through a massive hole in the brick wall. Astralyn looked around the dark space inside and shivered. There weren’t any walls and the floor had been all torn up to reveal the lunar surface. On the ceiling above her hung a precariously placed dusty crystal chandelier.

“What was this place?” Astralyn asked.

“It used to be a five star hotel, but the glory days are gone, you know?”

The place gave her the absolute creeps. She wished she had stayed with the tourist section of the city. She wished she had stayed with the tour group. She wished that she hadn’t had the idea to come to Deimos.

Caretaker Benjamin walked around the lobby staring at the floor. Astralyn noticed that he seemed to to be looking for something. She decided that she should help look, but she wasn’t exactly sure what to look for. Just as she was about to ask, the Caretaker dropped down to his knees. She ran over to him and stared down at he found so interesting. He swept the dirt away to reveal a large grate. She knew immediately what was coming next.

“You’re not serious,” she said.

“As a heart attack,” Caretaker Benjamin said, grinning. He took satisfaction in knowing that she didn’t want to go down into the filthy underground of Dunlin. “Come on, now. Don’t be un-grate-ful.” He chuckled at his joke as he pulled the grate up from the ground. He set the heavy grate on the ground next to the opening. He didn’t waste any time in there and climbing down. When he reached the bottom, he whistled up to her. “Come on, we ain’t got all night!”

Astralyn rolled her eyes in frustration. She knew that she would have to get down there somehow. She repeated in her head that it was all for Sundance. He would do the same for her. It was time to put on her big girl pants. She got down on the ground and stuck her legs in the hole. She searched for the ladder down. As she did this, she thought about what Sundance said earlier about trouble following her everywhere. Maybe he was right.

She finally made it down to the bottom of the ladder where Caretaker Benjamin was waiting for her. “So, where are we going? Do you have a flashlight?”

“I’ve been down here so many times, I know my way around by feel. Hold my hand.” Astralyn felt him trying to find her hands. She grabbed his hand and allowed her to lead her through the dark tunnels of Deimos.

They traveled for what must have been twenty minutes before they reach a dimly lit room. The walls were covered with giant rusty cogs. Metallic boxes filled most of the floor space. Astralyn made a note to fire the interior decorator.

Caretaker Benjamin stepped into the room and took a look around just to make sure that there was no one else in it. When he was satisfied, he approached Astralyn. “Alright, I need you to stay here while I bring your friend to you.”

“You didn’t make me walk in the dark through dark and creepy tunnels just to stay behind,” Astralyn said. “I want to help you.”

“Well, you can’t very well walk around the site dressed like that,” Caretaker Benjamin said.

“Dressed like what?” Astralyn looked at her outfit: dark green dress slacks, yellow blouse, dark green open jacket, and black boots. It’s what she usually wore. “I think I am moderately dressed.”

“That’s not going to work at all. Stay here.” Caretaker Benjamin left the room, but didn’t close the door behind him.

Astralyn stepped out to close the door, but she heard Caretakers coming. She quickly retreated to the tunnel and made herself as small as possible. A few Caretakers entered the room and looked around. They wondered why the door had been left open. Nothing looked out of place so they left and shut the door behind them. She hoped that she wasn’t locked in. She stepped back out of the tunnel and stood in the center of the room. As she approached the door, it suddenly opened. It was too late to dive back into the tunnel. She would have to take on whoever was on the other side. She braced herself for a confrontation.

Caretaker Benjamin stood in the doorway carrying a spare maroon robe. He tossed it at Astralyn and smiled. “I think that you should be able to pull this look off.” He looked out into the hallway and checked for any witnesses. “Hurry up!”

Astralyn struggled to find the opening in the robe. When she finally found it, she threw the robe over her head. It fell gently down her body and collected at her feet. The robe was a little too big for her, but she was determined to make it work.

“Sorry, we don’t have a lot of women Caretakers here, so I had a hard time judging your size,” Caretaker Benjamin said.

“I don’t care, just take me to Sundance.” Astralyn picked up a section of her robes and walked out into the hallway. Caretaker Benjamin raced after her and placed the hood on her head.

“I know exactly where he is. Follow me.”

Astralyn kept her face towards the floor. She tried to make herself as inconspicuous as possible. As they passed the other Caretakers, she tried to act as if she belonged there. She tried to mimic Caretaker Benjamin’s stride in an effort to blend in. Unfortunately, he walked very fast which made her gait awkward. The other Caretakers didn’t seem to notice.

The two of them finally stopped at a steel door with a wheel lock mechanism on it. Caretaker Benjamin looked up and down the corridor to make sure that no one else was coming. When he was satisfied, he reached up and began to turn the wheel to the left. The door squeaked as the lock scraped against the metal inside. He pulled the door open and Astralyn raced inside.

“Sundance?”

There was a long table with straps on it in the center of the room with a few chairs positioned around it, but there was no one else in the room but them. Astralyn looked back at Caretaker Benjamin in confusion. “Where is he?”

“He’s not here?” Caretaker Benjamin looked into the room and saw that it was empty. “Then they must have moved him, which means we were too late.”

“Too late? What do you mean ‘too late’?”

“They must have found out that you friend isn’t the one they’re looking for,” he said. “Caretaker Dave won’t let him live; he knows too much about us. Your friend is in trouble for sure.”

“We have to find him now.” Astralyn started to feel panicked. She walked over to Caretaker Benjamin and shook him until she regained her composure. “Sorry. Where do we go from here?”

The Caretaker turned his gaze to the floor because he knew that she was not going to like his answer.

————————-

I hope that you’re comfortable,” Caretaker Dave said as he watched his two minions tie Sundance down to a steel table. “Granted, this isn’t the best room we have in the house, but it’ll have to do.”

Sundance looked at his feet as a Caretaker attached clamps on them. He knew what this table was meant to do. It was a table designed to stretch a person in half. “Nice rack,” Sundance joked. “I’ve seen better.”

“We’ll see if you’ll be laughing when we pick up your friend and do the same,” Caretaker Dave said. He snapped his fingers and his minions began the torture. Sundance could only scream.

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Posted July 31, 2012 by Xanto P. Jones in Flash Fiction

One response to “58. The Ancient Engines of Deimos, Part V

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  1. Poor Sundance, he could be stretched to his limits here! ^_^

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