“The fire’s coming,” she said, removing her hood. Her hollow features, worn down, coarse from the years of running and fighting, scanned the gigantic room quickly. “We need to find it.”
“And what if we do?” Kwalski answered, lowering his own hood, features just as battered, sculpted pain over once chiselled strength.
“We open it,” She turned to him looking deep into his eyes. There’d been something there, once. A man, potent and full of the strength of all those before him, gone now. No hope, not anymore, not after all this, but he had his uses.
He lifted his head and let out a long breath, a cone of condensation raising into the room, evaporating into the darkness. “The monsters. They’re in there. That’s what we’ve always been told.”
“Can they be any worse than what’s out here?” She took a step, her heavy boot echoing through the vast, dark chamber. A flicker of light shimmering off the film of water slowly soaking into the unimaginably thick concrete. It’s depth was palpable, it’s immense rigidity, under their feet, forever and ever, as it went, and the chamber that covered it. Where they had been running through, where they had all been searching it. That one beacon, that one thing to grab on to. That one idea, the trapdoor.
“There’s nothing for us inside it, it’s just more of this!” He grabbed her shoulder, turning her to him and shook her. “More and more and more and more! Just this!” The water dripped and chased the endless echo of his voice through the cavern. “More monsters.” He lowered his head and let go of her, stumbling backwards.
“We open it,” she repeated. “And we go inside.”
“And where do you think it will lead?” He sniffed, lifting his head slowly.
“It doesn’t matter. It’s all we’ve got.” She turned, another step over the thin film of water, another endless echo reverberating through the endless chamber, the concrete beneath her feet, never ending, and somewhere, amongst it all, a trap door.
She gripped her fists and gritted her teeth and in the moment where the fire died and between the drips of the water and under the echo of their breath, the flicker, the spark that she had to carry. “We open it.”
Building inspiration: Tokyo Storm Drain System
Musical inspiration: Architects — Naysayer