There wasn’t much we could do at that point, with our friends gone and a growing worry that we’d stumbled into something dangerous and out of our control. So we tried heading down some different tunnels, away from the massive vat of unidentifiable liquid we’d helped to create.
The tunnels grew ever darker. So, after doubling back for some torches from the main room, we continued down the twists and turns. Soon the tunnels were made of heavy white stone instead of the metal of the main bunker. And the farther in we went, the more lost we became. But I forged on, not wanting to upset Rachel.
Eventually I thought I heard a soft sound echoing from ahead of us, like a fragile whimper. And the farther in we went, the louder it got.
“That’s not you, is it?”
“I’m scared enough down here as it is,” said Rachel. ”You think I want to make this place creepier?”
So we kept walking, and soon I was sure it was the sound of a child.
And after rounding the last corner we emerged into a room with torches lining the walls and a boy strapped to a table in the center. He looked weak, emaciated, and he kept moaning, as if in pain.
“Oh God,” said Rachel, “who is this kid?”
I went in closer to start undoing the bonds around his wrists and ankles, but stopped when I saw movement from the doorway across from where we’d come in.
“Rachel? Jack? That you guys?” It was Campbell, and Sara was right behind him.
“Yeah,” I said, “what the hell is going on down here?”
“You think this is weird, come see what else we found.”
We followed them into the hallway and, on their cue, snuck up to the next doorway as quietly as possible.
In the next room we could see a string of Granny Po’s townspeople lined up across from us, all shackled to the wall. But they were different, lanky tall and monstrous as if they’d each grown at least a foot and a half. They had glowing, sunken eyes and grayed skin, and we could see all their bones as if they hadn’t eaten in months. And at the end of the row was Granny Po, with one hand in chains, and staring right at us.