Part III: Black Tuesday

They made their way through the grime and the darkness of the tunnel.  They clutched their guns in their hands, Samuel on his peacemaker, Murphy on the shotgun.  The dug their nails into the grime and mud and it clumped at the base of their fingernails as they gripped for balance agains the steep incline.  The never ending sense that the horde was right behind them kept their pace steady.  They had no light and the tunnel was only getting darker.  Larkin had made his way through here quickly, but couldn’t have been much farther ahead.  


The tunnel eventually gave way to a longer tunnel, something like a sewer tunnel or a catacomb.  They heard steps ringing off into the distance, echoing in a dull metallic click that carried well in the confined space.  They took off running toward the sound.  Their chests were heaving and their fingers were itchy.  They’d both been taken off guard by Larkin.  


Samuel’s body felt three times its normal size, but he shucked the peacoat off his shoulders and felt himself break free.  They could run, actually give chase.  They knew Larkin wasn’t far ahead.  The tunnel they were in began to curve and Samuel thought he could see light faintly shining against the tunnel walls.  He could see the ribbed tunnel that bore its way through to who knew where.  Murphy turned his head to check on Samuel as they ran on.  


And then a shot rang out.  


They slid in the muck and Samuel felt whatever sludge they were in splash up against his chest and face.  The bullet struck the metallic siding and the footsteps sped away.  The sound grew very faint very quickly, but the light was growing increasingly intense.  The tunnel began a long straight run and they could barely make out Larkin’s shadow as he made for the tunnel exit.  


And then they began to pour into the tunnel.  It was Murphy who noticed their sound first.  “Samuel! They’re coming from behind!”  He knelt in the muck and cocked the shotgun.  


Samuel stopped, his heart was pounding.  He said, “not here! We don’t stand a chance man!”


Murphy nodded and gathered his gear.  They made for the tunnel exit.  Larkin had left the tunnel or had gotten so far ahead he blurred in with the light.  The distance seemed to extend the farther they ran.  Murphy jostled the shotgun in his nervous hands and turned his head again.  He couldn’t see them, the tunnel behind reminded him of lonely nights at see, staring off into the endless ocean, into endless, encompassing darkness.  A sudden sense of fear overcame him and he picked up his pace.  Samuel cold sense his agitation and reached his hand out to Murphy in response.  


Murphy’s shoulders were bouncing as he ran, but Samuel caught his arm.  They did not make eye contact, but Samuel could feel Murphy’s stress level drop.  The sound behind was growing closer, but they continued on their pace.  They still could not hear the screaming or the howling.  


The tunnel was coming to its end and they were almost out of breath.  Running with everything they had, they dove from the tunnel and landed in the dying grass of Central Park.  They stopped and tried to make heads or tails of the shanty town erected there.  Where had Larkin gone, and why would the tunnel lead here?


Murphy snapped into action and took a position at the entrance of the tunnel.  The mid afternoon sun was shading the tunnel and preventing visibility too far inward.  Murphy took a shot, a roaring boom that shook Samuel’s chest.  Murphy was screaming.  


Sound warped back into Samuel’s ears, an ominous jolt to consciousness that forced his hands around Murphy’s neck and threw the man to a standing position.  He said, “I’m not going to make my last stand here.  We can lose them in the town.  We just have to be quick about it.  I’ll take the point, you just follow my lead.”  


Murphy nodded.  


Samuel proceeded further into the shanty town and hugged the walls.  He drew his pistol and held it  steady.  No sign of Larkin.  Murphy was eager, it was like he could sense the heat from the barrel of his shotgun.  The wind cut through the sheet metal and wood braces holding the structures together.  They cut around shacks and through makeshift alleys.  


There was no one around.  


Samuel listened, their own feet scraped against gravel and dirt.  Murphy stopped and crouched low.  Samuel took point against the corner of a shack.  He leaned out and caught a quick view of the shanty street.  He thought he spotted Larkin moving through to another alley or side road.  The afternoon sun left large gashes of shadow, leaving some semblance of the outline of the city skyline against the structures they wove through.              


Samuel left his cover, but a shot hit the wall across the street from him.  Larkin was crouched down the street, Samuel couldn’t see him, butt that didn’t matter.  Now he’d have to move or the hoard would flush them out.  


Samuel too off toward the shot.  Murphy took the flank. 




Samuel took the flank and Murphy ran for the source of the gunshot.

Published on April 1, 2009 at 9:24 PM  Leave a Comment  

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