Going Deeper Underground

031711

  The warehouse was empty.

  “How is this possible?” The rook said, dumbfounded as he looked around in the dim light of the dying afternoon. Stray rays filtered in through the high windows, illuminating the eternal fall of dust to ground. The place looked like any conspicuous warehouse, boxes and forklifts and shelving units and a lone, softened spoon sitting on a table that could have been either paraphernalia or the work of idle hands.

  “Beats me, buddy,” The rook called over from the other side of the building, checking for a back door he knew wouldn’t be there but couldn’t believe didn’t exist regardless. The place had been packed with goons and – of course – the ringleader himself, Alphonse, this morning. There had been no doubt of it. And there had been zero activity since. The rook may have busied himself with the morning’s paper he’d confiscated from the courier in the early hours, or the coffee and donuts he’d brought back from his ‘break’, or the snake-clone he’d played for an hour on his mobile phone, but the vet, no, he’d been perfectly statuesque. Never wavering on that door. No one had left, yet here they were, standing in an empty room.

  “You don’t think,” the rook suddenly said, on edge, pointing to the various boxes that littered the room.

  “No, I don’t,” the vet replied, rolling his eyes. Criminals didn’t have the patience to wait in cramped crates ready to pop out like a hooker from a cake, or a mafioso with a tommy-gun, for that matter. No, they were impatient, dumb, and no way near that quiet. Still, the vet kicked one of them for good measure. It toppled over weightlessly, it’s beans of polyester pouring across the floor and falling through the grate in the centre of the room.

  The grate in the centre of the room.

  “Kid,” the vet said suddenly, holstering his gun and approaching the small grill they hadn’t noticed before. He crouched down next to it in disbelief, running his fingers along its edge. There was a small padlock on the other side; it had been locked from beneath.

  “There’s no tracks below us, right?” he asked absently, already confirming in his head that there indeed weren’t. The burbs were too far out from the city’s centre to be graced with a subway. This could only lead to one thing.

  “No way,” said the rook, backing up slightly, catching on to the vet’s train of thought with surprising speed,  “there’s no way I’m going to pooptown.”

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~ by Joseph Blame on March 17, 2011.

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