The tunnel was old, in fact is was so old that the bricks felt like sponge underneath Kelly’s touch. Decades of exposure to moisture had seeped through the bricks and rotted them through. The water lapped at their knees and if it the tunnels hadn’t been so narrow the current would have easily washed them away. Their progress was slow but morale picked up when Kent announced that he could get a clear signal from Suvarin’s phone.
“Just up this way, Kelly!” exclaimed Kent.
Kelly’s legs were going numb as the water sucked the warmth out of them. The air was stale, thick with enough moisture that it was becoming difficult to breathe. Kelly started to wonder if maybe there wasn’t enough oxygen this far underground and if she might faint? Kelly had started out this adventure believing it to be fun, but the rising waters were filling her heart with fear now. At last the tunnel opened up into a large rectangle concrete tunnel with a trough running down the middle.
“According to the tracker, she’s located just down this tunnel.”
“Kent, is the water going to get much higher?”
Kent frowned, “I believe it will get so high it will eventually just wash us away no matter what we do.”
“And we will drown then?”
“The problem isn’t drowning so much was breaking bones bouncing off the walls on the way out. Once your legs are broken you drown pretty fast.”
“Shit!” cursed Kelly unexpectedly. Kent looked at her face, all trace of colour had drained from it and her red hair was a tangled mess splattered all over her neck and shoulders. She looked ill, but most striking of all was the looking of terror and helplessness that was contrary to every encounter he had had with Kelly so far.
“We will head out soon, she’s just over here,” he said pointed immediately in front of the pair.
Kent stopped and moved is phone from side to side. Then looked all around but couldn’t see any sign of Suvarin. Kent told Kelly to turn off her torch, then he turned off his own. Kelly was caught unprepared for the darkness that engulfed her. Everywhere around her was the thundering rush of water, but she couldn’t even see her hand in front of her face. She had thought night time was dark, but she had never experienced darkness like this before. Suddenly, what appeared to be a blazing ball of white light burst out of the rushing water. In panic she turned her torch back on. There was Kent standing in the water with two phones in his hands: one was his, and the other was Suvarin’s.
“She must have dropped her phone! That means she’s probably collapsed somewhere upstream!”
Kent took to running back the way they had come. Kelly turned and ran frantically after him; her mind questioning Kent’s reasoning, surely Suvarin could have just as easily been washed away? Soon they passed the tunnel they come through earlier and kept running. Kelly stumbled but managed to keep moving forward. The tunnel ended into a large blue stone room with irregularly shaped surfaces on all sides. Kent slowed slipped over without warning. Kelly managed to reach out and pull him back before he fell down into a pit.
“HELP!” cried a strained voice from the pit.
Kent and Kelly crawled to the edge of the pit and looked in. There was Suvarin down the pit with the water level up to her neck. She had one hand poking up out of the water clutching an ice box, holding above her head towards Kent.
“Quickly, take the box, it has the blood in it!” Suvarin managed to gasp as the water was just beginning to overwhelm her.
Kent reached in and took the ice box from her. Suvarin gestured with a thumbs up just as the water level rose and covered her face. Kent quickly took the rope from Kelly and started tying it to a large blue stone that had fallen out of the wall sometime in the past.
“Kelly, I am going to need you to help me pull her out, do you think you can manage that?”
Kelly nodded and uttered, “of course!”
Kent tied the other end of the rope around himself and with the aid of Kelly climbed down into the pit. Suvarin’s face was just a white shadow underneath the surface of the water now. Kent tried to lift her but her left leg was stuck to something underneath the water. Diving down he felt about her foot and discovered a large piece of metal clamped around the foot, holding her in place. He touched her body but it had already gone limp and was lightly bobbing in the water. Taking another breath he dived down placed the heel of his boot over her left shin and kicked. Nothing happened so he kicked again, he felt her leg move a little. He kicked a third time as hard as he could and her foot popped out of the tangle of metal.
He untied the rope from his waist and put it around her limp body. Kelly pulled and Kent pushed and together they managed to drag Suvarin up out of the pit. Kent managed to scramble out, with Kelly’s help too. He took the limp body of Suvarin and checked for a pulse and when he found that her heart was still beating he turned her onto her side and put pressure on her ribs. Kelly squealed with horror as water poured out of Suvarin’s mouth. The slope of the ground was perfect for helping the water to flow out from her lungs. Another push on her ribs, more water came out, and then she gasped. Violent coughing and shaking reverberated through her body. She started flailing her arms, and finding the ground pushed herself up and vomited more water out.
“Suvarin, I know you’re weak, but we don’t have much time, we need to get out before the rain gets heavy,” Kent said loudly over the roar of the water.
Suvarin nodded and tried to put weight on her leg but immediately cried out in pain. Realising that he had hit her leg hard Kent immediately took her arm and put it around his neck and hoisted her up. Kelly took the ice box and the trio started their slow lumbering journey back the way they had come. By the time they arrived back at the flood basin they were more swimming than walking. Kent indicated to the control tower looming over the flood basin.
“We need to head up there. There are supplies and shelter in there for us. Kelly, go ahead and open it up please!”
The rain was pouring down fiercely now, and Kelly had to drag herself out of the now muddy basin and collected the key from its hiding place. Kent managed to carry Suvarin up the staircase into the tower. Kent opened up a locker and pulled out some towels and a blanket.
“Kelly, you dry and clean Suvarin up. I have to go can deliver this blood immediately. I will return as soon as I can.”
Kent was gone.
Kelly was now responsible for taking care of Suvarin. She was still in her hospital scrubs, but they were caked with mud and barely recognisable as such. Kelly struggled to undress her as she was drifting in an out of consciousness. Kelly dried her thoroughly, and helped her to put on some of the spare clothes that were also stored in the tower. Then wrapped her up in a blanket and put some sheets down under her head for a makeshift pillow. Kelly then cleaned herself up as best as she could. She went searching through the various cupboards and lockers inside the tower for more clothing items, most of them were for men and too big for her. She had given up finding something when she decided to examine the large control console on one side of the cabin: it looked like there was a hatch underneath it. Kelly hesitated, thinking that it was absurd to believe there would be any clothes inside the control panel, but she thought why not look anyway?
Inside the hatch she saw immediately that someone had long ago stripped all the components out of it, for now it was full of food and weapons. Knives, axes, machetes, crossbows, and bows were neatly packed inside the control panel, along with chocolate bars, rice, flour, sugar, oats, beans, and other food items. Kelly shivered, Kent knew about this. What was Kent doing with a stockpile of weapons, food, and other supplies? Why was it stashed away in this tower?
Suvarin groaned behind her, Kelly took a couple of chocolate bars, and offered them to her. Suvarin gratefully started eating one of the chocolate bars but started to run out of energy half-way through.
“Thank you Kelly, thank you, sorry, my head hurts so much, I feel so weak. I need to sleep,” she muttered.
“Suvarin,” started Kelly cautiously, “Why are there weapons here?”
Suvarin looked at her confusedly and Kelly wondered if she had heard what she had said, but eventually Suvarin managed to mutter a reply, “It’s a ranger base, they keep their supplies here.”
Suvarin closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep soon afterwards.
Kelly sat and watched her drifting off to sleep wondering who these rangers were and why Suvarin and Kent were helping them to stockpile food and weapons.