Thursday, June 16, 2011

Excerpt 2 from TUNNELS


As I followed the others I noted that they were veering off in three separate directions. A pair of old guys were heading left followed by several middle-aged women, all plump. The center trail accepted hip young things, male and female. I felt inclined to keep to the right, following the children and three adults, smartly dressed.

One last look behind and I knew I had just made it out of there in time. The spotlights were scanning everywhere. I turned and fell. Straight. Straight down. Straight down a slippery tube.

If I wasn’t so scared I would have laughed and enjoyed the ride. It lasted a full minute – sixty microwaved seconds – as I felt hotter and hotter. The sliding slowed as the tunnel evened out. I had to crawl out the last three feet.

“Simmons, over here,” someone whispered. Who could know my name?

“We’ve got a hard case here,” she said, an ageless woman, maybe thirty-five, maybe sixty. Her nametag said ‘Jackson’ and I glanced down at my own chest to see that I, too, was labeled.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I couldn’t think of a clearer way to put it.

“Oh, yeah, yeah, the memory thing. That’ll pass. Just follow me for now,” she said. “It’s almost midnight, we don’t want to be late.”

The sky was black. Suddenly there was a boom of thunder and lightning and the rain poured down in sheets. Jackson led me to a high, rocky bluff and we crouched down and looked over. The straight river below held a steamboat trapped on a rock. With every flash our eyes registered the progress of a small raft that was heading directly toward the boat.

“That’s Jim!” I shouted to Jackson. I wondered how I knew that. Who was Jim?

“Of course,” she answered. “And we’re here to save him and the little guy with him.”

copyright 2011 by Debra Chapoton