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Then There Were Three (part 11)

 
Joe Spivey's picture
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All the adults got out of the cars and stood looking around. Although technically still within the city limits this whole area had just been left for decades. It was too damaged and too unstable to even think about rebuilding on and had become a wasteland within the wasteland. Joe bent down, hands on knees, to whisper to Onetooth.

“There’s nothing here.”

Onetooth looked at Joe like he was an imbecile.

“Yes there is. Foller me.”

Onetooth bounced off through the long grass, followed almost immediately by Finny and Casper. Joe watched them, still bent over with a dubious expression on his face as he watched the three kids skipping through the grass like they were some kind of cheesy advert. If that little bugger was winding us up, Joe thought, uncharitably… Then the three heads disappeared.

Joe straightened up.

“Where the fuck?”

He took off after them, automatically freeing his sawn-off shotgun from its hiding place under the brown duster. Behind him, raised voices began calling after him. But Joe wasn’t about to look anywhere other than where he had last seen Finny’s braids bouncing up and down like Medusa’s snakes looking for a victim.

Which was a good job, otherwise he would have missed where the ground suddenly dropped off into a deep depression. Joe stopped and found himself standing on the unnaturally straight edge of a long cut in the landscape. The gully was about five metres wide and, on the other side, the three members of his reading group were bent over or kneeling down and looking at something in the far wall, or bank, or whatever it was under the grass. The rest of the adults joined him along the edge.

Onetooth turned around and pointed down the gully.

“There’s some steps over there.” He called, helpfully.

Faced with a two metre drop, the two doctors, the tech, Joe and the goons all turned at the same moment and walked the few metres to where overgrown steps led down to the bottom of the gully. When they at last joined the youngsters, they could see what was claiming their attention.

It was a hole. A square hole, like a window or air conditioner would leave.

“What’s inside?” Dr. Ducas asked Onetooth.

The eight-year-old shrugged.

“Dunno. I never been in.”

“But I thought you said that you and, what was his name again? I thought you said that you played there?”

“Nuhuh. I never said that.” He pointed at Tukiko. “She did.”

Doctor Troy looked embarrassed.

“I… just assumed. Two boys, would play together.”

Dr. Ducas was not happy. He frowned at Onetooth.

“So, if you’ve never been inside, what on earth makes you think this is the place where your friend got sick?”

Onetooth looked from one unsmiling adult face to the others. None of them looked happy. What was wrong with grown-ups?

“Because he wouldn’t let me in.”

The explanation didn’t seem to change the mood of the grown-ups.

Finny chimed in, ‘getting it’ at once.

“Onetooth an Worms do everything together. If’n Worms wun’t let him go in then it was because he didn’t want him to know stuff inside. An’ Worms knows that we think him playing with dead things is weird, so that hasta be why.”

The grown ups tried to get their heads around this. Then the pathology technician pointed out the obvious.

“Anyway. The hole is too small for us to climb through. The kids could go, though, and then…”

Tukiko and Joe voiced their aversion to this straight away.

“No!”

“No bloody way.”

Dr. Ducas was more reluctant to let go of the path tech’s idea.

“It makes sense. If we send the children in, they can report back whatever is inside…”

The children listened to the to and fro of the conversation. None of them were averse to sliding through the hole into whatever was inside. It sounded like an adventure. But Joe and Missus Doctor seemed to be winning the argument. Onetooth held up his hand, like he was back in class.

“Please Joe? There’s a door.”

All heads turned to look at him. Dr. Ducas voiced his exasperation.

“Then why didn’t you…”

Finny butted in.

“Because you didn’t ask!” She wasn’t having one of her gang shouted at when it wasn’t his fault.

Onetooth pushed his way through the crowd.

“C’mon. Foller me. I’ll show you.”

He led them back the way they had come, past the steps, and to what had probably been a corner of the building but was now just a grove of tangled elder bushes. By flattening himself against the wall, Onetooth wormed his way past the bush and seemed to disappear like before. Everyone turned to look at Joe.

Rolling his eyes and muttering, Joe followed Onetooth’s example, pulling his duster tight to his body to prevent it snagging against the branches of the bush. He too disappeared. A few seconds later, his head poked back through the foliage.

“It’s tight, but there’s a doorway here alright. Get your goons to start clearing this bush.” He grinned at the Path tech. “You come with me son, we’ll see if we can’t find some muscles somewhere under that lab coat.”

It took about half an hour. When the bush was cleared back sufficiently to reveal the door, everyone gathered round.

“Right,” said Joe, wiping the sweat and grime off his face with the sleeve of his duster. “Gawd alone knows how, but it looks like the little bugger managed to push this open enough for him to squeeze through. There’s a long passage inside, disappears off to a little patch of light where I guess that hole is.”

Everyone looked towards where the door, which stood open by about a foot, maybe less.

Dr. Ducas raised an eyebrow.

“Well it looks like even your combined strength, considerable though I’m sure, were not up to the task of improving on the efforts of one little boy.”

Tuki had to turn away and bite down on her hand to stop the laughter from Joe’s discomfort at the Union doctor’s criticism.

Joe’s face twitched and Dr, Ducas was blissfully unaware of how close he came to being his own patient.

“Yes, well. Obviously, he couldn’t get it open any further either.” As soon as he said it, Joe realised how bad that sounded. His temper rose. “Just get your bloody goons around it and get the effing thing open!”

Comments

Canni Belle's picture

((Best part of my day))

One minute your calm, the next your shooting someone in the face, then your doing your chickendance. If that is not chaos I dont know what is - Aiid

Joe Spivey's picture

Awwww ty. I shall try not to dissapoint :)

Stick with me kid and you'll be farting through silk.



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