Dorothy and the Creature

“Mary,” she calls out only to hear her own voice as a response.

Dorothy leans over the opening and sees nothing but a series of ladder rungs leading into a solid black void. If Michael was down there; there’d be no way to tell form up here. In the muck close to the edge she finds the flash light Mary was using earlier. Dorothy takes it and puts it between her belt and the waistband of her jeans. She sits the edge of the wall and slowly lowers herself onto the rungs of the ladder. When she is able she grasps the cold metal and begins her decent into the sewer. Years of buildup of slime and grime make her feet slide on nearly every rung. When she is half way down she hooks her arm through one of the rung and pulls out the light and begins shining it into the murky waters below. From where she is all she can see are some old toys, bottles and trash. No sign of Mary. She follows the ladder down to the floor. Once down she shines the light and gets a better view of her surroundings. ‘So this is a sewer’ she thinks as she views the red brick walls that are blackened from the same ooze that covered the walls of the entrance. She follows the light roughly fifty feet above her head to an arch way that stretches over a six foot wide river of the tar. A few feet to her left is a grated metal bridge that connects both walkways. Twenty feet ahead of her is a metal grate that blocks a runoff.

“MARY,” she yells. “Mary, Can you hear me?”

“There is no Mary here,” a whisper from the dark informs her.

“Whose there?” the girl says in a demanding voice, though the undertone of fright is evident. She shines the light around where she thought the voice came from revealing nothing. Finally she turns and heads back to the ladder. She wedges the small light back into the belt and turns to climb the ladder, her quivering hand struggling to grip the rung. As she begins her climb she focuses on the small circle of white above her. As she nears the final set she hears the grinding of metal the white beacon disappears like a lunar eclipse in the night. She picks up her pace- each grasp a challenge to hold with her tired hands. When Dorothy reaches the top the door is firmly closed and no amount of pulling is able to budge it. She thinks to herself, knowing inside that it was just a dream. After a minute of hanging onto the ladder she climbs back down to the small brick walk. Knowing the one was blocked by the grate she walks further down the tunnel, her light frightening rats and other vermin.

“I know you, child.” The whispering voice says again, this time against her left ear. When she shines her light all she finds is a white spider egg sack pulsing with the babies inside. She quickly jerks her body back, catching herself before falling into the river of sludge.

“Better watch yourself, girl. You don’t want to hurl yourself,” the voice comes from above. ‘Impossible’ she thinks.

“Whose there?” she demands. ‘Please show yourself?” She waits in the silence; the only sound is the sound of running water and pit pat of rat’s feet. The creature leans into Dorothy’s face, its hot breathe fumes from its nostrils; its faces texture reminded Dorothy of her hands after a long bath. “What the hell are you?”

“What am I? I must say the same toward you dear. But first, since you asked so ladylike, I shall present myself.” The creature pulls itself back and begins lowering itself from the ceiling- it’s Longley, spiderlike legs balancing itself between the brick walls of the sewer. The creature’s front slams into the water- its heavy ape-like paws grab the sides of the runoff, lifting its almost human torso from the wet. It pulls its bottom half underneath itself and finally rests into a crouch position. Its snakelike neck lowers his head toward its lap and he looks at the young child. With its left hand he lifts the girl’s hand and gently kisses it.

“Dear, my name is Jackelope White-Eye; master of these halls under Cape Falls. I am pleased to make your acquaintance.” It smiles a mouth full of overgrown yellow teeth. The girl quickly pulls her hand back and wipes it on the cloth of her shirt. She begins to think of ways to escape.

“You didn’t answer my question, Mr. White-eye. Not once in all that jumble of grossness have you even said what you are.”

“Why I felt we went on over. I am Jackelope White-Eye. That is all, no more no less. What you see is all I be. There is no more to show, at least that I know.”

“What’s with the rhyming?”

“The rhyme? Does it bother the other? Last time I was alive it twasn’t a crime to rhyme? Has that changed?”

“Well, no- I suppose it hasn’t. I need to know something. Where is Mary?” She could go on but is stopped when White-eye raises a hand.

“Now is not the time, Dorothy. We must get you from here. This dirt trap is no place for a young child such as you. Follow me,” the voice commands. Thinking of no better option she follows the sounds of the tapping on the wall. After walking for what felt like an hour but in reality was five minutes Emma finds herself in a large open room- the bricks of the halls now replaced by beautiful ceramic tiles reminding her of the Septa subway terminal she and Mom met Michael one day. Around the room were seven arched doorways that had long ago been seemingly bricked up. Emma was taken aback by the sight. Never in all her life had she ever thought something like this could ever exist under her little town.

“Dorothy, do you wish to leave this place? To see a land that is wholly different than your own.”

“I do.”

“Then, Dorothy of Cape Falls, you may proceed,” it says as he lets out a low grunt before raising its head so quick it bangs it on the brick ceiling. Dorothy jumps back and begins to run when the large hands of the creature grab her by the legs and pulls her back; making her face and head go into the water.

White-Eye grabs the girl in one of his mitts and flings her body into the wall where the adhesive goo holds her like a fly in a spider’s web. White-Eye turns his attention back to Dorothy, her arms still flailing in the water. This is the last thing she feels before the black.

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