“Lions and tigers and bears?” Griff asks, stepping into the newly created opening.
I grab Griff’s hand tightly. “Oh my.” I exhale slowly.
“That’s my girl,” he laughs. “Come on, gents.” He gestures to Noll and Tenney. “Let’s get a move on.”
We step into the dark tunnel and lights shoot on down the path, creating an eerie hum in the air.
“Electricity?” I ask.
“Hey, if there can be robots and secret passages which open by act of necklace, why can’t there be power?”
“What sort of magic is this?” Tenney asks, putting his hand near one of the closest lamps. “This fire does not even appear hot.”
“Looks like an LED bulb,” I reply. “Can run for a while before it gets really hot.”
“Fire which is not hot reeks of witchcraft,” he says, taking a slow step back into the room we had just left. “And that sound, is that the sound of demons?”
“Just electricity,” I answer.
“I know not that demon’s name, but I care not for his actions.”
“He’s got a point,” Griff replies. “Even if it’s not witchcraft, it’s pretty creepy.”
The entryway makes a loud beeping sound before closing tight behind us. A look of panic crosses Tenney’s face. I look over to Noll who seems completely unfazed by the events unfolding around us.
“What do yous fink waits on da ovver end?” Noll asks in awe.
“No clue,” I answer.
“Only way to find out is to keep walking,” Griff says just as another beeping sounds through the air. A whirring begins below our feet, creating a moderate amount of vibration before the ground moves forward, pushing us deeper into the cavern.
“What is this new evil?” Tenney screams.
“Relax, pal,” Griff smiles. “Looks like someone installed a moving walkway for this crazy tunnel into the castle.”
“I’m beginning to question whether or not this is actually going to the castle,” I add.
“Of course it is,” Noll joins in. “Where else would it go?”
“Your guess is as good as mine, but that castle is separated from us by a deep chasm. We’d have to be going a lot deeper before we get there.”
“I think you’re getting your wish on that,” Griff says. “We’re definitely heading down.”
The walk way drops off up ahead. Anxiety builds up inside me until I see the walkway becomes an escalator, reaching deep down under the earth. Wherever we’re going, it’s built with anachronistic beauty. The walls are lined with LED displays declaring in a series of different languages how we should continue to hold onto the hand rails. I see maps on the wall every ten feet or so, but they go past too fast for me to determine what is actually contained on them.
Then, starting off in the distance, but getting louder, I catch the sound of something I never thought I’d hear while hanging out in the Middle Ages. Elevator Music. An acoustic guitar, saxophone, and piano echo through the dank cavern as it slowly begins to look an awful lot like an airport terminal.
The brown stone walls give way to white tiles. The LED displays turn to LCD screens showing images of locations all across space and time. London 2012, touting the Olympics as a great tourist destination, New York 1964 for the World’s Fair, Mars 3246 for the Miss Universe pageant, Germany 1014 for the coronation of Henry of Bavaria, and the list continues as we go deeper and deeper down into the earth.
“What is dis place?” Noll asks.
“You’ve got me,” I answer.
“Oooh,” Griff shouts as another screen passes us by, “the end of time! Can we go there, Chelle?”
“I have no clue, Griff.”
I look back at Tenney, who is holding onto the handrails for dear life. His eyes are closed tightly as he cowers in fear.
“You alright there, Tenney?”
“Is it done yet?”
“Doesn’t look like it,” Griff laughs. “Although, I think I see the escalator taper off back to a walkway down a few feet yet.”
He’s right, within a couple moments, the steps fold back into the ground and we are pulled forward by moving walkway once again.
“The maintenance on this walk has got to be atrocious,” Griff says as we continue forward. “It seems to go on for forever.”
“Maybe they don’t have much for maintenance needs in the future,” I offer.
“I thought we weren’t in the future.”
“I have no idea where we are,” I say fearfully.
Go to Chapter Forty-Six