That place stunk like nothing I have ever smelled before, and believe me some monsters smell terrible. I was starting to think that maybe I should have gotten a mask just like Roy but I would never admit that to him. I would die before I ever let him think that he had won.
There were at least five dead rats that I could see within the first 20 feet and they were all floating in a mix of a whole lot of nasty things. Yes, sewage. We were in a sewer so it was sewage. I had a little more respect for the people that had to work in sewers or anyone who cleans portable toilets. That takes a strong stomach.
We started to trek through the underground tunnel, searching for any clues that might lead us to the mantis.
“I can still smell this place even through the mask,” Roy complained.
“You have no idea,” I said.
“Wishing you had a mask?”
“Nope. I’m not a little baby. I can handle it.”
“You don’t hear me complaining about it, and I’m not wearing a mask.”
“Whatever. Call me when you hit puberty.”
We eventually came to a four-way intersection. I looked back and forth a bunch of times, trying to decide which was the best way to go.
“What do you think?” he asked me.
“I don’t know,” I admitted.
There was a hissing noise off to the right.
“You hear that?” I said.
“Yeah,” he said. “It came from that way.” He pointed to the left.
“No, it came from that way.” I pointed to the right.
“That’s just the echo. Trust me.”
There was another hissing sound, and I started to think that he was right. I wasn’t afraid to admit it that time because we needed to find this thing.
“Okay,” I started, “maybe you’re right.”
We started walking down the tunnel to the left with our weapons ready. These things were quick, nasty creatures that were out for nothing but blood, just like every other monster on this planet.
We were a little ways down the tunnel and we still hadn’t found the mantis.
“Just remember that these things will usually leave a trail of body parts,” I pointed out.
“I know that,” Roy retorted. “That’s only if the kill is fresh.”
“Not always. Sometimes after they eat they might sleep for a day or two, maybe even three.”
“Let’s just hope we’re that lucky.”
“Scared?” I was hoping for the same thing but I needed to give him crap.
“No. It’ll just be easier.”
We both jumped and turned to the right. There was a short tunnel that looked like it wrapped around to the left.
“I don’t think we’re that lucky,” I said.
I headed towards the tunnel with Roy right on my heels. I slowed down for a moment and he stepped on my heel. I almost turned around and chopped off his head but I quickly thought better of it.
“You’re the one who slowed down,” he whispered.
“Pay attention,” I said back.
I started down the tunnel again. When we rounded the corner we found what was making the sound, and it was not what I was expecting to find…