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Chapter 9: Tunnel

by Miraculor77


Ashe's POV

Kyre holds my gaze for a beat longer, then closes his eyes, nodding. "Alright." He pulls his hands from my grasp and opens his eyes again. "Go get your hoodie. It should be dry by now."

Pushing up his sleeve, Kyre swipes and taps at what appears to be a smartwatch. A thin layer of light projects from it, and I see telltale little icons of clouds, rain, wind, snow, and sun. He's pulling up a weather forecast.

I scan through the holographic boxes until I find one with today's date and the current time. The rain and wind icons glow softly, the temperature below it reading 42 degrees Fahrenheit. I shiver involuntarily.

Kyre double-taps the screen, causing the light to quickly fade away. He pulls his sleeve over the device, holding his wrist almost protectively.

"I'll be at the front door in five, do what you need to get ready." He pushes off of the counter and disappears somewhere into the house, leaving me alone in the kitchen. I rub my arms—suddenly the house feels much colder—to keep warmth, and glance through the square window above the sink.

The sky outside is pitch black, with faraway pinpricks of light glowing faintly.

*-*-*

I pick up my hoodie from in front of the fireplace, examining it with my hands. It's dry, so I shrug it on over the black shirt that I am wearing, enjoying the feeling of the long sleeves covering my arms. Its warmth seeps through me and I breathe deeply, savoring it.

I then look through my backpack, emptying its contents onto the floor for the second time—the first had involved spoiled food packets. Digging through it, I find what I need: a pair of leggings that I can wear under the shorts. I'd learned that layers really kept in heat during my second year underground; I'd wrapped blanket upon blanket around me to conserve heat. Unlike some of the other underground spaces, I didn't live near a geothermal heat source.

I hurry to the bathroom—it's not that far from here—and pull on the leggings. I tie the shorts over the leggings as an extra layer. My clothes are still a little damp in places, so after a little hunting, I find a hairdryer. Pressing the button, I hover the device over the damp spots, drying them almost instantly.

I hastily place it back, then run down the hallways, make a wrong turn, backtrack, then finally find the front door. Kyre is waiting there, tapping his boot rhythmically against the floor. His hands are covered with black fingerless gloves. When he sees me, he gives me a pair too. I slide them over my hands, feeling their warmth.

Kyre pulls the door open, and I slide on my flats before following him outside. Immediately, the cold envelopes me. A brisk wind pulls loose strands of hair out of my braid, and I pull my hood over my head. Far away, the wind shrieks, the high whistling sounds piercing my ears. Kyre pulls out a portable lightball, and the sharp white light sets the ground before me aglow.

Kyre sets off in front of me, his limp becoming more apparent in the cold. I nevertheless walk quickly to keep up with his long strides. The wind blows his hair, but he doesn't put his hood up. The tips of his ears are turning red, and the earring reflects light from the lightball.

Suddenly, he stops short. I nearly plow into him, but then regain my balance. In front of him is the wrangled, destroyed tree. I look around expectantly for the store—it was nearby before—but I only see a brick wall. There appears to be graffiti on it, but it's too dim to read.

Kyre's hand trembles as we approach the wall, the light shaking side to side. He spares a glance in my direction, then, taking a deep breath, he pulls off his glove and places his bare palm to the stone.

The stone illuminates just as the lightball fizzles out; it must have run out of power. The outline of a door glows in front of us, and Kyre taps his watch three times before holding it up to the door. It glows a bright white, then a series of numbers and letters appear. His deft fingers dance over them, performing a series of strokes so fast they blur before my eyes, then he reaches out and hooks an arm around my waist, pulling me up close to him.

I try to shift away, confused, but his grip tightens, his chin brushing the top of my head.

Then the ground falls.

And I fall with it.

*-*-*

Kyre's POV

The familiar darkness surrounds me and we fall to the ground. I let her go as soon as my feet hit the floor, pulling on my glove again. Reaching out a shaking hand, I feel for a wall, sighing with relief as I find it. Ashe's footsteps echo beside mine.

I focus on breathing deeply, trying hard not to faint. No matter how wide I open my eyes, I can't see anything.

Absolutely nothing.

The musty smell chokes me, and I force myself to breathe through my mouth. My breath comes out in ragged gasps. I steady myself on the wall, my hand finding something powdery on the damp stone. Images flash through my mind, a metal claw, a robotic voice, the all-encompassing cover of darkness. A whizzing bullet.

And pain. So much pain.

I shut my eyes tightly, trying to wipe the images from my mind. Breath in. Hold. Breathe out. With my other hand, I wipe a cold trickle of sweat from my forehead. It is quiet in the tunnel, and I can hear my breathing.

And then I realize: I can only hear my breathing.

I can't hear Ashe.


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Mon Jul 06, 2020 7:29 am
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HarryHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

And we have done two fifths of this.

First Impression: Well what do we have here? An actual cliffhanger. And we go back to the store I guess. This is moving a tad bit slow possibly due to the short chapters.

Anyway let's get to it,

Kyre holds my gaze for a beat longer, then closes his eyes, nodding. "Alright." He pulls his hands from my grasp and opens his eyes again. "Go get your hoodie. It should be dry by now."


That dried pretty fast.

"I'll be at the front door in five, do what you need to get ready." He pushes off of the counter and disappears somewhere into the house, leaving me alone in the kitchen. I rub my arms—suddenly the house feels much colder—to keep warmth, and glance through the square window above the sink.


I don't see how they can just walk out without telling Boss. Especially Ashe who is a guest in the house that just showed up minutes or maximum an hour ago.

My clothes are still a little damp in places, so after a little hunting, I find a hairdryer. Pressing the button, I hover the device over the damp spots, drying them almost instantly.


If it dries so quickly with the use of the hair dryer why didn't she try to use one of those earlier to get her clothes dried straightaway.

Kyre pulls the door open, and I slide on my flats before following him outside. Immediately, the cold envelopes me. A brisk wind pulls loose strands of hair out of my braid, and I pull my hood over my head. Far away, the wind shrieks, the high whistling sounds piercing my ears. Kyre pulls out a portable lightball, and the sharp white light sets the ground before me aglow.


Wait why didn't he use this in that earlier scene in the dark tunnel?

The stone illuminates just as the lightball fizzles out; it must have run out of power. The outline of a door glows in front of us, and Kyre taps his watch three times before holding it up to the door. It glows a bright white, then a series of numbers and letters appear. His deft fingers dance over them, performing a series of strokes so fast they blur before my eyes, then he reaches out and hooks an arm around my waist, pulling me up close to him.


Very conveniently extinguishing lightball right there. It has a great sense of dramatic timing.

I focus on breathing deeply, trying hard not to faint. No matter how wide I open my eyes, I can't see anything.

Absolutely nothing.

The musty smell chokes me, and I force myself to breathe through my mouth. My breath comes out in ragged gasps. I steady myself on the wall, my hand finding something powdery on the damp stone. Images flash through my mind, a metal claw, a robotic voice, the all-encompassing cover of darkness. A whizzing bullet.

And pain. So much pain.


Now that we know about this nyctophobia this part makes much more sense and the emotions brought on by this phobia are conveyed really well.

I can't hear Ashe.


[Insert Dramatic Music]

And that's it for this one.

Overall: Not much happened in this chapter. Felt a bit too much like a filler chapter with them just putting on clothes and starting their trip. But it is still pretty well written.

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Harry




Miraculor77 says...


A chapter with the sole purpose of building suspense, yeah? There was a lot I found helpful in your review; thanks for that. :D



HarryHardy says...


Your Welcome!! Glad I could be helpful!!



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Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:26 am
Asith wrote a review...



This is excellently written! I really love the style you've gone for, especially with how you describe the environments and atmosphere while sticking within the character's point of view. The tension you've managed to build up throughout the extract -- even where nothing particularly exciting is technically happening -- is masterful. I also love the constant sense of motion you have in your narration, whether intentional or not :p

I wonder, perhaps, if you should consider stretching out the latter part of this extract to make it as weighty as the first half? I was originally going to suggest pruning the first half for brevity, but I actually enjoyed reading the fist half so much that I'm not sure it should be cut. In any case, I just thought the build-up took too long to read compared to the tension in the climax. However, I also feel like the final section in Kyre's point of view makes up for it, so perhaps you should use your own discretion about this. It's indefinitely not a massive issue.

Your story has been written with prowess :)




Miraculor77 says...


Thanks for the review! I did feel that the second part was a bit short, but I wasn't sure if I should continue it because I couldn't find a good part to end on. I might go back to add to it, but I'm not sure.



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Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:43 pm
Zrillis says...



I have not read the rest of the chapters, so all I am Reviewing is this part alone.

To start off Im not a fan of this tense. I just mever have been. I find it distracting and hard to follow. That being said, you do it well, Im not sold on it (as I have stated I have not read the rest,) but I do enjoy your writing in this tense

Ok onto the review
Your writing seems solid and you know where your going with your plot. To me its a bit dull and drawn out, but that may because I havent read the rest. This story isn't for me but you are doing a great job with your plot and execution




Miraculor77 says...


This is a repeated comment, so can someone delete it?
@Zrillis, thanks for the review. :D



Zrillis says...


Sorry phone glitched and not sure how to delete



Miraculor77 says...


I know, but I made a repeated comment and someone, (maybe an admin?) deleted it for me.
I don't think it is possible to delete comments by yourself.



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21 Reviews


Points: 19
Reviews: 21

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Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:43 pm
Zrillis wrote a review...



I have not read the rest of the chapters, so all I am Reviewing is this part alone.

To start off Im not a fan of this tense. I just mever have been. I find it distracting and hard to follow. That being said, you do it well, Im not sold on it (as I have stated I have not read the rest,) but I do enjoy your writing in this tense

Ok onto the review
Your writing seems solid and you know where your going with your plot. To me its a bit dull and drawn out, but that may because I havent read the rest. This story isn't for me but you are doing a great job with your plot and execution





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