X – Lambs To The Slaughter

The only thing I could think of to say was !@#@$#^!

Which was better left untranslated.

Along with the vanished door went our only means of retreat. And so, the order of the moment was “forward”. Question was ‘to where’. Our scouts had yet to return and the rest of us needed to get organised and move out.

The tunnel we were in was wide enough for a column of fifteen abreast, and the ceiling was at least fifty feet high which, thankfully, gave us room to manuever. Quickly forming up in order of march, we started off on our little adventure into the great unknown. I found myself wondering if the argonaut Jason or Ulysses of Ithica had ever faced a situation like the one we were in.

As for the tunnel, we had brought torchs to light our way. Totally unecessary. The walls were faintly lit by some strange plant life, which gave our path a twilight glow. Just the same, I couldn’t shake the feeling we were being led to the slaughter. The floor of our tunnel also had a suspicious look to it as it was totally smooth and level, unlike the dirt trails I was used to. There was also a thin mist in the air. Annoying but only a small inconvenience to be ignored.

Anyway, I hoped that was the case.

As we marched deeper into that tunnel, all my hopes that this would be a quick adventure faded into fantasy land. The feeling was reenforced when we caught up with our delinquent scouts and discovered why they had not returned. They were clustered around a large lump of something huddled on the ground.

Closer inspection revealed the lump’s identity. It was a smelly. A dead, mangled, and torn apart smelly, to be exact. A scout spoke up even before I had a chance to ask.

“Boss . . . seems someone got here before us. Looks like whatever it was had a quick snack, then took off.”

I nodded my head while thinking that the last thing we needed was something nastier than a smelly. My day was not going well at all. Our physician looked over the dead wreckage from top to bottom, then delivered his opinion.

“This guy was, quite literally, ripped apart. Dissected is more like it. The limbs and head were removed from the torso with surgical precision. Whatever, or whoever, our attacker was is far more dangerous than the guy we were originally chasing.”

My response was unoriginal and predictable.

“Y’ think? Just what we don’t need. A smelly killer with brains! All right everyone . . . Form back up and let’s get outta here!”

Little did I realise that that order would be the last routine one I’d be giving for some time to come.

Chapter XI

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Published in: on May 16, 2010 at 2:45 PM  Comments (1)  
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