The flicker of the lights competed with the sound of dripping water to keep the tunnel unsettled for its occupants. Not many lived or slept there because of the freezing temperature, in spite of being underground. A twenty-year-old girl slept soundlessly within the tunnel walls dreaming of what used to be. The nightmare of her family was the last thing she saw every time she closed her eyes to sleep.
The attention of the people around her turned when she stirred. In a daze, she got up stretching her arms and legs before glaring at the group of males in front of her. "What the hell do you guys want?" She snapped, when no one answered, but continued to stare at her. "If you keep staring at me, I will make you all suffer." It was a threat, but the nonchalant delivery made it seem to be a usual reaction.
One of the men piped up, "Kimberly, may I have a word with you?"
Lowly groaning, she turned to him, "To what do I owe the pleasure of talking to you Thomas?"
"I told you just to call me Tom. Besides, haven't we been in this spot way too long? Isn't it time to move on, already?"
"Geez, don't get your panties in a twist. Can't you let a woman take in her surroundings after she wakes up? God, MEN!" She rubbed her eyes watching him as he retreated meekly back to join the others.
She indifferently stared at the men, not caring that some felt uncomfortable with her gaze. She lacked the sense of what to feel with all the men around her. It had only been a week since they settled in this forsaken place and the men annoyed her ceaselessly. They were protective of her, a stranger they'd just met. She thought, "Was she supposed to feel flattered by that? No, it pissed her off. They treated her as if she was helpless and could not do anything. What made it worse that there were six men breathing down her neck."
With a heavy sigh as she closed her eyes, she called to them, "Come, let's move and find something to eat today. Michael, how is the water supply?"
"We should have enough for another day and a half before we need to gather more, Kim."
Kim nodded in acknowledgement and continued down the infinite straight tunnel that they had been in since they entered it. As they ventured on, their footsteps and breathing were the only sound echoing at them. After what seemed like hours, they stopped near a set of stairs with the tunnel continuing ahead.
Kimberley turned to the men in front of her, "Alright, who will go up the stairs first?"
Thomas glared, " You can’t be serious. We don’t know what is up there. Beside. There is more tunnel to explore."
"Oh shut up why don’t you! Ever since we've been down here, we never had an opportunity to go up. Earlier, all the stairs going up always crumbled into heaps of rubble. So man up and start climbing the stairs!" The group of men stared at her dumbfounded. "For the love of God!"
Annoyed, Kim turned back around and proceeded to climb the stairs. Without a word, a man in the back of the group pushed through to join her. Before he could get to the stairs, Thomas stopped him.
"Are you seriously going to follow her up there, Grey? We all think staying in the tunnel is far safer and better."
Yanking his arm away from Thomas, looking at him sleepily, "Wherever she goes, I go, even if you think it is not a good idea. I want actually to see sunlight again and not wander here any longer because some of you are afraid. So stay here and rot. I don’t really care."
Tom watched the man carefully run up the steps to catch up to Kim. He looked to the others, as they walked up the steps without a word. He grunted his teeth in defeat, followed them and shook his in disapproval. Most of the steps were small while others were too broken to climb, but they managed to arrive at the top. What they saw was another tunnel of lights.
They went forward again with no complaints. However, this time, they heard a faint cry in the distance. This sound caused Tom to run up front and stop them. Kimberley stared at him with completely annoyed.
"Thomas, what the hell are you doing? We want to continue onward. We want to get out of this place. Do you understand?" She spoke to him as if he didn’t know what language she spoke.
Tom grabbed her by the hand, "Don't you hear that? That's the sound of someone crying. We don't know what or who is making that noise."
"It could be someone else stuck here like us. Maybe they are in trouble. So come on, we are going."
Kim tried to pull her hand out of Tom's grasp and move forward. He wouldn’t budge a muscle. He looked at her pleading to go back from where they came. He wanted her to forget about all this, but she didn’t want to and didn’t care. He held her hand for a few more seconds before letting her go on, defeated once again.
As they ventured deeper toward the crying noise, the lights flicked worse. They saw blood stained walls and water on the floor. Thomas knew this wasn’t a good idea and turned to Kimberley for a reaction. All she did was look indifferent about it. He admitted to himself that the woman was strange, since the first time he woke to see her staring at him with deadly intent.
She was straightforward, loud, and dangerous but he couldn’t help but feel drawn to her. Her cold facade just drew more interest in her because he wondered about her past. No one could be that cold without something extreme happening to them. He snapped out of his thought when he felt that someone or something stared down his back. He turned quickly to see that no one was there, but he didn’t trust it. He kept looking back periodically as he walked.
The rest of the men felt it too. Something watched them from the shadows. The men felt frightened. During the whole time, the crying got louder. Suddenly, it stopped as if nothing was there to start. Grey stepped forward to protect Kimberley from what was ahead. If she was scared, she didn’t even show it.
"Who's there?" Grey called out.
With a loud screech, something small, but vicious attacked him, before he blacked out.