Over at Stories-Incorporated, my friend and writing-buddy John wrote a sequel to my flash fiction piece Tunnel, as we often do to each other’s Write-Offs. While it may not be the way I would’ve continued it, it’s a good addition and story nonetheless, and adds some flavor to my otherwise bland story. So, without further ado:
How much we would regret those steps and that journey I will never be able to express. A child’s love of adventure can be a dangerous thing, though a beautiful one. Beyond that dark door, it’s broken padlock in my pocket, heavy and cold against my leg. Some doors are best left closed.
My brother and I were not disappointed by the apparent featurelessness of the tunnel, to us it was important merely as a passageway to an unknown place. Images flashed through my head of glistening treasure troves, a magician’s sanctum, perhaps mummies. The nature of darkness is that it obscures, and to me all questions had happy answers, all mysteries glad solutions. I was young.
We left the door yawning open behind it, and my brother yawned a yawn of his own. It was very late now. Too late, though we didn’t know it.
I heard a creaking sound and spun my flashlight back to the door. It shut with a quiet click, and our route of escape was gone. My brother didn’t cry, and nor did I. A midnight’s romp, that was all this was supposed to be.
There was a crackle, and a voice boomed, wordless at first, but gaining clarity with each moment.
“Curiosity,” it boomed.
My poor brother clutched at my arm. I am glad I did not ask him on this journey. If only he had not come.
“Curiosity,” it repeated, more quietly.
“A gift of the One not granted to any others in such abundance. The humans of Earth overflow with it, and it will lay a stain across the universe not seen in many Revolutions.”
What can a child say or think to such a statement, past midnight, in a dark tunnel too far from home? I thought perhaps it was a joke, with one layer of my mind. The rest rebelled; I knew this was serious, deadly serious.
“I do not understand curiosity as well as would be beneficial to myself and my people. That is why I have waited here, for a far shorter period than I anticipated, for someone to break the lock and peer beyond the door to nowhere. You have come.”
I shuddered, not for any particular reason. I could hardly breathe. Yet I spoke.
“Who are you, and what will you do with us?”