Back in the vast, dripping, bare, cold expanse that the signs on the door proclaimed to be level B3, Eve knelt on the concrete floor. She seemed to be looking at something. At first Mitch thought it was just a stain, or a puddle. Then he realized she was not looking at the floor, but at her own hands, with a kind of blank bafflement, as if she had been holding something only a second before, and now it was inexplicably gone.
Mitch spun around, remembering the darkness, how it had moved, and the mouth that had opened wide, and swallowed them in, and how he had thought he would feel the teeth tearing at him, shredding him, how he had expected to be devoured, crushed, obliterated. But it hadn’t happened. It hadn’t been a dream, either – everything that had happened, had been real, in its own way, but here, on level B3, in what he realized now was nothing more or less than a prison, almost no time at all had passed. Seconds, maybe, if that.
Someone was missing, though. There had been a boy with them, but no, the boy had never been here, only there. Mitch shook his head, realized instantly that this was a mistake – the pain was back, a hot steel blade piercing his skull, severing thoughts and reason.
“Where…” he began, but could not finish the question. He had been about to ask, “where’s the kid?”, but he knew what the answer would be.
“That’s it.” Eve’s voice was as tight as her hands, which had curled into clenched fists. She rose smoothly to her feet, like a dancer, her face set, eyes dangerously bright. “I’ve had enough of this. I don’t know what’s taking them so long, but whatever it is, I don’t care. I’m done. We’re getting out, now.”
Mitch momentarily considered questioning the certainty with which Eve made this statement, then decided it was wiser not to.
“Whatever you say, ” he said. “You want to tell me how, I’m all ears.”
“Ever tried to move a mountain?” The question was unexpected, but then again, so was everything else lately.
“Not personally, no.”
“Well, ” said Eve. “There’s a first time for everything, right?”