The Next Chapter

The Base

It took Roger and Mike nearly two hours to make their way to the entrance of the secret base.  The entrance looked like an ordinary utility or access road, shrouded by thick boughs from the evergreen trees. If you didn’t already know it, you would have no idea that it led to a secret base.  At least until you drove about a mile up the dirt road.

However, one dead giveaway this was no ordinary road would have been how smooth it was, and how groomed the trees were.  Someone had gone to great lengths to give off the appearance that this was a rarely used road, although it was actually quite busy.

They continued on and approached a wire fence and a barricade with a guard shack.  Mike drove the truck through and crossed over a bridge crossing a deep crevice.  It appeared to be man-made and evidently served as a deterrent.

Once across the bridge, they were met with another fence and guardhouse.  This fence was a double fence containing thick coils of barbed-wire at the top.  A guard tower sat at intervals of roughly a hundred feet. They really weren’t screwing around, Roger thought.

With the security fences in their rear-view mirror, they were greeted by a large mountain that blocked the road. There was a large set of cargo doors were built into the mountain and stood wide open.

Mike brought the truck to a stop and looked over at Roger.  “We can drive the truck a mile or so, but we’ll have to take emergency access shafts another half mile deeper into the mountain.  It won’t be easy, and we’ll have to be on alert and watch each other’s backs.  I am sure they are lurking deep within the tunnels.  Are you ready?”  Roger nodded his head, and Mike drove the truck through the open doors.

Once inside Roger was shocked to see the metal support structures and scaffolding that made up the interior of the mountain.  This wasn’t a mountain at all, but a structure built to appear like a mountain from the exterior. “This isn’t a real mountain, is it?”

Mike tried to stay alert to spot any more of the creatures, so the questions annoyed him.  There were bound to be some of the creatures within the walls of the base. “No.  As we go deeper you will see that part of the mountain still exists, though.  The rest was constructed from steel to put up a façade.  Now stay alert and keep your eyes peeled.  We won’t have much time to react.”

“I am watching, but this is fascinating.” He continued to marvel at the inside of the structure.  “I would’ve never thought anything like this would be possible.

They drove through the tunnel and made their way to the real mountain.  Mike put the truck in park and turned it off.  He looked over at Roger. “Well, we made it this far safely.  I am sure we won’t be so lucky as we continue.”  He grabbed the duffle bag and rummaged through it.  He holstered his guns and put the spare magazines for the Berettas in his belt.  He gave the Glocks to Roger.  “Aim for the head, and don’t waste your shots.  I don’t have spare ammo for those guns.”  He picked up the duffle bag and walked over to an already opened access shaft.

He set the bag down and told Roger to head down the shaft.  He gave him the other flashlight from the bag.  “I will shine the light down for you so you can see where you are going.  Once you reach the next level you can shine the light for me.  Got it?”

He appeared to be apprehensive.  “Yes.” He tucked the guns in his belt, severely weighing it down and completely defeating the purpose of wearing it in the first place.  He stuck the flashlight in his front pants pocket.  He stepped onto the ladder and started the climb down.

Roger was in good shape.  He stayed pretty active.  Hell, he had climbed all but three of the 14,000 foot mountains located in Colorado, but none of it prepared him for this.  He expected a rather quick climb down the ladder.  It kept going and going.  Roger’s arms started to ache and as a result he started to shake.  Sweat started to bead down his face and arms, and his hands became slippery making the climb down all the more difficult.  His arms and legs were about to give out on him when he finally reached the next level.

He stepped onto the hard concrete floor and took a moment to stretch and flex his arms and legs.  The tunnel sat eerily dark and he realized he couldn’t see if anything lurked in the shadows waiting for him.  He froze for a moment and listened.  He couldn’t hear anything, and decided it was safe to turn on his flashlight.

He scanned the tunnel and spotted two dead bodies spread out on the floor. He jumped back at first, unprepared for the image, before realizing they were already dead.  Feeling relaxed, he flashed the light up the access tunnel and called up to Mike.  “All clear.  You can head down.”  He could hear Mike’s hard boots as they connected with the metal rungs of the ladder.

The wait was painful and Roger couldn’t wait for Mike to rejoin him.  Any sounds that materialized—and there weren’t many in the deserted tunnel—made him jump. Come on!  Come on, damnit!

After what seemed like an eternity, he saw Mike just a few rungs above him. He jumped down the last few feet, obviously uncomfortable himself, but he put on his best act to hide it.

Mike grabbed his flashlight and scanned the corridor.  Satisfied they were safe, he moved through the tunnel. “Follow me.  And stay close”

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