“The air is heavy with the cold dank smell of ancient brick wet with
condensation and mildew, and touching the walls I feel the surface
slick with moisture and the passage of countless hands feeling their
way along this light-less tunnel. The only sound is that of my ragged
breathing and the occasional faint plink of water dripping from the
low roof. It’s so low I can reach up and feel the curve of the
arching brickwork, not as smooth as the walls, but my fingertips can
find crevices where the mortar has crumbled slightly. Once, I touch
what feels like a slug and I stop touching the walls or the ceiling.
All I can do is step blindly forward. I have already tried going back but the door where I entered- how long ago was it now? Days or weeks or centuries, I can no longer tell – has vanished. It vanished almost the moment I came through, excited to explore and too incautious to hesitate and equip myself.
Now I can do nothing but stumble eye-lessly onwards, each step splashing through shallow puddles. I must be scared because my heart is pounding like distant jungle drums, the echo of it in the own ears.
I walk, carefully at first but as the sensation of walking sightlessly
becomes familiar, I stop feeling my way with my feet and just walk.
The ground is wet but even and seems to slope very slowly downwards.
I must walk for years, the rhythm of my own feet lulling me into a
trance, because there is nothing but this long straight tunnel that
never curves or turns but just goes on and on without changing ever.
I can see the faintest blossoming of light ahead, like the ghost of the
glow left behind by a struck match and the brightness seems to burn
my eyes after the long dark.
It’s like ancient moonlight filtered through storm clouds, but it is light
nonetheless and the trance is broken and I hurtle towards it, a
bumbling moth, and as the light grows ever more insistent and
seductive, I slip and slither and realise that the slope has become a
hill, and I am running helter-skelter down it, all caution gone in my
hunger for the light.
As the blue-dim light flares with the brilliance of a neutron star, I
tumble forwards with my own momentum and brace myself to crash face first on wet-slick stone, but as my body lurches, and I flail my arms to try and protect myself, the second of falling draws out and out and my stomach heaves sickeningly as I know that I am falling falling falling falling falling.”