Chapter 8

Vent Crawlings and Office Playgrounds

Billy checked his watch it read 21:00 so it was ages until sunlight, "about eight hours" he thought. They had to try and do something soon.

Pete rummaged around with his equipment and observed the entire space around them to get himself thinking.

Billy shivered in the cold and Gizmo ruffled up close against Billy's neck. Billy was missing being at home in front of a warm fire and just thought what a nice bed there would be waiting for him to have a quiet Friday night in watching television.

As his thoughts trailed off he considered the current situation, he had no choice but to be standing right here now to put an end to the menace of this new batch of gremlins.

Pete stood nearby being thoughtful and closed his eyes for a moment, "Let's get inside one of those vents, I'm freezing, It'll be warmer there".

Billy grinned, "How thoughtful Pete". They dragged themselves over to the hatch.

It seemed like each footstep took forever as the kept pulling themselves forward. They reached the vent, Pete whacked it with the hammer.

It fell through and Pete bent down low and eased himself into the ventalation shaft. Billy followed him, Gizmo kept close to Billy.

Then he slowly slided through the dark passages. Billy had found a spare battery lying next to a broken container and had used it to power up his torch. He flicked the switch it was working again although the bea, was dim. Billy thought they probably wouldn't have much time left in which to crawl through these vent channels.

They continued squeezing around many corners. Around them sirens blared in the distance.

The strange deep harsh buzzing sound of the alarms made Billy's skin crawl. It kept ringing in his ears and he longed to find a way to cut it out.

Gizmo was very annoyed and dived down into the dark lower reaches of Billy's backpack and flattened his ears.

Pete grasped the side of the vent, his eyes glaring in all directions looking for a way out. He was breaking into a sweat and was burning up. "Why is it so hot in here" he wondered.

As he turned a corner he found out why, not very far in front of them steam bellowed out of side panels blocking their route.

Pete approached with caution, "That could kill us Billy" he said fearfully as he pressed his face up close. Pete's face was bright red and he knew he couldn't wait much longer, they're bodies would overheat, except maybe Gizmo's.

They would have to either turn back or slide through past the steam pipes. Pete rummaged around for his stopwatch but couldn't find it.

"Fuck's sake someone help" he yelled then he found it and began timing the delay of steam passage. There was about five seconds, "I'm gonna do this" he gasped and waited for the last spurt of steam to fire out then he crawled rapidly, breathing quickly reaching half way just in time as the tremendous heat cascaded narrowly behind him.

Now he was inbetween both sets of pipes, he had to do it again, "I'm gonna pass out" he warned Billy.

"Come on Pete you can make it through" he shouted back. Pete took in heavy breaths and waited for the last spurt of steam to fade then hit the floor again scraping the sides of the vent, if only they were bigger, he was so exasperated that he made it through at first without really knowing it and kept pushing every once of energy he had.

Realising he was safe he stopped for a moment for a quick breather and turned around he had put a little distance between himself and the hazard but he still felt hot and weak. He slid to the floor of the vent and dragged himself slowly along. Behind him Billy was making his way across feeling roasting himself. "Are you okay mate?".

Pete barely grunted a responce, he was feeling drowsy and his vision was blurred as he dragged himself a couple of feet onwards.

Billy gasped and he scraped away from the pipes and felt weak himself as he forced himself towards Pete exposed to so much intense heat and made it to where he was.

"Hey you'll be okay won't you" he said pulling him along as quickly as he could using all his strength he moved Pete a few yards down the vent near the exit where cool breeze was circulating.

Pete began to feel better to Billy and Gizmo's relief, he sat up and Billy gave him his water bottle. "Cheers pal wouldn't have made it without ya".

"Well the exits just there we should be safe for now hopefully". "Yeah" Pete replied and they moved on a bit further towards the light.

Pete reached for his clawhammer and smashed the vent through climbing out into a corridor. Billy clambered through and jumped down.

Upon making their sprint for cover however something tapped Billy on the shoulder. With absolute horror he turned round and there facing him was a gremlin.

It grinned wickedly and then lamped Billy hard with its fists. Billy hit the ground and Gizmo yelped helplessly.

Billy staggered uncontrollably as he jumped up off his feet. Gizmo intervened rising his bow and digging deep into Billy's backpack for an arrow. The gremlin closed in on them and then leaped at Billy trying to take his head off. Billy dodged him whilst Gizmo fired arrows at the creature but with no effect.

In desperation Billy threw a box of matches into the bag. Gizmo caught them and the lit one holding the flame to the end of the arrow and fired it at the gremlin.

It screamed out as the arrow painfully pierced him and then the flames tore up burning him fiercely. He gave one final cry of vengeance and then fell to the ground overpowered by the bright flames.

Billy breathed silently and then grimly walked towards the nearest exit which led into an office area.

Above Billy read a sign saying "This facility is used for scientific research and development, welcome to the office complex sector".On the door to the right of them a sign with an arrow pointing straight ahead read "main lobby".

"Well we now what this place is for now" Pete declared. "They left a trail" Billy replied. "Great let's move in then".

They walked around the dimly lit office blocks which despite no sign of trouble being around was still looking ravaged by the gremlins, Pete found the opportunity to think about the sheer size of this place. "This really looks huge this facility, how come we never knew".

"I dunno Pete it's a mystery to me anyway can't be far now".

There was three foot shadows of scurring movements in front of them, Billy didn't need to poke his head round the corner he knew what they were facing.

More shadows then a small group of gremlins sprinted out in front of them wildely slamming straight into a wall. Billy responded at once flashing his torch light on the group. They squealed and shielded their eyes grabbing a few chairs thrown from a smashed office window and launching them at Billy, Gizmo and Pete.

They dodged and Pete pulled out his handgun releasing a few shots that skimmed the gremlin's flesh forcing them under cover behind boxes. Pete dived down onto the floor near the boxes and sneaked up towards them ready to fire at will.

One of the gremlins spotted him before he knew it and giggled mentally before whacking him hard on the head. Pete withstood the blow and reached for his gun before it slipped from his hands to unleash a few shells aiming directly at the gremlins.

They slumped on their backs dead and Pete regained his composure. Billy squeezed up close behind him ready to make a further move.

They trudged onwards around the next doorway into a small lobby, above them was a balcony supporting an upper floor suspended around the entire room, the upper floor led somewhere towards another dark sector.

There was a cool breeze blowing around this room and Billy was glad that they were near the surface exits, the long winding corridors had made him feel enclosed and trapped underground.

In the distance there was a constant dripping sound and Billy decided it was maybe a water pipe leakage, "not good for us as it could act as a reproductive source for the gremlins".

They turned a corner and then there was a sudden crash as a group of gremlins charged at them from a distance. Billy braced himself, these guys still looked different to the ones that he attacked in his garage, but nethertheless he shown his light towards them.

This did not dissuade them much at all though and they tried to tear at Billy who ducked watching them bounce over his head out of the corner of his eye.

Pete fired a few rounds at them and Billy dived away from them... then Billy saw something up ahead.

A crowbar was jammed right into an office door, the wood in splinters, Billy seizing the oppurtunity rushed over to it and attempted to wrench it out but... it was stiff and embedded inside the door, Pete was firing away but the gremlins were forcing him to retreat.

Pete shouted "I need some help here" and Billy came running over grabbing a few random objects and throwing them at the gremlins. Pete continued shooting taking two of them out. Billy then discovered a broken window on the opposite side of the gangway, he dived into it finding himself in the room containing the crowbarred door, he kicked it once and was suprised by how easily it feel through.

To his complete amazement and relief the crowbar came loose from the damaged door as it fell. Billy grabbed it and then charged at the gremlins as Pete was cornered off. Billy raised the crowbar and swung at one of the remaining gremlins hacking into its back, the gremlin went limp and Billy pulled out the crowbar allowing the dead gremlin to fall.

Three more gremlins were still remaining and on the assualt. Pete fired his last couple of bullets at them and Billy moved in ready with the crowbar. Pete caught one of them and it staggered away stunned and Billy closed in on the startled but menacing creatures, they began to back away rapidly.

Billy sped up chasing them down, there was a loud bang and some rubble fell in front of them crushing one of them and blocking the other gremlins escape. Billy closed in on them as they prepared to defend themselves, Billy taking a deep breath swung the crowbar and cracked a vicious looking one right on top of the head.

Liquid oozed out of it's head and Billy struggled to pull the crowbar out, as he lowered it the other gremlin fell to the ground defenseless Billy deiced to move on as he wasn't a threat. Pete caught up behind him rearmed.

"There's an exit very close by Billy if we can clear the way I could place a few explosives in the main lobby big enough to eliminate the rest of them, but we must trap them in there first."

Billy liked the plan the only problem they would face would be luring them in. Pete was also thinking about rigging up a device somewhere deep down to attract them towards the surface.

They turned another corner not really knowing what was still in store for them.

(Sorry I haven't updated in a while I've been quite busy, Please review the last few chapters and I'll continue the story before long)