Shadows, Sludge And Slime

"This," John murmurs, "is perfect. Just freakin' perfect." Flashlight in hand, he trudges on through the sewer tunnel he and Monica had chased a perp into. With every step he takes, a loud slurping noise fills the enclosed space and with every step it gets increasingly harder to take another.

He frowns and lets the tiny beam of light roam the walls and the dark opening in front of him. The walls are grimy old limestone, covered in green and brown moss among other things he doesn't care to identify. The stench of whatever it is lining the walls, combined with the near impenetrable sewerage water is enough to convince him that it's best not to wonder just what the source is and to rather get it over with. Quickly.

He wishes again that their perp had chosen a tunnel that hadn't just been flooded and keeps moving, moving, moving…

Stop.

He cocks his gun and squints down the tunnel where something – a shadowy figure – has caught his attention. He slowly takes a step forwards. Another step. Another.

"Monica?" he finally realizes. "How did you get ahead of me? You were supposed to wait by the entrance in case he tried to escape that way." He frowns when she doesn't respond and continues onward. "Mon?"

Her face remains hidden in shadows and he wonders for a moment if it really is Monica. He pushes that thought aside and moves even closer, glancing quickly around the tunnel to detect whether he's walking into a trap.

No. It's not a trap, he tells himself.

"John? Have you found him?"

He jerks in surprise: the voice is right behind him. He swings around and comes face to face with…Monica? He blinks and turns back to where the dark figure had been.

It's gone. Whoever it was is gone.

Raking a hand through his hair in frustration, he moves further into the tunnel to be sure.

No one is there.

He sighs and oozes back to Monica.

"You called my name," she explains, sensing his confusion, "and I thought you might need back-up."

"He was right here," he says abruptly. "He was right here, under my nose and I didn't see it."

Monica offers him a small smile – the one he knows she reserves for comforting him – and then nods back at the exist. "Let's get out of here, okay?"

Sweeping his gaze around them again, he nods reluctantly and follows Monica towards sunlight. As he takes his last few steps out of the tunnel, something in the wall catches his eye.

A face – flat and featureless – is staring at him from the stone.

He shivers and dials his cell phone now that there's reception. "I need a quarantine team down here," he begins, ignoring the raised eyebrow Monica aims in his direction. "Make it fast."

He clicks his phone off and sighs.

They had started out this case trying to uncover what was hidden, but now in order to protect humanity, they had to bury it once more.

fin.