Hey, guys, it's me! A lot has happened since I posted last, but after two months, I am hopping back on the horse! Hope this turns out well…
Ploop. Ploop. The sound of dripping water echoed in the cavernous drainpipe. Ploop. Ploop. It was starting to drive me insane. Ploop. Ploop. I estimated that a drop fell every three seconds. Ploop. Ploop. I subconsciously started counting the drips in my head. 100…200…500…1000…Ploop.
"How long have we been down here?" I said anxiously, crossing my arms over my chest, trying to barricade myself from the chill in the air. I wished I had a jacket, but hell, it was the dead of summer. At least in my world it was.
"About ten minutes."
Okay, so it was a lot shorter than it seemed. But still, ten minutes is ten minutes too long than anyone should ever spend in a sewer. At least it wasn't too mucky. In fact, it was surprisingly dry.
"What's going on up there?" I wondered out loud. "What were those…things?"
"They were people," Egon answered simply. Then after a silent pause, he added, "At some point."
I didn't quite know what to say to that.
"But…what is going on? I just…I don't understand," I said anxiously. "We come back and everyone is just…gone. How can that possibly be?"
Then, Egon the Atheist looked to the sky and said, "Only God knows."
We fell into silence.
There was a thump on the grate. Then, a circle of light appeared in the ceiling, and the booted feet descended the ladder, pulling the rest of the young girl inside.
She recovered the manhole and lit down to the floor. Though it was dark, I could see her. She was small, graceful, with long legs and fingers. Her skin was tan and her short hair was dark like a raven's feathers. She wore a long sleeved white turtleneck sweater covered by a navy blue insulated vest, like the ones mountain hikers wear. She also wore scuffed black hiking boots and tight blue jeans tucked into them, and a quiver of arrows slung across her back. There was something intimidating about her chocolate brown eyes-almost blazing. As soon she spoke, I was cowered by this tiny, model-esque adolescent girl.
"Who are you people?" she demanded. "And more importantly, what the hell were you thinking, going outside and yelling like that? You're lucky I was in the area, they would have killed you!"
"Who are they?" I inquired desperately. "And who are you? Please, tell us what's going on."
The girl's brow furrowed. She looked at me, then at Egon, then at me. "Who are you?" she asked again, this time confusedly. "And how did you survive this long?"
"Survive? What are you talking about?!" I exclaimed. "Look, I don't know what's going on here. I just want to see my daughter!"
The girl was quiet, smoldering in her own confusion. She kept studying my face, as if she was trying to figure who I was. "What is your name?" she asked slowly.
"It's Jennifer. Jennifer Spengler. And this is my husband, Egon," I replied, trying to calm myself.
The girl momentarily froze, trying to plot out her next move. "Listen. You need to come with me. Right away."
She turned on her heel and began to strut through the sewer pipe. Egon and I looked at each other questioningly, then quickly followed after her.
"And who-who are you?" I asked, almost jogging to keep up with her; she walked fast.
"People call me Jet," she answered without a glance.
"Is that because you're so fast?" I said.
At this, she stopped and gave me a "what-are-you-stupid" look. "It's short for Jetta," she said, with a clear "duh" in her tone.
We walked in intense silence for five more minutes, when she stopped again. "Sh!" She listened. She cautiously loaded her bow and got ready to point it. "Show yourself!" she shouted into the darkness.
There was a ghostly silence, and then a voice shouted, "JETTA GARCIA! 'TIS I, THE GHOST OF JACK THE RIPPER! YOUR PIDDLY ARROWS SHAN'T HARMETH ME! I AM IMMORTAL! I AM OMNIPOTENT! I AM-
"-a dumbass?" Jet finished, putting the arrow back in her quiver.
The voice chucked and out of nowhere, a boy about the same age with spiky black hair and a smug expression appeared. "Aw, come on, Jetty. I think it was pretty clever."
"It's Jet," she corrected through gritted teeth. "And that wasn't funny. You never know if they'll find us down here."
The boy cackled. "Yeah right! Those Skinheads are too stupid to find their own feet!" Then he finally noticed Egon and me standing there. That wiped the smile right off his face. "Jet…who-?"
"I don't know, Ace. But I intend to find out," said Jet, all business.
Ace snapped his fingers. "You better take them to see Oracle. She'll know what's up."
"Where did you think I was taking them, idiot? Coney Island?"
"Aw, whydja have to mention that place? Now I want a hot dog!" said Ace, rubbing his stomach. "Say, didn't happen to snag any vittles, eh?"
"Sorry, Ace. If you're hungry, you're going to have to hunt for yourself. I got a little sidetracked saving these two from a fleet of Skinheads."
"Whoa, no way? How many didja fight off this time?" Ace said.
"I don't know, like, ten maybe? Look, we gotta go," said Jet impatiently.
"Okay. Say, I'll go tell Oracle you're a-comin'!" And with that, the boy disappeared again.
Jet rolled her eyes. "Always showing off."
"How does he do that? Just disappear like that?" I asked.
"Oh, he doesn't disappear. He just takes off running," Jet explained nonchalantly.
"What do you mean, 'takes off running'?"
Jet sighed. "You people are about to have the biggest slap in the face in your lives."
After a bit more walking, we reached a certain spot in the catacombs. A door was incoded in the wall of the tunnel. "Here we are," said Jet. "Home sweet home."
She opened the door and we followed her into a small, warm kitchen. A plump woman in her mid thirties was standing at the oven, stirring a pot of something. Without looking up, she called out, "How was hunting?"
"Patch, we got two live ones here," Jet said.
"Live ones? What are you talking ab-?" The portly woman turned and saw Egon and me. "Oh. Oh my."
"I know. Listen, I need to talk to Oracle. Is she in her room?"
"Of course," said Patch.
"Good. You watch these two, all right? Introduce them to your, eh, special talents," said Jet. "They might as well find out."
"All right, Jet."
Jet walked through another door on the other side of the room and disappeared, leaving us with Patch. She gave us a kind smile. "Sit down, please. Are you hungry? I just finished making a pot of stew."
"Yes, please," I said. The smell from the stew was mouth-watering, and I realized I hadn't eaten since lunch that day.
Egon and I took seats at the table and Patch ladled up two steaming bowls of stew. I was already beginning to like this woman. "Thank you so much," I said, feeding myself a spoonful of soup. The broth was hot and thick, and was filled with bits of potato and carrot and chunks of beef. It was wonderfully warm and salty and a little bit spicy. I immediately felt fortified just after the first spoonful. "This is so delicious."
"Oh thank you," said Patch, smiling a smile as warm as the stew she served. "It's really just a bit of this and that."
"Well, I can see what Jet was talking about. Cooking like this is definitely a special talent!" I gushed.
Patch chuckled. "Well, thank you, but I'm afraid this isn't exactly what Jet was talking about."
"Oh? What did she mean then?"
Patch was quiet for a second, then picked up a knife. She contemplated it for a second…then jabbed it into her hand.
Patch calmly wrenched the knife out, and blood oozed of her wound-down her arm, onto the table, her clothes.
"Oh my God! Why did you do that?!" I screeched.
She ignored my alarm and instead closed her eyes as she placed her hand (the one that was not mauled) over the wound and held it there for a moment. Then she opened her eyes and took it away. I gasped.
The wound was healed.
I looked at Patch. Then I looked at Egon. "Who are these people?" I whispered, aghast.
At that moment, Jet came back in. "Oracle wants to see you now."
Okay, I am officially a psycho. Didn't mean for that last part to get so graphic, but who cares? I'm back!