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The Dunsany Tunnel

“Where’s Junie?” asked Lapis as he tested the knot on the rope, giving it a sharp yank to ensure it was secure.
“I’m here!” she called enthusiastically before Emerson could answer on her behalf.

Lapis, Gilhooly and Emerson all looked over from the pit as Junie rushed down the stone steps leading to The Gangplank’s cellar. “I made sandwiches.” she smiled as she approached, holding up the daypack.

“What kind?” Emerson grinned. “I got a touch of the munchies and that sounds exactly like what Ol’ Doc Emerson ordered to take the edge off.”

“Cinderberry chutney and cheese.” she grinned. “And I cut the crusts off a couple of them just the way you like.”

“So awesome.” Emerson rubbed his hands together. “Do we have wine?”

“Of course.” Junie grinned. “Two bottles.”

“I hate to interrupt you two.” said Lapis as he lit the wick on his lantern. “But is this a rescue and recovery mission – or a picnic?”

“We could be down there awhile, Dom.” Junie said. She was about to mention the Ravilan paprika she had used to spice the chutney when she felt a gentle scratching at her hand. It was little Gilhooly Skute.

“Yer got one fer me missus?” the urchin whispered.

“Of course.” Junie whispered back. “Extra cheese on yours.” she winked.

Lapis shook his head. “Okay, I’ll go first.” he said, picking up the rope and making his way to the edge of the pit. “Emerson, you come next…”

“Listen, who’s the double-knight here?” Emerson interrupted. “I should call this one.”

Lapis looked ahead stoically, flexing his fingers just above the hilt of his sword. “Okay,” he said exhaling slowly and speaking precisely, “what is it that you suggest?”

“It could be dangerous down there.” Emerson began. “We have no idea what could be waiting for us at the bottom of that pit. I suggest we send Gil down first. He can act as bait and draw off anything unpleasant. Mister Brother will go next. That way if anything goes after Gil he can jump on them from above and take them unawares.  Junie can go next and then I’ll take up the rear.”

Lapis nodded. “That actually doesn’t sound half bad.”

“Okay then Gil.” said Emerson, “Off you go.”


Emerson paused about eighty feet down the pit. He glanced to the side and noticed a circular opening framed in an ornate brick in the side of the shaft. Clearly manmade, it had a diameter of roughly three feet. He held his lantern up for a better view and noticed the word ‘Dunsany’ stamped in one of the bricks. He was about to call down to the others when he noticed Junie was already at the bottom.

That’s curious, he thought looking back at the circular opening, that was the same word that was stamped into the brick Mumsy warned us against.  He shifted his weight, figuring he’d work out out the significance later, and continued climbing down the rope.


The four of them, all safely off the rope, stood in the centre of the roughly circular pit. Other than the bowl shaped indent in the ground where the Cavorite had been, the floor was perfectly flat with a diameter of about fifteen feet.

“Look over there.” Junie pointed. “It looks like an opening to a passage.”

“What incredible columns.” said Emerson noticing the two tall pillars that stood on either side of the opening. “Those are Doric if I am not mistaken.”

“You are mistaken,” pointed out Lapis. “They are clearly Ionic. Note the eastern flare in the patterning.”

Emerson narrowed his eyes and was about to argue the point when quite suddenly from above came a series of unholy shrieks. The rope shook briefly before the entire 400-foot length of it fell into the pit causing all four of them to jump back with their arms raised up defensively by their heads.

“Blimey… rope’s been cut it ‘as!” an alarmed Gilhooly called out upon examining the end of the rope.

“What is that sound?” asked Junie, cocking her head to the side and squinting up into the darkness.

From high up the shaft an odd scratching could be discerned. For several moments the four of them stood peering up into the darkness. Soon it became apparent that several shadowy forms were rapidly climbing down the sides of the pit.

“I suggest we don’t wait until whatever that is reaches us.” warned Lapis as he pulled his sword from its scabbard. “Follow me!” he said with authority making for the door to the darkened  passage. Emerson was the last to pass between the two ornate columns, just as the first of the shadowy shapes dropped to the floor of the pit.


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One Comment

  1. Dr. Cyberusfaustus Dr. Cyberusfaustus September 1, 2012

    Ms. Ginsburg, this tale indicates your hidden talent as expert provisioner of expeditions! If the same holds true for intrepid gangs of adventurers as it does for an army, then you will certainly travel well. I shall think of placing an order with you for my next outing.

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