“What do you mean by ‘it’s not here’?” Emerson hollered into the bullhorn which he aimed into the gaping abyss that at one time had been the cellar floor of The Gangplank. Four hundred feet below he could just barely discern the light from two lanterns cutting through the gloom and dust filled distance.
“I believe ‘It’s not here’ is pretty self explanatory!” Malus’s called up. Despite using the bullhorn he and Kaylee had taken into the pit when they started their descent over an hour earlier his voice was still muted and barely audible. “Just smashed crates and broken bar supplies!”
“There’s a broken mechanical dinosaur-thingy lying to the side!” shouted Kaylee. “But I don’t think it had anything to do with this!”
“What about the crate marked ‘Not Cavorite’?” Emerson shouted down with an increasing sense of desperation.
“A most apt label, I should say!” Malus hollered up.
“It was here though!” Kaylee’s shout confirmed. “The cavorite I mean. I’ve only ever seen craters like this from reverse-polarized anti-gravity substances. That smooth bowl pattern on the ground’s a dead give away. It was here alright, then someone come along, contained it ‘n made off with it.”
“This is crazy.” Emerson said glancing over at Junie. The only way in there since I barred up the sewers is through The Gangplank itself, right? How could it possibly be missing? You would think the bottom of a four hundred foot pit would be as secure as any bank.”
“Da underground… it ain’t as safe as ye fink it’ll be, it ain’t”” piped up Gilhooly Skute, his whiskers twitching most seriously.
“What do you mean?” asked Emerson, furrowing his brow.
“Only… there’s fings down innit.” said Gilhooly, lowering his voice and glancing at the pit. “Fings det we might wanna keep down dair, ‘n as long as we don’ go bovvrin’ dem, dey may nah wanna be comin’ a bovver us i’zall.”
Emerson looked over at Junie. “What did that kid just say?”
“He said it’s dangerous down there.” she whispered back.
Emerson ran his fingers through his hair trying to think of what to do next. He looked over at Junie with a slight shake of the head. “I have a bad feeling about this.” Bringing the bullhorn again to his lips, he leaned over the hole. “Malus describe what you are seeing down there!”
“A lot of broken crates!” Malus called up. “It looks like there are some spent shell casings here.” His voice was barely discernible to those at the top of the pit. “Wait, it looks like… Kaylee, over against that wall!” Though he continued talking his words had become too faint to discriminate.
“See what?” Emerson called down but silence was his only response.
“Malus!” he called into the bullhorn. After several seconds he looked up exchanging worried glances with both Junie and Gilhooly.
He was about to shout down again when Kaylee’s voice rose up the shaft. “We found somethin’; a tunnel! It looked like an urchin was watchin’ us from just inside the opening, but as soon as he seen we saw him he ran off. Malus is chasin’ him now! I’m goin’ after ‘em!”
“Wait!” shouted Emerson into the pit. “We’ll get some help! Stay put!” Emerson waited but there was no response. He looked over at Junie for a moment before bringing the bullhorn back to his lips. “Kaylee!” His shout was greeted by silence. “KAYLEE!”
((Here is a link to how the cavorite went missing in the first place: http://cityofnewbabbage.online/reader/node/5155
Thanks Gil – for the vocabulary edits))