Arnold was the first to ask what Erica had meant by ‘you-know-what’, but neither Beryl nor Avariel were honestly sure as they made their way into the labyrinth of tunnels beneath Clockhaven. Beryl followed Avariel as she practically pranced forward with glee. She was excited to have Beryl with her, and was certain that they would be able to muddle through together. Beryl was less certain of victory, and Arnold insisted that he knew exactly what everyone was going to do: they were going to die.
It was not long before they were completely lost. Avariel admitted that she had not known where she was going, but had figured that if they wandered long enough that they would reach the Power Station eventually. Beryl did not know how many days they wandered below, but they ran out of food and apples quickly. When the last apple was consumed Avariel acknowledged that their situation was dire.
The tunnels were getting darker as they went down a descending passage because they thought they heard the sound of machinery below. They came to a split in the path. One tunnel was barred by chains and there seemed to be the sound of heavy breathing coming below. The other way was clear, but it followed train tracks that were warped and twisted into wavy lines.
Beryl eyed the tunnel that had been chained off, getting a feeling of forbidding. “What’s down that way?”
“I don’t know,” Avariel said as she examined the chains very carefully. “I’ve heard a lot of strange stories about things that might be down here. Like a monster so foul that it had to be dragged here and wrapped in a metal straight jacket then tied down with heavy chains, each link twice the size of a man. Others say that many people were dragged away for doing bad things.”
“So, of course, we’re now going to go into Perdition and face the monsters there.” Arnold paused for a moment to add emphasis to his sarcastic, “Wonderful”.
“Of course we’re not.” Beryl had enough enemies without going out of his way to discover more. If he had not found Beatrixe, he might have assumed he had to take the most dangerous path, but now he was beginning to wonder if this place was filled with more than just his own nightmares. “As warped as those train tracks might look, the tracks have to lead ‘somewhere’.”
Avariel nodded in agreement and came to join him. Their journey soon took them far away from the forbidding chains and heavy breathing that had come from the other tunnel, letting Beryl and Arnold let out sighs of relief.
Beryl glanced back to find that his relief was premature. Something was following them quietly.
Arnold screamed that they were all going to die, Beryl let out a hiss and then grabbed Avariel and tried to run. Even in this form though she was very heavy and he had to explain that they were being chased.
Avariel grinned, obviously enjoying herself as she prepared the Steam Hare’s flame thrower to do more than provide them with a little light. She let out a spray and while Beryl didn’t see what was following them he heard a loud howl of protest at the flames.
Beryl and Avariel ran down the passage, taking a few turns in the path that the tracks offered, and she occasionally turned to let out another blast of fire to keep their enemies at bay. There was a light at the end of one of the passages and Beryl and Avariel went after it. Their unseen enemies would not let them escape though, constant pursuit, hunting, never tiring, and just when it looked like Avariel would have to refuel her weapon they heard a painful shriek from a whistle and their pursuers fled.
Beryl wondered at their luck, but then realized that the light at the end of the tunnel was getting closer to them even though they had stopped when the whistle had blown. Arnold screamed as Beryl and Avariel quickly turned back and fled the oncoming train that somehow made its way across the bent and snake-like tracks. The light could let Beryl see far beyond them to the last intersection, which was clear of any monsters.
Beryl ran though his hind legs protested the motion and he wanted to go to all fours to flee properly. He could hear the wheels turning, hitting the rails and skipping along them out of control as it crashed forward, breaking everything in its wake, and threatening to crush even Avariel into an unrecognizable stew of parts.
Beryl and Avariel came to the end and ducked to the side just as the train darted out of the tunnel behind them and soon crashed as it came to a complete halt.
Beryl let out a sigh of relief, and then raised his ears in surprise as he heard a familiar voice cry, ‘All aboard!”