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Alilee Matthews

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Tunnel Blood
By Alilee Matthews
Thursday, April 04, 2002

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The imp climbed out of the detention hall window when Mrs. Dupney left to check on the loud noise from the hallway. He giggled sinisterly in the yellow morning sunshine as he crouched in the grass by the sill. He knew what the noise was. Yes, he sure did. He had expected it to be louder, but then he’d never blown up a frog as big as that one before, and never in a toilet.
He knew he’d be in big trouble for blowing up the frog in the boys’ bathroom and even more trouble for skipping school like this. “If I come back that is,” he thought aloud. He dashed across the schoolyard, gleefully stomping bugs into the hard burnt orange dirt. He loved the loud crunch of the big black beetles under his sneaker and the thick yellow goo that squished out from their broken bodies. He imagined he was a bandit, like in old westerns, running carefully from the scene of the crime. He darted among trees and bushes, scanning the ground before him for cowboys and insects.
Little did ten year old Scott, better known to his friends as Buster, Williams know, Fate had cut his path today. Yes, dear lady Fate had planned it all; it wasn’t Scott’s big old bullfrog that caused the short series of explosions in the hallway that morning. No, sir. The janitor, Depsey Mont Goverty had gone crazy today, just as Fate knew he would. And Depsey Mont Goverty had shot the principal. And he shot old, gray, ill-tempered Mrs. Dupney too, when she scurried out into the hallway like she did. And he shot sweet little Rebecca Lyn Claros when she was startled by the loud noises and ran out of the bathroom. The impact of the bullet that caught her in the chest had thrown her tiny body up into the air, arcing down the hall a good distance before landing.
Depsey stared at her crumpled little six year old form for a long time. The hole in her chest seemed huge, and the pool of blood spreading beneath her looked enough to fill three grown men, not a small child like this. Depsey knelt down in the blood and picked up one of Rebecca’s long, blonde braids. The ends were stained a horrid, sick strawberry color, beads of blood clung to the end of each hair, hanging in the air like dew on a flower petal. He twirled the braid in his fingers and began to cry.
“Oh, I’m just going to the bath-oom. I hate morning math something terrible; so I asked Miss Moosi if I could go to the bath-oom instead.”
The little girl’s voice echoed in his head as he remembered the conversation he had had with her only ten minutes earlier. He should’ve remembered she was down here, should’ve waited until she’d left. “But oh, God, I thought she’d be gone by now! I thought she’d be safe p in her classroom with all the other sweet young ones. I didn’t mean to kill her! Oh God, you have to believe me! I DIDN’T MEAN TO KILL HER!” Arms raised above him, face turned to the ceiling, he screamed into the cold gray corridor. Tears streamed down his reddened cheeks, splashing dark blotches onto his grey-blue uniform. He looked down at Rebecca again and all he saw was darkness and that one small child. His hands dropped to the floor as he rocked back and forth on his knees, weeping for the innocent life lost.

But Fate too had planned this, woven into her intricate web of events, the pattern: suicide. The all seeing Lady of the Non-Living had planted Rebecca Lyn in the hallway at just the moment when Depsey Mont Goverty would be the most confused, the most filled with bloodlust. His enraged mind hadn’t even recognized the frightened child as his own beloved daughter until the moment he had pulled the trigger. And by then it was far, far too late. Rebecca Lyn Claros was already dead in Fate’s eyes, and once dead in Fate’s eyes, there are no miracles to save you.
Fate had clouded the crack of the pistol that ended Mrs.Dupney’s life, and Scott was much too far away, by the time first grader Rebecca died, for him to hear that shot. He still thought that his big green frog exploding into gooey bits caused the harsh boom that broke the silver morning silence. But that frog tied to a tiny stick of homemade dynamite had no reason to die as far as our Lady Fate was concerned, and so he had wriggled free of his weak bonds of tape, fell into the toilet water, extinguishing the explosive and hopped away to the third grade science lab where he found a nice home in the empty class aquarium. It wouldn’t be long before Scott found out the truth though, if Fate had her way. And she always does.
For no reason Buster Williams, Bandit at Large, could understand, he headed towards Chelsi’s mines, a vast underground system of tunnels south of the school. He had never been there before; in fact, didn’t even know the deserted prison escape route existed. He had no idea that Fate had made Civik Chelsi build that system in 1858 just for him, back when the little suburban school was a prison. Civik was sentenced to death for murdering thousands of little girls just like Rebecca Claros and so was driven to find a way out, no matter what the cost. He had made quite a business out of digging those tunnels and guiding desperate convicts along them to freedom, for a time. Civik had started by blowing up bullfrogs too.
Back in Klarendun’s Pre-School and Elementary, Depsey Mont Goverty wailed into his bloodstained hands over the lifeless corpse of his daughter. The lustchild who had separated Mont Goverty from his only love, Malicentia Marie Claros, seven years before would no longer remind her father of his happier days, no longer brighten every day of her dying mother’s life(cancer, wouldn’t you know, and not Fate’s doing either) with her tinkerbell laughter and chide Mr. Dugez(the principal, also in love with Malicentia) with the features of her father that would never be him, no matter how much he prayed to his God. Fate laughs at God and killed Dugez for not believing it.
Suddenly, Mont Goverty leapt up and began to run. He didn’t hear the wails of the school children as he swooped past classroom after classroom, didn’t remember snatching up his gun as he stood and didn’t feel the heavy weight of it pressing into his hand as he ran out the back doors of the small town school into the dewey fresh morning. He just ran, two words spinning around and around in his head. Two words moving his lips over and over again; Fate’s sacred chant of the day: The Mines.
Just as those words hit Depsey’s lips for the first time, Buster fell into a black pit. He didn’t see the gaping hole in the ground, couldn’t see it through the thick tangle of ferns and birch branches and blackberry bushes. He hit his head hard as he fell to the bottom; Fate’s hand pushing a giant brown rat to move a jagged clump of rock into the exact spot. Blood trickled down buster’s forehead, only a tiny cut, nothing serious, but it stung like hell. “Oh, toasted toads!” Buster moaned. He sat up, looked around. “Cool! A secret hideout!” He jumped to his feet, wiped the blood dripping into his eyes and plunged ahead into the musty darkness.

Suddenly, light flared from every direction. Fate had lit the old oil lamps that hung on the walls. Buster’s eyes widened at the sight. Wow, his feverish brain though, a ghost tunnel! And on he walked, deeper into the damp chambers of The Mines.
Depsey reached the west entrance of The Mines just as Scott Williams came upon the central artery of Chelsi’s masterpiece. Scott stared in confusion at the half dozen paths(more really if you looked closely) stretched out before him. They went in every direction possible, and only one was a dead end. Depsey charged ahead into The Mines, on a route heading directly for Scott. Depsey’s great-grandfather Vince Tag Goverty had built these mines with old Civik Chelsi and so the “tunnel blood” as Klarendun folk called it, ran through Depsey’s veins. He didn’t realize it but an entire map of these dank dungeons sat in his brain, dusty but still clear in every intricate detail. Depsey was not surprised to see the oil lamps burning. In fact, his smile widened at the sight. “Oh, Civik, you koosh kicker, done it again! All’s good for the Goverty clan.” And then he laughed, a cackle like no other.
When Scott heard that eerie sound echoing down at him from every direction, he clamped his hands to his ears. The laughter bounced back and forth, barrading the poor boy on all sides, deafening him. Scott screamed back into the tunnels, agony clenching his stomach, forcing up breakfast. His entire body heaved as he vomited in the middle of the floor, missing his feet by scant inches.
When the echoes finally died down and the only sounds left were of dripping water, rat claws scratching stone and Scott’s mild coughing, he straightened and moved on. Fate pushed him to find the sources of the ghost laughter. And with a few shaky steps forward and a short run down a long, dark cobweb strewn tunnel, he did.
Depsey Mont Goverty had found exactly what he was looking for, the unfinished chamber in which Civik Chelsi had died. The bones had been gnawed and the ancient cloth had rotted through with mold over the years, but the tunnel blooded Goverty boy recognized the old bat right away. He sat down in the dust next to the skeleton and set his gun down at his side. “Well old Civik,” he threw an arm around the shaky pile of bones, “I’m back.” He grinned widely, white teeth gleaming wickedly in the oily light, his eyes sparkling with a red inner fire. And that was how Scott came upon him.
The boy screeched like a young choir girl seeing a rat, jumping high into the air as he did. The sight of the crazy school janitor with his arm chummily slung around a yellowed skeleton was too much. But Depsey didn’t hear the high pitch holler or even see Scotty standing directly in front of him. All Depsey saw was the pale face of his cherubic little daughter lying in a pool of blood. Mont Goverty’s hand, guided by sweet Fate, wrapped around the gun, his fingers making deep grooves in the dust. He raised it in the air and pressed the cold metal barrel to his clammy temple. And even though the gun should have been empty, even though all six rounds of ammo had been fired into three innocent people in the basement of Klarendun’s Pre-School and Elementary(four bullets in Mr. Dugez alone), when he pulled the trigger instead of hearing only a dull click, there was a violent explosion. In a spray of blood, bone and brain, Depsey Mont Goverty was dead.
The tunnel walls shook from the explosion. A horrible rumbling began deep in the caverns immediately following the crack of the pistol. Loose rocks in the tunnel structure began crumbling. The lamps suddenly went out though there was little wind, and then the roof caved in. And in the final moments of his short life, as boulder after boulder crushed his small body, snapping bones and scouring his skin, Scott a.k.a. Buster Williams found Fate.

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Reviewed by Tammy 7/30/2002
ok that story was really stupid haha

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