Flynn Archer and Ray Bullivant
March 16th, Mystery Island
Ray sprinted back up the stairs. Fuck! The damn door wouldn’t budge. He knew he shouldn’t have followed the idiot inside. When they got out, Gideon would slow roast him over a spit and make sure there was plenty of basting first. That’s assuming they could get out. From what he could feel, there was a lock on this side. The twin to the one Flynn had opened. No convenient key or illuminated “press here” type of sign, either. A little light on the situation would help. “Hey, can you bring me my cell?”
“News flash, dude – you just knocked me down the stairs. I think it’s probably in a million different pieces on the floor.”
Ray groaned and head-butted the door a few times. “ You’re not into smokin’ coffin fags, by any chance, are you?”
Flynn glared up at the slightly darker shadow of King Kong. “What the fuck are you doin’ askin’ me if I’m a necrophile now? You take too many hits to the head?”
Ray trudged back down the stairs as the American didn’t seem too interested in trying to help. “Cancer sticks? Matches? Cigarette lighter? Any of those ring a bell?”
“Now you’re just being a dickhead.” Flynn searched his pockets, and while he wasn’t a smoker anymore, he was pretty sure he had a lighter. Mainly, because he was entertaining ideas of a little arson. But King Kong didn’t need to know that. He found it and had to flick the lever twice before he got an anemic flame that barely lit up anything. It was like a teaspoon of moonlight in an ocean of night. “Where the fuck are we?”
“No, we’re not. According to Gideon, the Fukawi are a central African tribe. I’m British, and you’re a Yank.”
It took a while for the big side of beef to come down the stairs, and Flynn knew glaring at him was pointless, but when had that ever stopped him before? He was the king of the useless gesture. “What are you playing at?”
“Playing at? What’s got your knickers in a twist, Sunshine? You’re the one who insisted on breaking in here. I just wanted to get my phone back.” Ray felt around on the floor, but after finding five separate pieces, he gave up. If it had been a machine gun he would have the bloody thing together in a jiffy, but in the dark, it was almost impossible to work out why the stupid gadget didn’t fit back together again. The damn thing was definitely cactus..
“Yes, and you conveniently fell down the stairs, and got us both trapped in here. Funny how that works.”
“It was just your ass, mate, couldn’t resist it.” Ray pulled off his T-shirt.
“Hey – what the fuck are you stripping for? Does getting trapped make you horny or something?”
“Yeah, shame it’s so dark; your tongue would be hanging out if you could see my pecs.” Ray pulled his trusty hold-out knife from the sheath strapped to his ankle. The weapon had saved his bacon on more than one occasion. “Turn off the lighter, will ya. We need as much fuel as we can get.” Working by feel alone, Ray started cutting his shirt into long strips. “You know it’s funny. They give you all this training back in Dorset, on how to make your own torch; I’ve always wanted to see if it works.” He pulled out his Firesteel and waved it in Flynn’s general direction. “We can use the fuel from your lighter to make sure the material burns. That’s assuming you don’t burn it all up first.” Of course the silly git wouldn’t do anything as sensible as obeying a simple request, would he?
“Uh, dude, who said you were in charge? And when did you become Bear Grylls or some shit?” Flynn walked away from King Kong and started feeling his way around, as the lighter wasn’t great illumination. He walked until he just about hit a wall.
“Bear Grylls? That arsehole couldn’t find his way out of swamp without his camera crew and rescue team helping him.” Ray laid two of the strips down and started hacking at the material to create a third. Each cut nearly made him cry. Of course, today of all days, he’d donned his favorite T-shirt with the dagger-head dragon on it.
“Exactly,” Flynn said, wondering if King Kong would get the implication. Maybe not. But what was he after? First following him, now trapping him in this … whatever. What was he playing at? Did he expect him to buy this innocent act? “And why are you ripping up your phallic Ed Hardy shirt? You’re gonna make the douchebags cry.”
“What’s wrong with the shirt? At least it’s not red like yours. You should never wear that colour you know. Haven’t you ever noticed that in movies, it’s always the guy in red who dies?”
“Wow, clumsy pass much, Kong?” Flynn nearly stubbed his toe on something. What was this? It almost looked like a counter top of some sort, flush with the wall. “And don’t you dare insult my Burn Shit Down t-shirt! It’s about all I have left of my old life.” Well, there was also Aiden, but even he wasn’t here now.
Ray could just about make out the words on the other guy’s shirt now his eyes were growing accustomed to the gloom. The logo said: Fuck politics, I just want to burn shit down. He snorted to himself. He hadn’t paid much attention above ground, more intent on making sure the guy didn’t kill himself. “Hey, maybe we should have used your shirt, instead.”
“It says burn shit, not burn shirt. And why the fuck are you doing that anyways? You’re acting like a crazy person.”
“Nah, I’m not. Acting, that is. At least, that’s what Gideon says when anyone makes that kind of remark. He always stands up for me.” Another long strip joined its brethren on the pile. Ray started cutting the next one. “It’s dark down here. Right? We need light. Me cut up shirt. Make torch. Pour on lighter fluid. Light it with my Firesteel and Bob’s your uncle.” At least, that’s what the instructor said, though Ray’s uncle’s name was Fred.
“Is this in case we get attacked by zombies or rogue Frankensteins, you’ll be good to go?”
Ray ignored the annoying little git. “All I need now is a long piece of wood for the handle.” Usually, they suggested to break off a branch or something, unfortunately he hadn’t thought to bring one with him. Just as well. If he had, he would probably have bashed Flynn over the head with it by now. “Noticed any Quidditch sticks lying around? Brooms?”
“Have you checked up your ass, Harry Potter?” Flynn groped around blindly, mostly ignoring Crazy Ray. But where did this thing in the wall go?
Ray twisted around to replace his knife and caught sight of a dark shape on the floor, only a few feet behind him. “Hang on. Look what I found.” Some straight lengths of timber were piled in a heap. “Magic.” The wood appeared to be pretty old, easily snapping into a useable length when he stepped on it. Ray started winding the strips around the top as tightly as he could, sticking his tongue out of his mouth as he worked. He really should get out of that habit, but it helped him concentrate. “It’ll be good for vampires, too.”
“I thought that was garlic. Got some of that in your fanny pack too, MacGyver?”
“No, but I can use my shoelace to form a cross out of the remaining wood if you like.” There that did it. Ray tucked the ends of the strips in as tightly as he could and gave the torch an experimental shake to make sure the bloody thing didn’t unravel on him. “Can I have your cigarette lighter now?”
“Sure.” It wasn’t doing him much good anyways. As he flung it at Ray, he added, “If your hair catches on fire, I’ll stamp it out.”
“Wouldn’t be the first time someone applied their boot to my head,” Ray muttered to himself as he worked the top off Flynn’s lighter, and carefully poured the fuel on the wadded up material. A quick flick of the Firesteel and the surrounding blackness suddenly lit up as the torch caught alight. “Wow, it actually works.”
Flynn felt something beneath his hand. A button? He thought so, and to confirm it, he pressed it. There was a slight hum, and lights flickered on over their heads.
Blinking at the sudden illumination, Flynn looked at Ray and his little torch. He did a Frankenstein grunt, and said, “Fire bad!”
“Fuck.” Ray’s gaze switched from the blazing remains of his best T-shirt to the lights overhead. “Fire definitely bad. Oh, well, maybe we might meet some Ringwraiths.”
“You tell me, Hobbit. That’s more your piece of Middle Earth than mine.” Flynn finally got a look at the counter top. It was actually some kind of control panel, although most of the dials were broken, glass cracked, and buried in cobwebs and dust.
Ray headed off in the opposite direction, holding his torch aloft. He didn’t need its light any longer, but it was the principle of the thing. He always felt more secure with some sort of weapon in his hand. “It was Aragorn. Not the hobbits.” As far as he was concerned, the best part of the film was the bit where the Ranger jumped in to save them, brandishing the flaming branch to disperse the evil dead. And, speaking of Lord of the Rings, given the amount of webs he’d spotted near where Flynn was standing, there could even be a giant spider here.
“More like Arrogant, I think,” Flynn looked around what seemed to be some kind of cavern transformed into … what exactly? Some weird ass lab? “What the fuck is this?”
“I don’t know, you tell me.” Ray scratched his chest. At least he was still wearing his trusty Chesty Bond singlet that his aunty sent out from Australia. He’d die if anything happened to that. This place gave him the creeps. It wasn’t as if they were trapped below ground in a coffin or anything. The room or cave or whatever it was, must be at least thirty foot square.
“You’d think there’d be a button labelled “door” or something,” Flynn muttered, randomly pressing a few buttons. Some of them clearly didn’t work. None of them appeared marked in any way he could discern.
Ray retraced his steps and scanned the panel. “Careful, with your luck, one of those could set off anything. I’m going to get some back-up. You never know what could be down here. Remember those guys who opened the tombs in the pyramids? They all came down with some mysterious illness. Maybe this place is cursed.”
“Oh, is that what the torch is for? You’re afraid of mummies? Don’t worry, they’re even slower than zombies. And they look kinda flammable. I bet they smell like old beef jerky and sweat socks.”
“Yeah, if there are any mummies around, I suppose I could always unwrap them and use the bandages to make another torch.” Ray sighed. If there had been a mummy here, he needn’t have destroyed his favourite shirt. “Anyway, at least there’s enough wood.” He kicked the broken pieces of timber around. “At some stage, these must have formed a railing at the edge of the steps.” Now he could see better, their original purpose looked a lot more obvious. Ray climbed back up toward the door. He really needed to get Gideon and Rag down here. They were the brains of the outfit. He just supplied the brawn. “Hey, wunderkid, can you get your arse up here, and put your tool to a good purpose for a change?”
“Again with the come ons. Jesus, Kong, it ain’t happening. Get over yourself.”
“I need you to open the door. Jeez, mate, what did you think I meant?”
It was a long climb, and once he reached the top he was tired. Goddamn, maybe falling back down was just the thing. Flynn crouched down and examined the lock. A bit different from outside, wasn’t it? He wasn’t sure how until he inserted a pick and felt something that shouldn’t have been there. “Fuck me. Dude, this lock is broken.”
“Huh,” Ray leaned over, to get a better look at what Flynn was doing. “Are you sure?”
“Hey, Mongo, if you set my head on fire, I’m fucking suing you for everything you got.” Flynn shoved away Ray’s arm holding the stupid burning shirt. You could almost smell all those frat boys crying at the loss of an Ed Hardy. “And, yeah, I’m fucking sure. Locks are my thing, if you haven’t noticed.”
“Okay, okay. I was just trying to help.” Ray set off back down the stairs. “I think I saw an opening in the back wall. Maybe there’s another way out.”
“Well, we don’t seem to have a lot of options this way, unless you can shove your bulk through a metal door.” Solid core too. Flynn really did wonder if this was a blast door. It didn’t really make sense, as an explosion of any size would probably send the roof crashing down, but maybe the door was made to keep something in. Oh, he so didn’t want to think about what that could be right now. “Wait at the bottom, Kong. If I fall, I want something pillowy to land on.”
Ray pounded his chest like a gorilla. “Nothing pillowy about these pecs, mate. I do push ups every day.” He waited at the bottom of the steps, anyway, just in case the guy did trip or something. With the railing gone, they did look a bit steep.
Flynn followed Ray as he headed for whatever he thought he saw. Flynn was hoping for a fire door with a big neon “Exit” sign over it, but no such luck. There were some benches in the middle of the room. glittering with a rime of broken glass, and one wall seemed to have some sort of tank leaning hapharzadly against it. The sides of the glass were all a putrid shade of green. The only good thing he could say was that it was too shallow to house any decent sized mega-gators or sharktopuses. For a moment there, he’d wondered if they’d stumbled into some sort of underground aquarium. The water in the tank had long since evaporated, leaving what looked like scummy rock covered by shells of some sort. But if they were shells they looked they’d been taking steroids. The fucking things were at least two inches high.”Did Rapid Toke used to have a water park or something? Have we found the lost aquarium of Rapper’s Token?”
“Or maybe it’s Barbossa’s bath? If it is, he needs a good dose of shock treatment.” There could be some stuff back in the swimming pool shed. “Nah. Nothing interesting here.” Ray poked at what looked like a pile of garbage up one end of the twenty foot long tank. A few of the shells moved slightly as his finger depressed the surface. “Yikes, I thought this was all rock. There’s something under here.”
“If it’s a face hugger, you’re on your own.”
“You know, Alien? Oh, god, don’t tell me you don’t know what Alien is.”
“Sure I do, but I was too busy checking out Ripley’s tits to worry about any creepy crawly. Speaking of which, this thing really stinks. Did you notice that?” Ray gave the pile of rubbish another prod.
“C’mon face hugger,” Flynn urged, looking closer at the pile. Hey, was that a stick? “Dude, is that – oh, christ, it’s an arm.”
Ray put the burning torch closer. “Nah, couldn’t be an arm, it’s all black and… Hang on, I’m just going to get something.” One of the remaining pieces of wood on the ground was only a couple of feet long. That would do. “Here, use this.”
“Fuck you, I’m not touching that! I’ve already done my share of severed limb finding.”
Ray poked the end of his torch into the gap between the tank and the wall. Using the piece of railing, he carefully levered up the section of… something… that stuck out from the solid mass lying on the bottom of the tank. “I don’t think there’s anything severed about this, it seems pretty firmly attached to the rest of the body.”
Flynn made a noise of disgust. “Is it bad karma? Why do I keep stumbling across dead bodies?”
“Well, strictly speaking, you didn’t stumble across it, it’s in a tank. Do you think he went to sleep in the bath and drowned?”
“When have you ever seen a glass bathtub? This is a tank for piranha or something.” Flynn frowned at what he just said. “There aren’t any piranha around here, are there?”
“No, they’re only found in Africa. Gideon told me that when we were on this hush hush mission in Colombia, and had to wade through all these rivers, looking for hostages. Anyway, if there were any piranha in here, he’d just be a skeleton, wouldn’t he? But this guy seems to have all of his flesh intact… or most of it anyway.” Ray prodded a piece that fell off with one of the shells attached. “Weird barnacles.”
“That’s not a barnacle. I don’t know what it is, though. Some kinda sea creature.” Flynn shook his head, and said, “This reek is gonna make me barf. Where is this way out you supposedly saw?”
“Over there.” Ray retrieved the torch and headed across to the dark shadow in the middle of the far wall. “We better not touch anything until the experts arrive. Don’t want to ruin the evidence. Pity we haven’t got a piece of chalk or some tape to say, Keep Away.”
“Yeah, ‘cause this place is such a hotbed of activity,” Flynn said, rolling his eyes. ”Lead on, McGruff.” And it fit Ray perfectly, because if anyone was a crime dog, it was him. Whatever that meant. Wow, where was his head lately? Flynn was pretty sure he couldn’t be senile yet, but he just kept getting the weirdest feeling he was losing his mind.
Well, what better place to do it in than a place where no one could hear you scream?