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I turn to face in the direction Star points, but I think I already know what I'm about to see, and I'm not sure if I want to look. The shacking beam from my headlamp flashes over the rough, rocky walls of the cave before finally joining the lights from Elias and Star's helmets.

About twenty yards down the tunnel, where we all would have been if we had started walking just a few seconds sooner, a pile of rocks has burst out from the wall of the cave. Rubble is scattered across the ground like someone lit off dynamite behind it. The smacking and clicking sound intensifies as the massive head of a worm emerges from behind the explosion.

"Oh shit, oh shit," America hisses under his breath.

The worm's head snakes around, twisting and turning as it sends waves of sickening croaks down the tunnel in both directions. Its hideous face has no eyes, just a round mouth with a ring of teeth leading back into the darkness of its throat. It's like staring into a black hole.

"What do we do?" I ask.

"Everyone be quiet," Elias whispers. "Get back against the wall, and remain absolutely still."

We all keep our beams of light fixed on the monster as we slowly shift our bodies to back up against the side of the tunnel. I press myself against it, wishing I could morph into it and become a part of the stone.

"What's it doing?" Star asks quietly.

The creature continues to release deep, throaty croaks as it cranes its enormous head around.

"It's searching," I say. "It's blind. It has to use echolocation to see."

"Yes," Elias whispers. "And that's why we have to remain absolutely quiet and still. If we don't move, it can't see us."

I hold my breath, afraid even the sound of my respiration will be loud enough that it will find us. The monster is huge—bigger than any of the creatures that hatched from that spaceship and chased us into these tunnels. Those were not much bigger than a human. This one's head reaches almost from the floor of the tunnel to the ceiling. It must be ten times the length of the other creatures.

Were the ones that chased us down here babies? Is this what the adult monster looks like? I swallow down a huge lump in my throat. My entire body shakes with fear. A hand grips mine, and I squeeze back, even though I'm not sure whose hand it is. I don't know why, but physical contact feels good. I feel stronger knowing I'm not alone right now.

The monster releases a grunt, and then its body wriggles, propelling it forward so its face touches the far side of the tunnel. Its teeth protrude out from its lips, flexing and contracting in its jaw. With another thrust, it latches into the side of the wall in front of it. Its body continues to contract and thrust, moving it forward inch by inch as it chews into the dirt.

Sweat drips down my neck. My legs shake beneath me as I try to hold myself still. None of us say a word as the face of the creature gradually disappears from view, leaving behind only its body. It looks like one large, wriggling intestine. The throaty, croaking grunts are replaced by the sound of chewing and gravel crumbling.

"Are we safe to move yet?" Star whispers.

Before we have time to answer, a rumble echoes through the tunnel. More rocks tumble from the side of the cave where the worm came from. With a burst, tentacles crack through the wall. Dirt and dust explode into the tunnel as the tentacles shake themselves out, stretching in the open space.

"Get down!" America shouts. The hand gripping mine tugs, and I'm pulled to the ground just in time to duck under the enormous tentacle as it swings over us. I roll over and lay flat on my back as it smacks around the space like a whip.

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