Chapter 38: Get Weird

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Kim raced to catch up with Tiny Monkey and Tiny Banana, but she was at a significant disadvantage-- killer heels + dark cave + rocky, uneven surface? Come on.

Kim used the Flashlight emoji on her phone to light the way and caught a glimpse of them up ahead. Tiny Banana had transformed into a banana bat and taken to the air, flapping its little peel-wings and fluttering wildly down the passage as Tiny Monkey scampered eagerly behind.

"You guys wait up!" Kim called after them. "Very uncool leaving me behind! imo!!!"

This cave tunnel thing they were in was weird. It wasn't a natural cave; it was clear it had been purposefully carved deep into the bedrock beneath the villa. The particular passage they were in kept intersecting with other passageways, but nothing was marked, and every way simply disappeared into darkness.

It was very damp and creepy and gross and Kim was still covered in mud and dirt from the garden and blood and sweat from the fight in the lab, so her overall vibe was basically Can I please find a shower as soon as humanly possible?

Kim found herself at an intersection. She could sense that Tiny Monkey & Tiny Banana had gone off to the right, but something odd and unnameable drew her attention towards the left. She wasn't sure what it was. An odd release of energies. A faint smell of blood and metal and fire. Immediately she was just very sure that a) she was not alone down here, at all, and b) there was a very old, very dark magic loose in these caves.

She decided to ignore it, to suppress her curiosity in favor of finding TGM & TB, and getting the freak out of stupid Florence forever, when she heard a man scream out in pain, somewhere far away. She quickly pressed the Speaker With Three Sound Waves emoji to try to amplify the noise, but it was gone just as quickly as it had begun.

If it had begun at all. It might just have been Kim's brain playing tricks on her in the darkness? Kim's face glowed in the small light from her phone, and everything around her was darkness, impenetrably black and impossibly cold. She suddenly had the feeling, who knows if it was real or imagined, that she was not at all alone down here, and that in fact there were people all around her, just out of reach, hidden in the darkness.

She started running, focused on putting as much distance between herself and that sensation as possible.

She came to a circular stone staircase leading up out of the passageway. She ran up the steps and found herself deposited suddenly, shockingly, right back into the heart of the villa. She felt like she'd been running for miles down there, how had she been under the villa the whole time?

She arrived just in time to see that Tiny Banana had smooshed itself down flat and was sliding underneath a door. Tiny Monkey was about to ghost his way in after it but Kim suddenly recognized where it was they were standing, and whistled at Tiny Monkey, getting his attention and calling him back.

"Hey! Be cool! Come here!" Kim hissed.

Tiny Monkey turned and stood by Kim, who was staring intently at the door.

"This is the door to Willow's quarters. Why did Tiny Banana bring us here?"

Kim pressed her ear to the door, listening, then quietly opened it and stepped inside.

It was d e f i n i t e l y Willow's room. First, there was the smell: freesia and ocean spray. Secondly, it was a complete freaking mess. There were clothes and outfits and accessories strewn everywhere, draped or hanging from every available surface, like André Leon Talley had projectile-vomited all of Paris Fashion Week. The floor was completely covered so who knew where Tiny Banana had gone to. There was some really nice designer stuff just trashed and being walked all over. Kim kicked a sassy pastel Balmain top out of the way and let out a quiet cry of regret.

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