Chapter 11: The Terror

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By the time Greg managed to make himself stop running, he was gasping for breath. For what seemed like eternity he'd seen nothing but a pale light and rocky walls. He couldn't stop hearing the sound of the titanic spider coming for him. What made him stop was a break in the tunnel, no longer was it just the curving rock walls ahead of him. There was an opening, an end to the tunnel, and a brighter light streaming in through it.

Greg took a deep breath, held it and then let it out slowly, trying to calm himself. He shook with adrenaline and exhaustion now. He wanted to sleep for a decade. Forcing himself to focus, Greg took in his surroundings as he came to the end of the tunnel. There was a natural opening, ringed by a metal support structure that gleamed a dull silver in the light. Immediately, he realized he'd come to some kind of vehicle repair bay.

The area was huge, the walls, ground, and ceiling retained its natural rock makeup, but there were more signs of civilization here. Besides the huge pieces of machinery, equipment, and vehicles, there were support struts built into the walls and a handful of small buildings clustered to the far right side of the cavern.

He couldn't hear anything, couldn't smell any more undeath than usual, so Greg set off for the shacks. His weapon was gone, he'd be screwed if he ran into anything hostile. And that fucking giant spider...

There were three shacks, lined up next to each other in a row. They were all relatively intact, raised slightly off the ground, complete with a short set of stairs, doors, and windows. The first one he tried was a storage room, crammed full of crates. Moving on, Greg opened up the second one, and nearly wept in joy.

A security center. Gun lockers. There were three of them at the back of the room, all were open. Greg's hopes fell as he crossed the room. The light was bad, one of the light-strips was out, the other hung at an awkward angle and flickered, giving the room an ominous, tense feel of subliminal dread. The shadows swelled and shrank.

He let himself feel hope again as he spied something dark and roughly gun-shaped in the bottom of one of the lockers. Something made a noise, out in the main area, beyond the shack. Greg hesitated, glancing over his shoulder. He'd closed the door behind him, but the window was broken out. He could see nothing.

He returned his attention to the locker, crossed the distance between them and reached down. His fingers wrapped around the grip of a pistol.

"Thank God," he whispered.

Greg ejected the magazine, found it full and slipped it back in. There was also a holster hanging from a rack within the locker. He didn't plan on putting away his pistol, as it looked like it was the only weapon he was getting, but he'd still have his bolt gun if he'd only had something to hold it beside his hands, so he attached it to his belt.

After making sure the safety was off, Greg reluctantly holstered the pistol and then spent the next few moments searching the area, only managing to turn up another pair of magazines. He pocketed them both and pulled the pistol back out, feeling safer with it in hand. He turned his attention to the bank of monitors taking up most of the far wall. They didn't have much to show, as most of them were dead or stricken with static.

He stared at the few that remained live. They showed little more than lonely tunnels and empty caverns. Greg stayed and watched it for a few moments, hoping to catch a glimpse of the enormous metal-studded spider from afar, but the scenes remained unchanged. Sighing, he turned away from the screens.

Something shifted out in the repair bay beyond the shard-ringed window frame. Greg felt a surge of adrenaline shoot into his nervous system. He tried to figure out what it might have been, but it was nothing more than a distant shadow. It was probably a fucking spider, though. Greg moved out of the security center and on to the next shack. This one held an infirmary. His spirits lifted as he looked around the clean, white interior.

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