The tunnel looked dark and dangerous. I didn’t want to go inside. No way. I wanted to run away. But I had to help Ellis. She had helped me at the shop. She thought this was the right way to go. Ellis put her arm around my shoulder. We started to walk.
The darkness ate us all up. It was impossible to see. I looked back at the entrance. I wished we were out there still.
Ellis limped next to me. Her ankle was very sore. She was trying to be brave. I heard her gasping. It was so frightening.
We went very slowly. I was very edgy. Danger could be anywhere. I kept my head clear. I needed to pay real attention.
I heard something. The stones moved. I hoped it was just an animal. I heard it again. I thought it was a footstep.
The stones moved again. It was footsteps. I felt upset.
‘What’s the matter?’ Ellis said.
‘There’s something behind us.’
‘We’d better hurry then.’
It was hard to hurry. We couldn’t go fast. Ellis was too sore. Her ankle made us slow. This was danger.
The footsteps kept coming.
I was really worried. I pulled Ellis through the tunnel. She sounded hurt but didn’t say anything. We kept going.
The footsteps started running.
This was bad. Ellis couldn’t go faster. I knew the tunnel was a bad idea. Why didn’t I say so? I should have done. It was too late now. We couldn’t go back.
‘Ellis,’ I said. ‘We need to get out.’
‘How? Tunnels only have one way in and one way out.’
‘Maybe,’ I said. ‘I did a project on old trains at school. We need a ventilation shaft.’
I touched the side of the tunnel. I wanted to find a ladder or a doorway. Bricks. Bricks. Bricks. Then I felt metal pipes. They were on the side of the wall.
‘Quick,’ I said. ‘Follow the pipes.’
I kept my hand on the pipes. There was muck all over them. My hand was dirty quickly. I felt the tunnel curving.
It was hard to touch the pipes and pull Ellis along. She was really sore.
‘I can’t keep going,’ she said. ‘My ankle is killing me. You find the shaft and come back for me later if you can.’
‘No way!’ I said. ‘You won’t be eaten in this terrible tunnel. You saved my life. I’m saving yours.’
I pulled her harder.
Then the viros howled. The sound was way back. The tunnel made it really loud. It was all evil echoes. The howl frightened Ellis. She let go of me. She tried to run. It was like quick hopping. She started to cry.
This is stupid, I thought. Why did we do this? We should have stayed on the roof. It was safe up there.
Why did I have to survive? I could be a viro like all of them. That would be easier.
We kept running. My side got hurt. It was a stabbing pain.
‘Stitch,’ I said. ‘I’ve got the stitch.’
‘Keep going!’ Ellis said. ‘There must be something up ahead.’
‘There is,’ said a voice behind us. ‘Up here on the left.’