Steadily, feeling their way along, they lowered themselves from the tunnel into the oddly warmer water of the pool. They descended and their feet touched the ground, the water coming up to Rafael’s shoulders and to David’s chest.

“It’s warmer, why?” asked David.

Rafael didn’t answer the question because he could not, but noticed faint light coming down through another tunnel ahead.

“Look! Light!” He grabbed David by the shoulders and positioned him so that his friend was looking ahead. David smiled and felt hopeful for a moment, but that began to fade as the water became even warmer and a soft bluish green glow began to emanate within the liquid all around them. The chime ended abruptly, and a dry aching silence pushed into the room. A foul presence, heavy and thick, entered with it, quaking and pounding, thudding and cracking the concrete walls causing wispy gray clouds of dust to float into the air. The cyan glow within the water brightened as seconds passed, and the boys headed for the tunnel with a combination of swimming and flailing. By the time they had reached the tunnel’s lip, the glow was approaching a blinding magnitude and had become a rich teal. It lit up the entire room, and the walls and ceiling appeared as if covered in seaweed and phosphorescent slime.

The water had become hot, causing the boys to sweat, and steam rose into the air. In the center of the pool it began to bubble and then boil. They felt it, dark and ubiquitous, like claws scratching at their guts, but they could not move, to escape the pool. It began to rise through the boiling center and they were physically drawn to it like electrons to the nucleus of an atom. Mentally they knew they must leave, their conscious minds screaming within their skulls for them to flee, to pull themselves into the tunnel and escape. Physically they were trapped, their bodies bound to the force rising from the water, pulling at them. And they turned to face its rising form, tears streaming from their eyes.

The familiar rainbow feathered plumage matted together with straw and mud and sewn into a tan cloth, arose slowly from the churning center drawing the surrounding water into it. The tinted ocular lens now reflecting the color of deep teal, its right eye half opened behind the long knotted hair that did not appear to be wet. The lower half of its malformed face now clearly visible, scarred with healed incisions and scabs, its mouth agape, every tooth a fang. The black robes billowing about its monstrous frame as if caught in some phantom wind, crisp and dry, the inscriptions lightly aglow in a pitch-dark complexion unknown. Eventually it towered above them and stretched out its arms to either side. It seemingly floated there, the bottom of its robes caressing the churning water below. Its arms then fell to its sides and the gloved hands reached underneath the robes, when they were revealed again each held a glinting machete. It raised them high to its sides and formed a dominating pose. The churning water increased in intensity, boiling viciously. The temperature of the water rose almost to the point of burning the boys’ skin.

The teal light magnified, causing the boys to squint, and it appeared to climb up from the water and saturate the thing’s black robes. Eventually the robes were no longer black, except for the scriptures and delineations which remained that unknown sable, like the deepest, darkest hole in the ether. Once the teal had penetrated every fiber, an assortment of pigments pulsated in a myriad of shapes and lines throughout the area of the fabric, moving and flashing brilliantly. The boys’ eyes grew wide and then dilated as an euphoria consumed them; a thick dull joy that numbed them to their predicament. They had become mesmerized by the colored light display. The water boiled all around them now, so hot it burned their skin and yet they could not feel the pain. Their eyes were wide and their minds far away, riding comets through aqua marine landscapes of colored coral, fauna and flora. The miscreation looked down upon them; a rainbow beam of light surged forth from its ocular lens and bathed them in humid warmth, like the inside of a moist flesh walled oven. With ease it brought the machetes down upon them and cleaved the heads from their necks as if they were dolls, which tilted to the side, pulled on the skin and clinging viens, and then rolled off splashing into the frothing water. The headless bodies convulsed violently but remained upright, blood spouting from the open necks and spilling into the water where it was instantly drawn to the robes. As copious amounts of blood spurted forth, from the subclavian and jugular veins, and ran into the water, the robes absorbed every bit until they were exclusively sanguinary and the water clear as mountain dew.

Eventually it seemed as if every bit of blood had been drained from the bodies, now pale, the boiling water having caused the skin to peel and blister. The symbols unknown and unrecognizable throbbed and brightened and filled with white and red cell and platelet, until the robes were black once again. The sanguine symbols streaked through limitless ether, moving beyond stone, water or earth, showing brightly to unseen eyes. Where planets were like molecules, rotating existences in pulsing fluid clear and thick, receiving the fresh essence burning with power, new and unfettered. To saturate and enhance, formulating within a living spectrum unheard and unseen. That deep at its core is needing, yearning, the fluid thinning. It taketh for plentiful nutrition, to heal, weave and grow. It taketh intrepidly without mercy, without concern for consequence.

The transfusion complete, the coil fabric enriched, the miscreant lowered into the ferment until no sight of it was present above the pool’s surface. The water calmed and became cool and still, the bodies, less of skin and flesh and showing bone and organ in place and point, slipped into it. The light bulbs lit again and the water resumed its slow, steady current down the concrete aqueduct on its way to the reservoir.




David didn’t need to look behind him; he knew his friend was gone. There was no mistaking the horrid sounds of his friend choking as he gasped for air, they had echoed throughout the tunnel. He couldn’t bring himself to look behind him, to see Tim’s crumpled body lying in the tunnel, or worse, the frightening sight of that ghastly killer on his tail. Ahead, the dim light in the next room brightened as he neared. He was moving as fast as he could, but each step sunk into moving water, making it very difficult for him to build up any momentum. Regardless, foreboding and distress compelled him to power on, and eventually he made it to the next room.

His first instinct was to scan the room for signs of his friends, but alas there were none. He feverishly spun around to see if he was being pursued and was relieved to see that the tunnel lay vacant all the way back to the faded light of the last room. He calmed a bit and took some time to examine the tunnel; it was a smooth and seamless stream throughout its length. If Tim’s body was still there; it was completely covered by the water. Turning his attention back to the room, he realized that this tunnel was the only one from the last room that connected here. This area was very much like the last two, with the exception that there was no steel door and only one tunnel that exited upward.

He was sobbing again, and had been for a short time before he realized it. He began telling himself that he needed to calm down and try and figure out how he was going to get out of here. He took deep breaths and said; “OK. OK,” aloud, fighting back his uneven breathing and trying to soothe his rapidly beating heart. Eventually he was able to even out his breathing and the sobbing subsided and he found that he could focus. All this time he had kept his eyes trained down the tunnel, sensitive to even the slightest abnormal movement. It was obvious that he had to keep traveling up through this aqueduct system, into the hills. The water was entering the tunnels from somewhere up there, and that was likely where he would find some sort of exit. It was rational to discern that there were other steel doors as well, and maybe, just maybe, one was unlocked.

Now that he had calmed down some, he became fully aware of how cold he had become. The water was freezing, the heat of the sun had long left him, and goose pimples covered his skin. The further up hill he traveled, the colder it would get, but he had no other choice and dove into the pool, swimming to the opposite tunnel. He entered it and began moving toward the distant light of the next pool room. Quick, but thorough, glances down the tunnel assured him he was not being followed. Again, this room was much like the others, and exactly like the last one except there was a steel door on the right hand wall. David was about to swim toward it when a final look back renewed his panic. The light in the room behind him was out and a deep darkness had filled the tunnel. Although it was not distinct, he could hear a strange melodic ringing, distantly echoing. When he tried to focus in on it and pinpoint the source, he could no longer hear it. The steel door’s knob twisted and that became too much for him and he frantically began swimming for the exiting tunnel. He arrived at its lip and pulled himself onto the waterway.


The voice was familiar but fear drove him to duck into the cover of the tunnel.

“Dios!! David! It’s me Rafael!” He heard a splash and recognizing that this was indeed his friend, popped his head out of the opening as Rafael arrived. David reached down and helped him out of the pool.

“Where’s Aaron?” David asked as he leaned out to see if he might be behind him.

“You don’t want to know, my friend.” Rafael choked back a sudden sob. “Tim?”

“Gone.” Tears stung his eyes. “It was horrible. What is it? Is it human?”

“I don’t know. La fantasma, posible. No se. Whatever it is, it is very close by. Can you hear the ringing?” Rafael was surveying the room feverishly, acute to the slightest stirring.

“Yeah, some sort of distant crazy melody being made with bells?”

“Yes, it’s very strange. We better go. There has to be someway out of here up ahead.” Rafael tried to sound confident, but his emotions betrayed him and his voice cracked. “Somewhere?” he said under his breath.

They turned in unison and began moving quickly up the tunnel, looking back constantly as they went. The haunting chime increased in volume with their every step and, as they neared the next pool and looked back, both the lights from the previous room and the room ahead went out.

“What d’ we do!? What d’ we do!?” David was fully panic stricken and was crying uncontrollably, clutching at Rafael’s shoulders.

“Dios! Calm down, mi amigo! I think that he is behind us,” Rafael didn’t believe this necessarily but he needed to make a confident decision so as not to further alarm his friend. “Let’s find the next tunnel up, OK?” Rafael removed his friends hands from clutching him, and held them a moment. “Take a deep breath and try and stop crying. You need to be strong and stay focused if we are going to get out of here.”

David found courage in his friend’s sturdiness and took a couple deep breaths and found himself calming. “OK. OK. I’m OK.”

Rafael let his hands go. “Alright, let’s climb down into the pool. It’s too dark to see so let’s do it slowly.”