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The professor was beginning to gasp for air desperately. He could no longer hold his breath. He tried as hard as he could to draw air t...

The professor was beginning to gasp for air desperately. He could no longer hold his breath. He tried as hard as he could to draw air through the piece of wet cloth over his nose and mouth. His sniffing supplied him no air. He felt very dizzy and began to lower himself to the floor in spite of his resolve to hold on. He sat on the floor afraid he was going to remove the wet cloth to breath and would drop dead in the instance he did that. He moved his hands about, determined not to die that day. Then his hand touched something. He moved the objects on it away, only to see a heavy metal seal. That was it! The entrance to the tunnel they had been looking for. He was too weak to go get the others to come see it, so he threw an object at Kate. Kate turned and found the old professor pointing at something. She ran to him; the sight of the metal seal brought smile to her face. She got the attention of Martin, Agatha and Shepherd. The four of them joined hands and pulled at the seal, it opened and revealed a wide tunnel under the floor of the warehouse. They knew the old man was in bad shape so they lowered him into the tunnel before jumping in.

Painstakingly they shut the cover of the tunnel from inside and made their way through it fast. They did not know how much of the nerve gas had wafted into the tunnel but they could not hold their breath anymore. They had to test it. The professor was the first to yank off the wet cloth which covered his mouth and nose, and inhaled air deeply. The others waited for him to drop dead but he did not. They all followed suit and did the same. They were happy no one died in the warehouse. Their joy knew no bounds; but it lasted only briefly. Just when they thought they had escaped, they heard a blast above them. It came from the warehouse. The Elite squad could not wait anymore; they had to bring down the door to the warehouse to finish off martin and his colleagues. Much to their chagrin, there was no one in the warehouse.  They turned the warehouse upside down in search of Martin Douglas and those with him. While they searched for them, Kate led Martin and the others through the winding tunnel to get them to safety.

While Lynn and her group wondered what could have become of martin and his team, one of her men saw the metal seal over the entrance of the tunnel. For a few seconds he stood wondering what it might be. Convinced it might be a door, he brought it to Lynn’s attention. Just one look at it, Lynn asked for the schematics of the building. The schematics revealed the tunnel and the places it lead to. She made calls immediately and got their men to watch all the exits from the tunnel. It took them just seconds to yank off the metal seal and leapt into the tunnel. Ahead of Lynn and her group, Kate and her team waddled through the tunnel. Kate had no intention of doing the obvious; she knew what she was going to do to get everyone with her out alive from the tunnel. But the challenge for her was how to convince them to follow her. For her, the tunnel felt like her backyard. She had been through such tunnels in Italy, France and Sweden. She knew most of the bends and corners of it and could tell where they were by calculating the steps they had taken since getting into the tunnel. Suddenly she stopped and told her team that they were going back.

Martin and Shepherd looked at each other in disbelief and wondered if Kate had gone crazy. “Are you serious Kate?” asked Martin. “Yes, I want us to go back.” “But why should we go back?!” asked Agatha Brown, yelling. “If we don’t go back we will die here.” “You are nuts Kate! You said they are in the tunnel and are in on us from that direction and yet you want us to go back that way. Who are you? Are you for them or for us?” asked Shepherd. “I expected you all to react this way. Now I want you all to think for a moment with me. We have by my calculations been in this tunnel for thirty five minutes. If I was the one chasing you guys I would wait for you all at the exits from this tunnel knowing you have covered a lot of grounds before I got in. I would not think of watching the entrance from which you entered because I know your major interest would be to get out of the tunnel through another way.” They all looked at each other with new understanding in their eyes. “Wait Kate; they are coming the way you want us to go back to. How do we evade them then?” “I know where we can hide till they have passed by. If we go back to the warehouse there will be no one there or at most just one or two. We can take them out and escape with their vehicle. The Elite squad has a pass that keeps the police from stopping them on the road, if we use their car that can buy us some cover to get out of New Jersey by road.”

“Let’s go! The girl is right!”  The professor shouted and led the way back to the warehouse. Kate ran and went to the front. As they ran dragging the heads with them, they began to hear echoes of noise in the tunnel from different directions. They were no longer alone in that part of the tunnel; many squads from the Elite had made it into the tunnel. And they had come with the intent to kill. With the echoes filling the tunnel, they ran faster, dragging with them the heads of Justin Scott and his eight men. When they got to a bend, Kate turned another way and led them all into a huge pipe which channeled water from the street above to the canals in the county. The huge pipe had foul air in it. The stench in it was acrid and burnt the nostrils and throat. Agatha looked around and wondered if the pipe was the hideout Kate was leading them to. “This is not the hide out, is it? They are going to certainly look here,” Agatha Brown observed. “No, this is not is. There are many things in this tunnel that are hidden from the eyes. Only the knowledge of them can make you see them. What do you think this tunnel and many like it were built for? Don’t believe what you were told; they were built to shelter people incase America comes under nuclear attack,” Kate lectured them. In front of a wall with protruding jagged metals Kate stood. She turned to Shepherd and Martin and said, “We need to pull at these metals, something will open up.”

To the rest, the protruding metals were just part of the concrete walls which held the tunnel. The contractor must have done a bad job by not cutting them off. Reluctantly Shepherd and Martin dropped the heads and pulled at the metal rods. It didn’t take much exertion; to their surprise what seemed like a concrete wall parted to reveal a wide, dark, empty cavern. The air in it was different. In disbelief they all looked from Kate to the cavern and from the cavern to Kate. Kate nodded for them to get in. Just then they heard the sound of heavy boots pounding the ground above them. Kate knew it won’t be long before the people who wore those booths would look down to see what was in the huge pipe. Hastily she waved at them to get into the cavern. They all made it in and slowly closed the heavy doors of the cavern. They had no light and could not hear what went on outside. The cavern was insulated from the things outside. While the rest wondered how they would know the time to get out and make it back to the warehouse, Kate calculated time in her head. She knew the number of steps it would take The Elite squad to get some distance away from them and how many it would take to race back to the warehouse. She shot off thoughts from her mind and kept counting numbers in her head.

About fifteen minutes later, she said to them, “We are getting out! We have a good corridor to escape now. Guys, open the door. Martin and Shepherd were not entirely convinced that it was safe to get out of the cavern. But Kate knew if they did not get out fast, those in The Elite who knew about the hideout in the tunnel would send the squad to go look there. Martin and Shepherd pushed at the heavy concrete doors and they swung open. They all quietly stepped out and listened for any sounds; with none in the air, they closed the doors of the cavern and hurried to get out of the huge pipe. At the end of the pipe, they ran into an armed squad of four men, heavily armed and backing them. It was too late for Kate who led the way to stop, so she accelerated her speed and made for the one closest to them.

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Written by:
Uzoma Ujor

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