Journey vs. Center of the Earth – Don’t Stop/movie trailer mash-up…
“Ace,” Carvery says. “See if you can kick one end of that bed away from the wall, so it swings out into the room. We need something to break our fall.”
“Good thinking, Batman,” Ace grunts, and grabbing the foot-rail of the metal bunk, kicks it away from the bracket attaching it to the slimy tiles.
With a groan, the bunk lurches slowly inwards over the bottomless drop. Homer, still unconscious, doesn’t even stir, as Ace tries to keep his weight balanced across the barely-there mattress at his feet.
“Think you can reach, Luke?” he asks.
Luke raises his own feet from the far wall, and tries to stretch forward towards the foot of the creaking metal bed.
“Now when we NEED that wall to bloody move…” he grumbles.
Ace leans out and just manages to grab his ankles.
“Now?” Carvery queries.
“Yup, we’re good,” Ace confirms.
I jump out of my skin, as with his free hand, Carvery fires the shotgun at the wall above Luke’s wrists. The tiles shatter, and the restraining cuffs break away, pitching Luke upside-down, suspended now by his legs from the edge of the precarious bunk.
Ace grabs his belt and hauls him aboard. Rocking the bed back and forth slightly, they grab Carvery’s arm from where he is still hanging from the toilet-bowl, and soon he is on top of the bed hanging over thin air as well.
“You next, Sarah,” Ace tells me, as they rock the now dangerously-overloaded bunk towards the sink, to which I am still attached. “Stick your legs out. And maybe better cover your face.”
With a gulp, I note Carvery reloading the shotgun, while Luke and Ace each grab hold of one of my ankles.
“Any last requests?” Carvery enquires.
“You wouldn’t be able to pronounce it,” I snap. “Needless to say it involves evisceration and disembowelling.”
“Don’t flatter yourself,” he replies. “As if my tongue could reach from here anyway.”
I just remember to cover my reddening face as he fires over my head. My arm is freed from the pipework with a sickening bang, and I lurch backwards over the hole where the floor used to be. I’m sure they allow me to dangle there longer than necessary, before pulling me back up.
A commotion is going on above us in the citadel square overlooking our cell, and we look up to see Crispin’s disapproving gray face joining the audience of angry, frustrated onlookers.
“He’s not happy,” Ace observes. “Must be your fault, Sarah.”
I’m perfectly aware that it is. I gulp, but I’m not going to discuss it with them.
“What now?” I ask instead.
“All the way to the bottom, I reckon,” Carvery remarks. “Don’t think we want to go back up there.”
As we watch, something appears in Crispin’s hands, which he starts unravelling slowly.
Oh. My. God.
It’s a noose.
“I agree,” I say at once. “Get us out of here.”
Carvery grins, and fires the gun at the last bracket holding the bed to the vertical surface. The tiles splinter, and the bed sags a little more.
Right on cue, we hear the grinding of the mechanical press in the wall starting up again – no doubt to start with the squishing action once more…
“Give us a boot, Ace,” Carvery prompts.
Ace nods, and kicks us away from the deadly wall.
There is a split second of inactivity – and then a horrible, pitching, metal-shearing, scraping squeal of breakage…
The torrid air blasts past my ears as we fall, accelerating, into the void. The daylight overhead shrinks rapidly to a blessed dot.
I struggle to get Crispin’s expression out of my mind, as he unwound that rope…
“Where does this hole lead to?” I ask aloud.
Jagged rocks are barely visible in the darkness, and I pull the Trevor Baylis torch out of my sleeve and crank it up to try and see anything. I get a small fright, as the first thing it illuminates, briefly, are the faces of the two townsfolk who fell earlier – watching us fly past curiously from handholds they had evidently grabbed in the fall.
Just as fast, they are gone – and we are still falling.
“All the way,” Luke says, grimly.
The chasm widens, from the width of the cell we formerly occupied, to a vast cavernous space – from cathedral-sized, to football field, to infinity… and inexplicably illuminated, with glowing blue, green and lilac patches on the surface of the rock.
“Must be some sort of fungus,” Ace muses.
“Yeah – a radioactive one,” Carvery adds wryly. “An old mine, maybe?”
“What was that?!” Luke yelps. We all look at him. He points into the darkness. “Something flapped past us – right there!”
We strain our eyes into the gloom. The rushing of stagnant air through the steel bedstead whistles and hoots eerily, making it hard to pick out any other ambient noises.
“You’re imagining things,” Ace grunts. “Too much hoodoo on the brain. There’s nothing down here…”
A thump on the head-rail of the metal bunk interrupts him, and a shadow blots out the glow from the infected stalactites.
“Zombie!” Luke squeaks.
But it’s not – oh, no, it’s not… it has the gray leathery skin, the xylophone-like ribcage and warty knees… but no zombie has that giant scissor beak – with TEETH – or those membranous wings, which would out-span the rotor blades of a Chinook helicopter…
“Carver,” Ace whispers. “It’s your Mum. I’d recognise those bingo wings anywhere.”
Carvery merely clips the back of Ace’s head with the shotgun butt.
“It’s a Pterydactyl!” I gasp. “What’s it doing down here? How could it survive for so long?”
And then we’re all nearly thrown off the bed, as with a deafening scream of metal, we hit an unseen railroad track, and proceed to slide onward. Only the braking provided by the beast’s outstretched wings stops us all from being catapulted to our deaths.
“The dinosaurs never died out,” Luke tells me. “They just – moved downstairs…”
The massive beak stretches in a yawn, and the giant bird-lizard assesses each of us, with a blinking yellow-orange eye.
“What do you suppose it eats?” Carvery ponders, and I can see him weighing up the option of shooting it pre-emptively, as opposed to waiting to see what it will do first. At the moment, our only balance on the narrow track is provided by its sail-like skin membranes.
Homer sits up, slowly, rubbing the back of his bald gray head.
He must have been jolted awake by our landing. As he focusses gradually, the Pterydactyl lets out a long, low, guttural clicking sound – like something from Ridley Scott’s Aliens…
Homer turns his head, to look up at the towering monster perched on the head-rail of our mobile gurney.
“Do you know what it wants, Homer?” I ask, hopefully.
My heart sinks, as I see the withered zombie’s shoulders hunch nervously. He tries to inch backwards towards us, huddled at the foot of the metal bunk.
“Braiiiinssss,” he croaks at last.
And the great monster winks at us…
Original 1959 trailer for ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth’ – enjoy 🙂
More mindless mayhem: The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum
Also available for all other devices, and online reading, on Smashwords