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The tracks led off into the distance, but cut off abruptly after a few miles.
The blood on the tyres wore off on the concrete of one of the ruined towns real quickly.
‘They could be anywhere,’ Davey mourned.
Luna nodded. ‘We’ve lost ’em alright. But hey, we know the medicine man loves his books, right?’
‘So there can’t be that many places round here selling books.’
They kept their wits about them – the eerie dark streets and derelict buildings could easily have harboured criminals waiting to claim them.
But nothing seemed to move in the streets.
‘It’s a fucking ghost town,’ Luna said, tapping a cigarette out of the pack and lighting it with a deft flick of her thumb.
She offered one to Davey who still declined.
‘You know, you’re so sexy when you’re nervous,’ she said, winking at him through the haze of smoke.
He blushed a little but said nothing.
He had only eyes for Tia now anyway, in spite of Luna’s badass attitude and shapely curves.
‘Joking,’ she said, taking another draw on her cigarette.
‘Book store there,’ he said, pointing up at a dilapidated sign that read, Books, books, books.
‘Doesn’t look his style to me,’ Luna said with a weary sniff. ‘Far too easy t’ get int’. Still worth a try, like.’
The book store had been empty, but Luna had spent an eternity perusing the titles within.
‘Can we get this over with?’ Davey said, keen to get back to Tia.
‘It’s ok, I know what I’m doing.’
Luna snapped up a couple of books and put them in her backpack.
‘Just getting us a little bargaining power,’ she smiled.
They couldn’t find another bookstore, but there was a fortress-like building called the Entertainment Emporium which looked like it was spread over three floors.
M s c!
The flashing red and green neon sign read.
‘This is it, trust me,’ Luna said, taking a deep breath in.
Metal shutters were pulled down over every door and window.
They were decorated with all manner of colourful graffiti.
Luna grinned when she leant down next to the doorway and pulled out an ornately carved tea spoon.
‘Told ya,’ she grinned, holding it up so it winked in the light from the few streetlights that were still on.
‘So how the hell do we get in?’
‘Let’s look around. But get your hands above your head first, like. If he thinks you’re here t’ hurt him you’ll last a matter of seconds.’
A thorough tour of the building revealed just one entrance; a metal-shuttered door set into the brickwork.
‘Ain’t no way we’re getting in there,’ Davey said after giving it a tentative pull.
‘Course not, genius, it’s fuckin locked.’
Luna pointed to the thick padlock on the bottom of the door.
‘Na, it’s much too obvious. We need t’ look deeper. Think outside the box, like.’
She moved half the street away and Davey pondered aloud what the fuck she was doing.
Finally, she smiled.
Beckoned him over.
There was a doorway painted onto the wall, but just next to it was a small tunnel.
‘Looks like our only way in is on our hands and knees,’ Luna said.
Davey shrugged and followed her.
The crawl through the dark tunnel probably only lasted a minute, but to Davey it seemed like much longer.
Their knees sunk into broken glass and the rotting corpses of some small animals.
Possibly rats, although Davey did his best not to think about it.
It was one hell of a deterrent.
He’d already questioned whether it was worth going through with and he could tell Luna was thinking the same thing.
‘Is this fucking worth it?’ she said aloud, voicing his thoughts with an eerie prescience.
He thought about it for a second.
The blood oozing from his knees and soaking into his trousers.
The pain from where they’d blindly shoved their hands and knees in the broken glass.
The stench that clung to their bodies like grim death.
‘I’d do anything for her,’ he said.
Luna looked round, her eyes twinkling slightly. ‘Me too.’
She slapped him on the arm heartily, leaving a dripping slick of blood which was cold against his skin.
‘Can we get out of here?’ Davey said. ‘It’s not really the type of place I want to be hanging around.’
They moved carefully, trying to ensure they didn’t get caught out with any more broken glass.
The tunnel opened out into a room which seemed cavernous in comparison.
The darkness seemed to swallow them.
Their eyes were drawn instantly to a blinking red light in the corner above and to the right of them.
‘He’s watching us,’ Luna said. ‘So look lively.’
Raised his hands above his head in surrender.
Luna copied a split second later.
They felt their way through the room, being careful on the uneven floor which also seemed designed as a trap, but may have just been down to the building’s decrepit state.
They carefully felt their way through the open door in front of them.
They saw blades set into the walls, on a fully-loaded spring system.
A handwritten note with thick marker pen strokes was on the wall in front of them.
Davey quickly read it.
‘We have to put our weapons down on this mat, or we’re a goner,’ he said.
Another red light blinked on the ceiling straight ahead of them.
They slowly took their weapons out and put them on the mat.
A metal lid slid over the mat, trapping the weapons inside.
‘We’re like lambs to the slaughter here,’ Davey said.
‘Trust me, I know what I’m doing, like.’
They raised their hands again.
The springs holding the knives tensed a little and Davey got the horrible feeling that they were going to come out on them anyway and puncture their hapless bodies.
They creaked a little more, then there was a strange flash like an X-ray being taken.
The springs creaked again then finally relaxed.
The same could not be said of Davey and Luna.
They followed the corner around, seeming to lead through the broken shop fronts of the stores next to the entertainment emporium.
There were ragged holes knocked in the walls, leading a snaking path through the darkness.
Davey found it was very easy to lose his way, but having Luna behind him helped him tell which way he was going.
‘We’d stand no chance in here if the bullets started flying,’ he said.
She nodded. ‘That’s the whole point, like.’
Davey smiled grimly.
After a time, they came to what looked to just be a blank brick wall.
‘Now what?’ Davey said.
Luna looked around the gloom.
Another red light blinked above them.
‘There’s something here,’ she said. ‘I’m sure of it.’
She felt her way along the walls and encouraged Davey to do the same.
Why wasn’t clear to him, but he wanted to feel as though he was being helpful.
They spent a good few minutes blundering around in the dark before Luna found what she wanted.
She knocked hard on the wall to confirm her suspicions.
The hollow metal thud that came back to her made her grin.
‘Sly as a kite. Painting the lift door so it looked like bricks. But we’re just as fuckin sly, like,’ she beamed.
She knocked hard on the lift door, making a rhythm that Davey recognised but couldn’t place; knock knock knock knock knock-knock-knock-knock knock-knock-knock-knock.
From up above, the same rhythm was knocked out.
The sound made the hairs on the back of Davey’s neck stand up.
There was a clanking noise, then a mechanical scraping.
Davey realised the lift was on its way down.
An intense feeling of foreboding came over him and he suddenly didn’t want to see what was inside.
The lift seemed to take an age to come down and for a moment they thought that it would be as decrepit as the rest of the sorry-ass old building.
But eventually it came down.
There was a whining sound from behind the door as it slowed to a stop.
The sound of two pieces of metal colliding came from behind the doors, making Davey and Luna duck for cover for a few seconds as they’d thought it was a gunshot.
There was a quiet beep, then the doors slid slowly open.
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