That could have gone better.
Agent Stone got a message from Agent Lebowski earlier today-- he'd found the killer, and was following her at a distance.
So, we went. Stone drove. I sat in the middle row of seats, alone, with two armed agents sitting in the back. I'm quickly getting used to this whole "armed escort" thing.
We ended up just outside of town, in the mountains. Lebowski was waiting for us in front of cave in the rocks.
"This is it," he called out. "She went in here. Hasn't come out yet."
Stone nodded. "Let's move," she said.
The cave was, all things considered, large compared to some of the other ones I've seen. Two people could walk side by side through it, if they didn't mind being squished together, so it was easy to walk through one at a time. Didn't even have to crouch.
The deeper we went, our flashlights illuminating the rocks around us, the smoother the walls became. It was like the cavern was making a gradual transition from naturally formed to carved.
And then, suddenly, we found ourselves standing in a tall, wide chamber, made from stone that, there was no question, had indeed been artificially shaped like this.
And our flashlights found a young woman. If I had to guess, I'd say twenty years old at the very most. Dark blonde hair hanging in clumps, clothes old and dirty and ragged. Skinny. Almost looked malnourished. And a look of terror in her eyes.
I admit, not really what I was expecting our killer to look like.
"What are you doing here?" she shrieked. "Get back! You're going to die! Get away!" The echoes of the chamber made her voice drown out pretty much everything, and with each word, her voice rose in panic.
By now we'd all had guns trained on her. Lebowski began to step forward. "Calm down, miss," he said. "We don't want to hurt you. Just tell us what--"
Fucking shadows leaped out of the ground and wrapped themselves around him. He couldn't even scream-- though the girl did enough of that for him. I saw shadowed hands tightening their grips on his limbs, on his neck, and then....
Lebowski crumpled as the shadows retreated, his body unnaturally twisted. The girl kept screaming.
"What the fuck!?" Stone shouted. She opened fire. I had to cover my ears. Damn, that hurt.
The shadows, and I swear this happened, then broke through the wall. In seconds, they built a tunnel out of that chamber. The bullets Stone fired stopped abruptly on the girl's skin, and I saw more shadowed hands on her, with their palms outstretched.
Jesus, the fucking the shadows were catching the bullets.
The girl ran through the tunnel. Stone moved to pursue, but I grabbed her collar and pulled her back.
"Let me go!"
"Look on the ground!" I shouted back.
She did, training her flashlight on the floor, where images of men seemed to lay. The shadows almost seemed to be watching us, making sure we didn't follow.
I let go of Stone. We stood in the chamber for what seemed an eternity. Eventually, the shadows retreated.
Together, the four of us dragged Lebowski's body out of the cave and returned to town. And all the while, I heard laughter in the back of my mind.