July 2, 2020 § Leave a comment
They got a message from the Action Man.
Go, now, it said. Action now. And so we went, full bore into the tunnel, dark and dripping, the lights from our lanterns reflecting off the wet walls. Full bore, but barely budging because the height of the walls wasn’t high, but low, and the depth of the mud was deep and so we crouched and crouched our way along. But it wasn’t a clip fast enough for Action Man who was the last to enter the tunnel, sitting on a sled, pulled through the mud by one named Krev. We gave Action Man as much as we could muster, but all our actions led nowhere fast because as we crouched and trudged, feet caked over fivefold with mud, we moved barely. We couldn’t tell if we were moving at all. We hallucinated movement, but all we had was the wet, sucking sound of the mud pulling back at our feet with every lift of a leg.
The energy it took made us wish we were moving, a deep-seated desire for motion, an advance in the direction of our goal, but the only thing moving was the swaying glimmer of our lanterns along the glistening walls. And thus Action Man barked out more orders we could only hope to follow: hurry, push, push, push.
Hours of unsteady progress and we were deep enough into the tunnel to satisfy Action Man long enough to grant us a small parcel of time to stop and smoke. He sat on his sled. The rest of us leaned against the tunnel walls, wet as they were, while others figured they had nothing to lose, so they sat in the mud—sank to the depth of their navel, and their ashes didn’t take as long as the others’ to reach the wet, wobbly ground.
We smoked and guessed at the reason for our entering the tunnel since this had been kept from us. To protect us from those who seek to harm us, said some. Whispered others, to bury us deep in the earth, for Action Man was wroth with us. These others were few, at least vocally, and I felt as they did, but wished not to speak my fears aloud. Action Man could have it in for me and be imagining my lungs sucking in the wet mud because I had had relations with one of his daughters he had promised to another and the last time he had seen me I was outside her window, waiting for the light. He could plunge his fist deep in mud, turn to me, saying, not subtly, I got a handful of this. What do I do with it?