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7 Chapter 7 – Underground Bunker of Horrors – Part 1

    After walking for less than five minutes, Kip came to a small person-sized opening in a rock face. The hole itself was pitch black, but he could faintly see steps leading down further into the darkness. He did a small circuit of the opening looking for traps or possibly a guard, yet saw neither.  Having no other choice and not wanting to delay further, he slipped down the stairs and into the darkness.

    After only a few steps down, he paused for a moment to both listen for any indication of danger and to let his eyes adjust to the gloom. Along with many other evolutionary changes most humans' eyesight, sense of smell, and their overall perceptions had improved rapidly over the past few decades.  Kip's eyes were probably better than most, so while he couldn't quite see in absolute darkness, he could see even if only a tiny amount of light was present.

    After his eyes had adjusted and he ensured that nobody else was present, he proceeded down the set of stairs finally coming to a thick wooden door roughly twenty steps down from the opening.  He then listened cautiously with his ear to the door for approximately five minutes before determining that either nobody was on the other side, or they were very good at hiding their presence.  Now don't ask Kip exactly how his cloaking worked as he wasn't a hundred percent sure, but it wasn't necessarily making things invisible. So, when he extended his cloaking to the other side of the door, it wouldn't have all-of-a-sudden made the door and portions of the wall disappear.  Instead, it hopefully would mute any sound and motion caused by the opening of the entrance to anybody that happened to be on the inside. He wasn't particularly sure if they would notice if they were looking directly at the door during the transition period, but he would have to trust in his ability.

    No alarm sounded, or shouts rang out as he eased the door open and softly proceeded to slip through and close it behind him. The wooden door was surprisingly easy to open and close despite its bulk. He did nearly jump out of his skin at the sound of ringing bells as he closed the door. Kip was just about to flee when he realized that the bells were inside of his "cloaking" field so nobody else would have heard them.  He reached up and stopped their incessant chiming without anybody the wiser.  There was, in fact, a wooden bar that could be secured in place across the door for security, yet nobody had done so. There also was an empty chair that sat facing the door that was currently unoccupied.  "It was nice for them to leave the door open for me," he thought. Yeah, he was sneaky, but if the door had been locked, short of possessing an ax he wouldn't have been able to get through it.  Maybe he would evolve a walk through walls ability; next, it would sure complement his skill set nicely.

    There was also only one way in and out which made it easy to choose which way to go. They are making this super easy for me thus far.  There hadn't been any complicated security system or evil labyrinth with a Minotaur to face at the end.  Heck, there was even a nice cheery glow of battery powered lights at regular intervals. So yeah, he read pretty much all of the fiction books that the base had available in its library...not much else to do when cooped behind huge walls most of your life. Heck, he had learned many of the stories by assisting in copying older books to new paper as well, similarly to how Monks of old would pass down texts to the later generations.  Kip proceeded down the corridor until he arrived at another doorway. This door was already open and didn't appear to have any alarms in place. Once through the portal, the path split into two directions. Should he go left or right?  He thought he heard muffled noises from the left, so he decided to go that way.

    Keeping his cloaking activated he warily made his way down the corridor until he came to an area resembling the prison block of the Fort Valley Compound's internal security force. Not many people were ever actually in them, yet there was an occasional crime where people had to spend a few days in holding. Concrete block walls combined with the seamless stone of the cave interrupted at regular intervals by reinforced steel mesh gates lined both sides of the hall.  He hadn't seen any guards yet so hurriedly rushed from cell to cell looking for his family.  Unfortunately, all of the cells besides one were empty. He proceeded all the way to the end of the hall just in case and then backtracked to the one cell that held a girl a few years older than himself.  The cell could easily be unlatched yet without a key from the outside, yet he didn't want to risk going in and getting trapped.

    The girl whom he didn't recognize was busy staring at the wall vacantly.

    Rather than immediately dropping his ability and possibly giving himself away, he backed down the hall to where he had seen a few loose pieces of stone.  Picking them up, he lightly tossed the rocks one at a time to just outside of the girl's door. After he had thrown about six or seven, she had finally gotten up to investigate the sound and now stood at the cage's door. He then walked quickly back to the cage door enveloping both himself and the woman in his cloaking.

    As expected she jumped up and shouted as he suddenly appeared before her. Fortunately, due to his actions, she was now inside of his "Absolute Cloaking" field, so no sound escaped.

    He motioned a finger to his lips and for her to come closer.  "What is going on here? Would you like me to let you out?" He asked. She didn't answer at first, so he waited patiently then added. "If you want to stay, feel free, I am looking for someone else and am kind of in a hurry," while turning as if to walk away.

    At this prompt, she pressed against the door reaching her fingers through the small openings begging. "Please don't leave me. I thought you might be one of them. They do things to trick me sometimes, and then they hurt me..." she said pulling up her dress partially to show large purple bruises on her legs, then pulled her hair aside to reveal multiple nasty red lines across her throat.

    Taking them in Kip was further enraged, his parents, and sister were in the hands of these evil people?  Calming down, however, he asked, "Are there others?" As he slowly opened the door to the cell.

    "Yes, there are a few other cells on the other side as well as rooms where they performed experiments. I know I was going to be next as they took the last person from the cage next door yesterday." She said while following Kip back up the hall. She seemed to walk as close as she possibly could to Kip yet was very careful not to touch him directly. It was as if she was scared to death to be far away from him, yet scared of him at the same time.

    They arrived at the exit, and Kip pulled it open to allow her to flee. "I am going to check the labs. You wait outside.  If you head up the stairs and down a short path, you will see a huge black bear.  He is friendly and brought me here.  Call him Yogi, and hand him this to be sure." Kip said while fishing out his sister's scarf.

    "Please come with me," she pleaded as she grabbed hold of his arm, making physical contact for the first time. "I don't want to go alone."

    "I need to find my family," Kip insisted pulling away. "I promise I will be back, please don't worry Yogi won't allow anything to harm you." Not sure if he could actually project his thoughts to Yogi, just in case he thought of Yogi and sent him thoughts of the girl along with positive images.  He wasn't 100% sure he wouldn't eat other people, after all, he had just met him despite his assurances to the girl. He didn't receive any reply, but it was all he could do at the time.

    The girl reluctantly pulled away and headed out and up the dark passage into the night not removing her eyes from him until she was entirely out of site.

    Kip slowly closed the door and silenced the jangling of the bells and this time headed down the path to the right. He hoped desperately he wasn't too late, yet with the girl's story and condition, he feared the worst.
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