Chapter 1

The Door

It was a warm sunny day, a pleasant day. Michael was walking through an alleyway to get to the store. He needed to get a few things at the store.

Despite the fact that the midday sun was directly overhead the shadows were noticeably thick in the alleyway.

A young girl, a woman, who couldn't have been much older than Michaels 18 years, walked past him and went straight towards the shadow-drenched walls. She didn't seem to notice him. Girls almost never did. He wasn't that bad looking he imagined, true he was no model or movie star but he had an average, youthful appearance, red-brown hair and blue eyes.

The shadows seemed to pool around her, conceal her as she raised her hand to the wall and began to softly caress the wall, all the while muttering to herself.

What an odd thing to do Michael thought this girl is clearly strange.

There was a muffled, grinding noise, like a sort of great clock ticking away. It sounded like it was coming from the walls of the alleyway themselves. Michael placed his left hand upon the wall; there it was he thought a faint vibration.

A shallow circle of light burst forward to break the shadows surface revealing a roughly hewn hole in the wall. Some sort of door Michael thought.

The girl turned to look at Michael for a moment.

She had long blonde hair tied in a ponytail and wore a short black skirt, frilly white blouse and black shoes.

She smiled at him, a fleeting, beautiful thing, before stepping into hole and vanished from sight.

'Wait' Michael shouts. He didn't know why he said that; he had to see her again to speak to her, what was going on?

He turns around, expecting to find some other clueless passer by who could collaborate or explain what just happened; only there is no one around.

Which is odd, considering that this alleyway is used quite often he thought but then again it was a beautiful day, one to be spent in the park or in the countryside not in an alleyway.

Michael ran over to hole quickly and looked inside, it was a tunnel, roughly hewn out of the rocks that slopped steeply downwards.

Michael stepped back and looked at the wall, there was a building on the other side of the wall, a shop, and this tunnel couldn't extrude that deeply into it, not without someone noticing anyway.

Was it some sort of smugglers den or a serial killers lair or any number of horrific things down there Michael thought and who knows what that girl is, she looked pretty but pretty doesn't necessarily mean nice or safe, she could be a terrorist or cannibal for all he knew, it could, no would, be dangerous to pursue her. He should leave the matter alone or alert the authorities, it was for his own good.

The girl didn't look dangerous and even though appearances can be deceiving Michael trusted his instincts on this matter, besides if she were an evil character like he thought she wouldn't have let him live, not after he saw her.

She could fall, Michael though, and injure herself, anything could happen to her down there, it was most likely some sort of disused mine of some sorts, there were dozens of them dotted about the valleys even though he felt fairly certain that none of them were concealed in an alleyway. He could leave her to what ever was about to happen or he could go and see if she was safe. He wouldn't be able to stop thinking about her if he didn't at least try and find out. I have to go and check that she is all right, if only to make myself feel better.

He trundled down slope, down; down far beneath the surface of the earth, slowly and hesitantly, all the way down he was surrounded by a faint, unnerving ticking as if a great clock was counting down the time he had left, he travelled for five minutes until he reached the end of the tunnel.

The tunnel ended in a cobbled street much like what one would find above ground. It was a bit disconcerting Michael thought.

There was a whole row of terraced houses just opposite of where Michael stood; there was a pavement, streetlamps, bins, carts and bicycles. It was a strange mixture of old and new. For example, most of the streetlamps were gaslight but there were one or two that were clearly electrical just like the ones above ground. Some of the bins were fixed to the ground metal bins, whereas others were council issued wheelie bins and skips. Most of the bikes looked like they belonged to the early 40s and 50s.

How on earth had all this stuff got down here? He felt as if he was in St. Fagins or on a movie set.

He went over to the house straight ahead of him and knocked on the wall. It felt like solid rock, not cardboard or Styrofoam like he expected.

Had there been an earthquake once Michael thought a great upheaval that had buried this place under the earth? No he thought that was impossible, you didn't get earthquakes in Britain, at least not those strong enough to do this sort of damage and there was no damage to the buildings, they looked as if they had been carved out the surface of cavern.

He looked around the street.

There was no sight of the mysterious girl.

Well, Michael thought, she must have gotten home safely… or been kidnapped… or…

Anything could have happened to her but this place was far to strange for him to hang around. Anything could happen to him, this had been a mistake a great big mistake, he shouldn't have come here.

He turned to face the tunnel he emerged from but, in the space of time it had taken him to take in the strange sight of a street underground and decide it was wiser to get the hell out of here, it had disappeared.

As in the tunnel was gone. Not sealed or caved in. Gone. Blank.

The wall was a roughly hewn uneven surface without the slightest possibility of a way through it. No way out.

Michael nevertheless repeatedly punched at and scratched at it, while screaming at the top of his lungs, in the vain hope that it would be.

After calming down, he paced back and forth wear the entrance had been and tried to think it through logically.

There is nothing logical about any of this.

Wait, that girl, that strange girl. She opened the door to this place; maybe if I find her she'll do it again.

He looked across the street to the many houses. I can get help, he realised, I just have to knock on a few doors and ask for help.

He was so busy, wrapped up in his own thoughts that he didn't even notices the approaching woman…

Author Note:

Inspirations for this story include but are not limited to: HP Lovecraft (especially his story the rats in the walls), the Underdark as featured in Dungeons and Dragons, NeveWhere, LOTR, the Scarred Land, the wizard of oz, the books of Stephen King (Carrie, Misery, Night Shift, etc) and a variety of fantasy and RPGs books/videogames/role-play games.

I hope you enjoy this story and I look forward to any reviews, any criticisms are happily accepted.

By the way Saint Fagins is in Wales, its sort of a museum/historical recreation, it is a site of various building styles from different periods in history. If you want to learn more just type it into a search engine, I'm sure you'll be able to find a website or two that explains it better than me.