"Are you sure you're okay?" The policeman asked me as I continued to heave breathlessly. I then nodded while I still continued to feel the pain all over my body.
"We must move soon," I said without even addressing the policeman's question. "The crawlers will be coming if we stay a few more minutes in this place."
"What do you mean?" The silver man frantically asked as he finally decided to approach me for the first time. "You're just scaring us, aren't you?" The silver man accused with a troubled scowl as he pointed his forefinger at the space between my eyes.
"My son, I am a servant of God. The last thing I want to do now is to lie." I then directed my gaze to the silver man's shaking and tearful eyes. "I'm sure, just like me, you want to leave this place in one piece."
"Well, as much as I want to believe you, the fact that you're here with us means you're affiliated to Plural Heights." The salesman uttered from a few feet away from me as he stood with his arms crossed.
"I understand your worries," I said, trying to ease the growing tension all around while waving my hands in front of me. "But the fact that I am here means that, one way or another, I destroyed the shackles that Veronica had placed around my body for the greater good!" I then raised my voice to make the people around me believe the lie I'm currently telling them. However, when I did that, the pain in my body suddenly punched through my gut with an unbearable sting, making me wince on the floor again.
"Please don't ask the priest more questions if you're just planning to rile him up! Besides, he has a point! We have to leave this place anyway." The nurse said as she approached me again, making me see clearly how much skin she's showing now that she willingly tattered her clothes. "I heard you talked about this... 'crawlers'? Would you mind telling us more about it, father?"
I then looked around me as I continued to lay down on a dry corner in the dimly lit room. The light in this place is particularly shaky, so it kept flickering with the whirring sound of a failing light bulb. To be fair, this part of the dungeon is, perhaps, the safest place there is here right now, and I am fairly certain that all of these people here would be begging me to go back here again once they saw what lies ahead. The vigilant face on the policeman as he knelt beside me would soon crumble away into pieces. The courageous front that the nurse is showing would most likely shatter like broken glass. The sternness of the salesman's face would fly away into the shadows. Well, I don't even know now what would happen to the silver man, but I'm sure he would kill himself first before anything else in this dungeon.
However, the point of the matter is that I have to give them a sense of hope that they would leave this place no matter what, and they have to do it fast. It's much, much more fun for all of those non-involved individuals to enjoy the show. They even placed cameras all over the dungeon that even I don't know of just for this very special moment. That's why mom did a little bit of extra tweaking for these four people. Call it a better way to entertain those who remained sitting in the living room upstairs.
She added what she called 'Crawlers' in the dungeon.
"The crawlers are... well, something that will kill us right away once it sees us." Well, that's a fact. Another fact about them is that their name sounds absolutely stupid, no matter how much I try to repeat it in my head. It's Susan's idea. "I don't know what they are, and believe me, I have no words to explain WHAT they are, but I have seen them a lot of times already in the longest time that I had stayed here in this place." I then looked up at the ceiling of the dungeon with a pained expression as I tried to pretend like I'm about to cry. Like always, I'm bad at crying. "Usually, they would come and haunt you down if you stayed in one area for more than 30 minutes. However, a few hours ago, two Crawlers appeared in front of me and dragged me to put me in this room that we're standing in right now. The rest is..." I then waved my hands while looking at the people around me. "... you already know."
"Is that the reason why you look so beaten up?" The nurse said as she shook her head with pity.
I then nodded wordlessly before I chuckled as I placed my hand on my shoulders. "You are a good person, lady. I am glad you are one of the people who've seen me before I die."
"Wait, wait, wait..." The silver man said as he pushed his way towards me by shoving the nurse aside. "Are you saying you've been here for a long time already!?"
"I say about four days," I said with a nod while closing my eyes. I don't know if you need to know this, but I'm obviously lying. I've been here for four HOURS, but the one I said sounded more dramatic! "I've exhausted all of my resources, and now, I am a dead man waiting to be eaten. However, there's still hope for all four of you."
"What do you mean?" The police officer said with his arms around the nurse after catching her falling body midair. He then scowled at the silver man, which made that cowardly shining person shriek.
"What I'm saying is that I can take you almost at the end of the journey. Before this journey ends, we must sacrifice someone to stay here while the rest can go free. However, at that point, my companions have all... been taken by our Lord Jesus Christ to God in heaven. That was why I stayed there while praying to the Lord God with my knees on the ground to allow those who came with me the salvation they deserve so they may enter God's pearly gates. Only a minute in my prayer, two of the Crawlers jumped in front of me with their monstrous gnarls while stomping their six legs on the ground, making the room shake. However, what they did instead is to just grab and pull me back to where I had started." I then placed my hand on my chest as I looked at their now grim faces. "But do not fret! Because of the people who came with me, I knew exactly how to beat this dungeon now! Grim as it may sound, but we have to face the fact that the death of the three people with me gave me the insight I have right now to survive this place! And when the time comes that we have to leave someone in this dungeon, I am more than willing to take that role."
"You're gonna sacrifice yourself?" The policeman said with a raised eyebrow as he leaned his body back away from me.
"Such is a sacrifice I am willing to take." I nodded with a peaceful smile on my bloodied face. "I've completed my prayer to the people I came with as I laid on the floor, and I do not want to utter the same prayers to you people. Allow me to take this peace."
"I..." The silver man said as he bit his silver lip. "I'm sorry... for misjudging you."
"And I forgive you, my son," I said as I placed my hand on the silver man's shoulder.
"Well, what are we waiting for then?" The salesman said as he placed his hand on his shoulders. "Let's go."
After he uttered those words, the noise of the gurgling shrieks of what sounded like gigantic insects hissed above the room's ceiling. Making all of the people around me alert as their spirits jumped back into flight mode. We then heard the tapping sound of multiple legs crawling all over the square room as the same bloodcurdling noise continued to reverberate all over us.
"Krrr-GRAAAGGHH!" The Crawlers screamed as if telling us to hurry and leave this place immediately.
"Follow me!" I said as I stood up while limping my feet to rush towards a metal door on the right side of the room. The door itself looked rusted and ancient with all sorts of bents and scratches all over the place. Thus, it was not a surprise for any of us that it creaked so loudly with such an unsavory noise that it almost made me want to throw up. "This door leads to the nest area."
I then hurriedly stepped out of the room but halted right away when I felt the forceful pull of someone behind me.
It was the policeman who pulled me as he showed his dazzling smile at me before he spoke. "I appreciate the hurry, but I really can't accept receiving help from someone I don't know. Look, my name is--"
"Stop!" I hurriedly placed my hands around the policeman's mouth with an alarmed frown on my face. "Don't!"
"What's the matter?" The salesman said as he walked towards the two of us.
"We shouldn't tell each other our names. Believe me, it will not help us later when we know our names! Please, please, please, bear with me!" I then pulled my hands away from the policeman who now looked like he's finally calm. "We can use call signs instead. I'm the priest," I said while putting a hand on my chest. "you're the policeman," I said as I pointed two fingers at the muscled man before me. "he's the salesman," I said while looking at the fat man beside me, "she's the nurse," I said while pointing at the timid lady behind the policeman, "and you... you can be silver man." I spoke with a chuckle while looking at the silver man.
I don't want them to know that my name is Antonova since I'm reasonably sure they've heard of my family at least somewhere in their group. I also don't want to use fake names since I might forget it later. I'm sure this lie would work best for me and for the rest of us.
"Well, you sound awfully energetic, father." The salesman sneered as he continued to go on to the next area.
"I have no choice, sir." I chuckled as I proceeded to walk along this dirty and dark hallway with no end in sight.