Saturday, November 13, 2010

Storytelling Exercise: Dwarf Story, Part 1: Into the Tunnel

I am walking through a tunnel under New York City. I didn’t know it was here; I don't suppose anyone did. I thought I heard a voice through a crack in the wall of the subway system, and when no one was looking, I moved the bricks aside, as they were unexpectedly loose. I move cautiously through, using an LED keychain flashlight to help me see. The walls are brick for the first thirty to fifty yards, but suddenly and irregularly turn to walls of dirt and stone. I listen and hear dripping, not very far off. I cannot see light at the other end of the tunnel. I walk farther until I can hardly see the light behind me, and still there is no sign of the end. I whistle a tune - the echo is far away. A small voice calls from the location of the dripping. I need to hurry; I mustn’t miss the last train home, yet I want to explore, and save the voice if there is a person in trouble. I walk faster, towards the dripping and the voice. I whistle again, feeling it is more innocuous than speech if someone dangerous resides here. Someone whistles back. The tunnel twists suddenly to the left, and as I peer down it, a lantern is lit, above. The ground, which has been hard soil and stone until now, is moist where I stand, and forwards of me. It seems the tunnel slopes downwards. I shine my flashlight ahead, take a few steps, and lanterns suddenly light on the ceiling, one by one, for about half a mile – where the tunnel appears to dead end. I turn off my light and place it in my bag. To my left, I see a wooden door, oddly shoved into an oddly-cut alcove. Cautiously, and with a whistle, I open it – to find a fairy-tale-style dwarf sitting at a stolen school-desk, whistling and whittling a whistle.

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