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Hope muttered to herself, "Ask too many questions...", with a mocking tone in her hushed voice.

She walked over and grabbed the magnum from the table. She crouched down and aimed at the lock of the door.

"BAM!", the gunshot rung through the bleach white room with a roar. The equally white door swung open. Hope gripped the gun tighter, nervously awaiting for something to show itself.

---

Max jumped when he heard the gunshot. He pulled his handgun from his belt and spun around. His shakey and eratic breathing joined in with the faint dripping. He wondered where the dripping was coming from.

Curious, he backtracked alitte, until he felt something tap his arm. He stopped, lowering his eyes slowly. Through the faint light of the tunnel, he saw a small dark stain on his light blue shirt sleeve.

Again, he felt it, this time on his shoulder. The dripping had stopped, replaced by a soft growling. Max looked up quickly, the reptilian creature had its claws dug deep in the dirt of the ceiling.

He backed away slowly, pointing his gun at the creature's back, which seemed oblivious to his presence. Anger started to rise inside of him, feeling the burn of the scratch on his arm.

"This is all your fault!", he yelled, getting ready to pull the trigger. The creature's head jerked to the side with a strange movement.

"You heard me. You don't understand, huh?", he growled as he aimed at the middle of the creature's back.

---

Hope heard the sound of a voice from underneath the room, she darted over to the door, closing it. Then ran over to the trap door and pulled it open.

---

Max tensed up more as the clean white light poured into the dark tunnel, causing the creature to stir.

"Max?"

"Shut that! Now!"

Max fired his gun, but he was too late. The creature dropped from the ceiling and ran straight towards the opening.

Hope gasped when she heard the heavy trotting and slammed the door shut. She backed away and aimed the gun at the door.

Max fired again as he ran after the beast, now scraping its claws against the door.

Max breathed in deeply and yelled, "Hey!"

It turned its heard and sneered at him, then jutted both its clawed hands up, piercing the door.

"Christ!", Hope backed into the wall when she saw the dirt stained claws come through the door, then pull it down through the hole.

It leaped up quickly and landed on the table in the middle of the room. As Hope's eyes widened in horror, the creature's eyes flashed with hunger. It growled softly and bore it fangs, not noticing Max carefully crawling up through the hole.

"Hope, shoot it!"

The creature's head spun around, Max fired, a bullet pierced its shoulder.

"Raiiigh!", it screeched in pain.

Hope snapped out of the trance of fear she was in and aimed at the chest of the beast.

"BAM!"

The creature let out one last painful shriek and fell limp onto the table.

Hope breathed in slowly, and let her hands fall to her sides. Max walked over to her quickly, "Are you all right?"

She squinted a little as she looked at the slain creature, "I want,", she paused, "I'm getting out of here."

"We should go get Rob first."

"Yeah.", she wiped her sleeve over her forehead, then ran her hand through her hair.

Both of them stared silently at the floor for a few minutes.

"Hope?"

"Hmm?", she looked up at him.

He gently put his hand on her shoulder, "Let's go."

"What time is it?", she asked as she nodded.

Max pushed his sleeve up, and turned his watch to face him, "It's 3:18."

"I'm tired...", Hope said wearily.

"I know. I am too. But, this will be over soon."

She looked at him, almost as if she was skeptic, then her face softened. She cleared her throat and smiled, "Let's go find Rob."

Max nodded and smiled in agreement. The changes going on inside him were forgotten for this little while.




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