The TUNNEL OF HORROR
(1)Beneath Delver's hall, past the barrels and storage. Further into the barely lit darkness where each footstep stirs the dust and swirls the air, revealing massive spider webs is a door. Rusted, aged, and barely touched, in scrawling, blood-dripping letters it reads above: The Tunnel of HORROR! Turn back! DO NOT ENTER!
Yet the door opens before any who approach it seemingly by itself and emits a metallic groan and sound that seems much like a scream.
The smell that assaults the senses is one of age, mildew, rust, long-long dead things. The scurrying of rats and rattle of old chains hung across broken stone can be heard but barely seen in torches that glow sickly green or ghostly blue.
But the brave can steel themselves and venture forward into the dark. A short wooden spiral stair case that shouldn't be able to hold any weight groans, creaks and cracks loudly in the susurruses of whispers; rattles; clanks; a dead and dusty breeze that carried the smell of rot growing stronger. Perhaps the senses begin to tell the mind to turn back now. At the end of the stair case is a small turn to the right, where the first of many horrors are to be found.
A massive web that spans the entirety of the tunnel must be passed through. Sticky and clinging, a struggle may ensue in an attempt to pass through unscathed. The cadence of chitinous, many legs is the only warning given when adventurers round the corner to find hurtling down upon them a spider of monstrous proportions. RUN before devoring begins!
Those who survive the first horror find themselves in a hallway filled with the familiar (or unfamiliar) moans of the dead or dying. All along the walls broken shelves clutch glass jars filled with gory remains. Half-formed, deformed eyes, parts and pieces. Some of the glass has been broken and ropes of guts lay decaying--some of them seem to have been chewed upon.
The sharp scent of formaldehyde prevails. There are dark splashes along the stone. Blood and bone is everywhere. In the dark with lights swaying, bits and pieces of ancient medical equipment lay rusting. Bodies curled in various positions of horror and pain. Under what appear to be hospital beds or sick-cots, shadows move. Anyone who approached too closely may find the fright of their life as the bodies on the beds bolt upright and moan or scream while hands under the beds flail and clutch for ankles. Occasionally for the delight (or disgust) of some passer-bys, The Doctor, a gruesome figure dressed in the still-dripping-skin of his victims, the stump of a hand replaced with a whirring, spinning saw appears, maniaclly laughing and calling for new, "patients," while lunging at the hapless who pass through.
Managing to outrun the doctor you find yet another sharp turn within the Tunnel. Leaving behind the sounds of agony behind you only brings new ones. The change is sharp--this section of the tunnel gut-wrenching displays various forms of horrific torture with victims some victims still alive...some...not-so-much. A young, gray-skinned girl chained to the floor, slumped, seems quiet dead until motion stirs. Her head jerks up unnaturally and she cries in a voice still hoarse from screaming while alive: "HhhhHhhhelp meeeeeeeEEee! Ssssssave meeeeeeee! Goooooooo OO back. HHhhhelp!"
Along the walls, bloody bodies hang from rusted manacles that rattle and twitch, some of them so decayed that only their torso remains.
As feet scurry, shuffle, or run by the screeching Iron Maiden, manacles and bodies, the air is permeated with a strange WHICK, WHICK, WHICK
sound. Across the tunnel floor in strange green lights a giant half-moon shadow swings back and forth. To the shock of some, a woman strapped to a dripping table, half-severed at the waist lays beneath a behemoth of a giant Pendulum, it's wicked edges shredding the air as it drops lower. And lower. And lower. And lower. A party of people must pass beneath it and beside her. As they do, the Pendulum drops! Oh gods no! It'll--it drops into the half-severed torso of the woman who, at the precise moment of passing, shrieks and ungodly, hair raising cadence of terror and unending pain, flailing and reaching for those who pass. It is a good idea that one RUNS least they become that unfortunate woman.
Leaving the unsettling sight and sound of the pendulum woman behind, a set of crumbling stone steps lead the soul ever deeper into the gloomy depths. Along the stair case, eroding arches hold the blackest of shadows, concealing what may lay within. However, as if by the sense of the dead from the living, when halfway down the steps--along the walls the most heinous of creatures burst from the darkness to gibber and bellow at both sides.
Making it down the stair case reveals a zig-zagging corridor that ends with, barely seen in the jumping ink of writhing blackness is the wooden elevator that leads to The TOMB! So it is rumored. Perhaps those brave enough to make it this far feel the fluttering of hope in that distant circle of normal torch light. But first, there is one last step to the journey. They must make it through the hallway.
The hallway stinks with death. The sharp corners appear oddly boarded up, forcing those who take the last leg of the journey to be pressed together and near. Eerie blue lights flicker behind the boards which, sometimes, reveal they have been bitten and clawed at. From the inside.
Though one might think they have passed the test of the Tunnel, they are faced with one, last trail. In a sudden motion, hoards of undead captured behind the haphazardly sealed boards hungrily appear. Their visages gruesome, maggots and roaches writhing from sockets and skin. They tear and claw and reach for the living--their food.
Just as it seems there is no end in sight. Just as the horrible moaning, shuffling, wood strained to what is almost breaking--the end is in sight. The brave adventurers have reached the wooden elevator which plunges guests further down to where The TOMB! awaits. The rickety wooden elevator seems less frighting and more of a safe haven as the grisly sights are left behind.
(9) Step on the elevator, my friends, and be welcome in The TOMB!