The hallways of the Sandglass facility were conspicuously dim, lit only by widely spaced emergency bulbs. The STAd room had been fully powered on, but it seemed to be the only room in the building that was.
“What’s with the lights, Benwright? It’s like a cave in here.”
The tech shrugged.
“The building’s been cut off from the main utilities, so we’re running on internal power. We keep just enough lamps going to keep us from bumping into stuff, but that’s all. Can’t waste any electricity on trivialities.”
He turned down one of the dark hallways, then unlocked a stair-well access door. It was still dark, but not the lights were green, instead of yellow. Eddie hung back, staring at Benwright suspiciously.
“Dat’s a purty strange color…”
“It won’t hurt you, trust me. Green makes it easier to see in low light. We never shut off the lights on the lower levels, so Vančura had us install green lamps in the less-used areas. They use a bit less power.”
Eddie didn’t look any less wary, but he nodded and followed Armelle down the stairs. Two stories later, the technician unlocked another door.
“Cover your eyes.”
It creaked open, letting a stream of friendly yellow light through the gap. They blinked, but he didn’t wait for them to adjust.
“Come on. We don’t exactly have a lot of time to spare. Vančura was expecting you, but he’s going to have to debrief the two of you. There’s a lot of work to do after that.”
He smiled at them, a little apologetically.
“Welcome to the clean-up crew and all that. Sorry about the mess.”
With that, he waved them into the hall and led the way to a set of double doors at the end. He tapped twice, then nodded to himself and turned to Armelle.
“Go on in. He’ll be waiting for you.”
“Thanks. What did you mean by ‘welcome to the clean-up crew’?”
Benwright started back down the hall, carefully avoided her eyes.
“Vančura will tell you all about it. I’ve got to get back upstairs. This place doesn’t guard itself.”
End Chapter 19– Part 3
Well, ya’ll, this is the last installment before Christmas. The next time you see Vančura and Co. it’ll be the day after Christmas. I guess that means it’ll have to be a really good one? After all, not many stories see two Christmases in a row, do they?
Merry Christmas, everybody!
Want to read the previous installments? They’re right here!
Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three,
Chapter Four, Chapter Five, Chapter Six,
Chapter Seven, Chapter Eight, Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten, Chapter Eleven, Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen, Chapter Fourteen Chapter Fifteen
Chapter Sixteen Chapter Seventeen Chapter Eighteen