Though the tunnels were dark, there seemed to be a glow emanating from the rocks, albeit weak, that provided just enough illumination for my explorations. The tunnels themselves were impressive in both size and construction – vaulted brick tubes strengthen by great metal ribs, they had obviously taken some considerable effort and resources to build. But by whom? And for what purpose?
What made them all the more puzzling was the inclusion of glass sections in the roof – surely these tunnels couldn’t have been open to the sky, could they? If they had, who had covered them over and why? Judging by the areas where Mother Nature had begun to reclaim the subterranean realm with rock fall and mildewed entropy, I guessed the last custodian’s of the tunnels were long gone leaving their labyrinthine secrets to the new masters of Steelhead to use as they saw fit.
A ladder hung down from a manhole cover high above, and I calculated that this section ran under and along Boomtown Parkway, the street Slade Outfitters was on. I turned an looked further down the tunnel – what if other shops also had hidden cellars, I thought. Maybe some evidence of the Bing Kong could be found further ahead. Nervously I pushed on until I came to a large brick archway leading into a cellar. I peeked around and saw more crates!
Could these be more of the same boxes I saw under Slades? More of the mysterious “KEEP DRY! DO NOT DROP!” boxes? There was only one way to find out. I gingerly crept in to the cellar, my senses on full alarm in case of sudden attack. I inched my way nearer and near the boxes until, at last, in the weak light I could make out some lettering on them: “STEELHEAD BRAND SLAMON”. I was surprised, to say the least, but a can left out and a rummage through an open box proved their contents to be no more fishy than, well, fish.
I had drawn a blank. Night was falling and I certainly did not relish a night lost in pitch black tunnels so I decided that discretion was far and away the better part of valour and resolved to take my concerns up with the sheriff the very next day. For now, I could do no more than climb the ladder into the street and head home on my trusty bicycle.
It was as I emerged into fresh air that a thought struck me. Who on earth would be stockpiling so much salmon? I looked down the street and mentally calculated how far I had travelled back and forth in the tunnel beneath my feet. If my calculations were correct that the shop on the corner would be directly above the cellar and the salmon horde… but whose was it?
I walked over, my shoes echoing on the cobbles as I went, until I stood outside… ECLIPSE DESIGNS! It would seem the town’s boss elf had quite the taste for salmon! Given all that had happened in the last few hours, I burst into a fit of riotous laughter that sped my weary legs home and to bed. Whatever the Bing Kong tong were up to, it would wait until tomorrow…
The End… For Now!
All the “The Mysterious Note” posts can be read here.