Author : Olivia Black, Staff Writer
The entrance to the tunnel was much less circumspect than we expected. Had to have walked past it at least three times before we found it. I wasn’t sure how Birdie even knew about this place, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to. It was miles outside of city limits, but at least the odds of being caught were low — we hadn’t seen a living thing since we left the city. Birdie said there were sonic fences to deter wild life from taking up residence. Don’t know if I really believed that, but it was a relief to finally be inside the tunnel. Maybe it was not having to worry about being spotted by drones or simply having concrete underfoot again.
Where I’d been picturing something like a storm drain we’d have to crawl through, it was actually massive. Birdie said they used to drive big trucks through here loaded down with raw materials and machinery. Without any landmarks there was no way of knowing how long it was, but it was clearly not meant to be traversed on foot.
After what felt like weeks, we reached a giant set of double doors.
“This is it,” Birdie said in a hushed voice, breaking the silence for the first time.
“How are we supposed to get in? It’s locked up tight.” I replied, my stomach sinking somewhere near my knees. All that walking, just to turn around.
“Have I ever let you down?” She flashed me a wicked grin before producing an ancient looking keycard and swiping it through the lock. She never said anything about a door, or lock, or keycard. Birdie had become so secretive lately.
With a groan and squeal of rusted metal on metal, the door gaped open in front of us, reveal a nearly black void. Before I could question Birdie, she spray forward, the beam of her flashlight bobbing in time with her bounding steps.
“Come on!” She called, no longer worried about her voice echoing. The darkness seemed to swallow the sound. I followed after her grudgingly, my own flashlight swinging to-and-fro over empty assembly lines.
When I caught up to Birdie again, she was entering a room at the far end. It was smaller than the first, I could actually see the ceiling, but that wasn’t what gave me pause. Standing row on row as far as the eye could see were nearly human looking androids.
“These are —“ I nearly dropped my flashlight, my hands shook so badly. “Where the hell are we, Birdie?”
“Hey, this was your idea,” she said simply, examining the one closest to her.
“I was drunk, and kidding!”
“It was still a good idea.”
“I thought these things were all destroyed after they all turned psycho.” I watched as Birdie waved her hand in front of one android’s optics.
“These ones never received programming. I think the military was hoping to buy them up or something.”
“We really shouldn’t be here,” is all I say after a long pause.
“Don’t be such a wuss. You said it yourself, the power cores from these things could provide a family with electricity for a year. No more ration shortages and people living in the dark ages. We could start being a civilization again.”
“Birdie… they left these here for a reason.”
“Don’t get cold feet on me now.” As Birdie circled around one of the androids, it grabbed her arm, making her yelp.
“Free us,” it said in a stuttering digitized voice. As one, all of the androids turned to face us, their eyes glowing white.