13.The Altar

Abel could hear the sound of running water. It was coming from the altar. He approached it crawling on all fours, standing had not occurred to him yet. In the centre of the alter the rock wall was exposed and from it there trickled a small but constant flow of clear water. Abel, his mouth still feeling like a chalk mine, flung himself towards it, only to be whacked across the back with a large stick.

The mad harmonica lady stood growling at him like a wild cat, stick clasped in one hand, lantern in the other. Then he heard voices, lots of them coming nearer and nearer. To avoid being hit again he scrambled  into a corner.

Suddenly the room was full of people. Men and women, maybe 60, maybe more. All silent. No one seemed to notice Abel, even the harmonica lady seemed uninterested in him now. She was kneeling down beside the spring.

One by one each person knelt down at the alter. Each took their turn, slowly, rhythmically. They closed their eyes, bent and sipped the water. And each time the harmonica lady dipped her figure in the water and made some kind of symbol on the person’s head.  Then each took out a jug and filled it with spring water before returning to the crowd.

For a minute Abel was convinced he could see Steve in the crowd, but it was too dark to be sure.
After what seemed like years the crowd slowly started to leave the room. Abel, his back still hurting from where the stick had hit, creeped out with the others. They were a scruffy bunch so he blended in.
Tunnel after tunnel they walked, one being no more memorable than the next. It was so dark Abel found he was moving with the pace of the feet of the crowd and could not see where he was going. Still it was somehow restful this steady hippnotic pace leading him along, so much so that on waking up on what appeared to be a shelf at the side of a tunnel, a slightly damp blanket flung over him, he had no idea how he  got there. Beside  him lay a packet of Spletzer-Martins.

3. Underlondon

Sketch of a rat on the back of an Individual Learning Plan

Please Note –  I cannot be held responsible for what may happen to you should you follow my instructions.

At Baron’s Court Station, after you’ve been past the barriers, take the left staircase down to the west bound platform. At the bottom of the staircase quickly swing yourself off the platform and on to the track.

You’ll find a small pebbled area running along side the track only just wide enough for you to walk  along. Walk east, the opposite direction to the trains, towards Earls Court. About 50 metres from the station the tracks separate, the District line stays above ground and the Piccadilly  goes underground. Follow the Piccadilly track. You’ll find, once your eyes become accustomed to the dark, that its quite easy to walk along here, sticking closely to the walls of the tunnel for safety.

As you feel your way along you’ll relise that there are lots of openings and gaps in the tunnel wall. About 12 metres into the tunnel you’ll find an opening slighly larger than the others and that if you run your fingers along you won’t come to the wall, but to more and more open space. You can crouch down and squeeze yourself into it, but I wouldn’t advise it yet, not till you know more about its methods and madness.

This is a connecting passage, there are many of them and they connect between the different tunnel networks sprawling under London. So, as a traveller of Underlondon you can go from lost rivers and sewers, to jewel deposit chambers, from nuclear hideouts to the passageway running from the Harrods shop to its warehouse, the old Post Office underground railway to escape passages from the palace. You can in fact get almost anywhere in London via these passages, going unnoticed by the masses above you.

One might think that with todays fear of terrorism and the monitoring of almost everything these passages would be shut off or atleast heavily guarded, but no. Dark, damp and rat ridden they are protected by, as Douglas Adams named it,  an SEP field (somebody else’s problem), making them impossible to detect by anyone who isn’t deliberatly trying to find them.

And who in there right mind would want to find them? For here be monsters!

Next – 4. Eyes in the Machines

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2. Abel

1. What YOU need!