CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and SEVENTY-FIVE
Two of Troy’s drones buzzed over their head toward the locked door. Troy had jokingly named these drones “Trece and White Boy” after their teammates who usually guarded the door. Since Trece and White Boy couldn’t be here, at least the drones would be on the watch. These two, combined with the drone Troy’d set in the field, would “stand guard” while the team was inside.
The floor and walls of this part of the mine were dirt. They walked on a steady pitch down into the earth. The mine was clear of debris and their way was easily made.
Seth O’Malley held up his hand in a gesture of stop.
They stopped walking. Alex stepped up to Seth. He was so focused on his thoughts that he didn’t seem to notice that she was there.
“What is it?” Alex said in a low tone.
“Opening,” Seth said in such a low voice she had to watch his lips to make sure she heard correctly. “Either to another mine or a different mine.”
“Part of this mine?” Alex raised her eyebrows with surprise.
“No salt,” Seth said. He pointed ahead. “Salt.” He pointed to forty-five degrees, “No salt.”
She gave him a curt nod. He pointed to forty-five degrees to his right.
Alex waved Troy forward. She pointed in the direction Seth had said. He nodded. Margaret turned around and Troy got another tennis ball sized drone from the backpack she was carrying. He tossed it in the air. The drone zoomed ahead of them and then disappeared down a nearly invisible floor to ceiling crack in the wall.
Alex, Raz, Troy, and Seth leaned over the tablet computer. They watched the drone fly through a narrow opening. The drone reached what looked like some kind of living space. The floors were covered in rugs. Old, sagging furniture lined the walls. Then the drone found a desiccated, rotting corpse of what looked like a child. The child had a yellow star armband that said Jude on it. The child had been shot.
They collectively sucked in a breath.
The drone counted at least fifteen bodies — all with the yellow star and the word “Jude” on their arms. The few adults and many children, including an infant, had been shot multiple times.
“Machine gun,” Raz said.
Alex nodded. Troy turned on the drone’s powerful light. The room flashed with light. This had clearly been these people’s home. They were caught while they were eating dinner. Food had dried and rotted on the table.
The drone scanned the walls of the room until it came to hover near what might have been an entrance — a wooden trap door. The pointed end to long, ugly nails haphazardly protruded on this side of the door.
Someone had entered this hiding place, killed everyone inside, and sealed the entrance.
“Let’s leave the drone there in case someone comes in the door,” Alex said. “Do you have enough?”
“I’ll figure out where it is when we get out of here,” Margaret said.
“Good,” Alex said. “Thanks.”
They went back into formation. Leena and Royce turned to look at Seth. He gave them a nod and they continued to creep forward. Seth held up his fist to stop again.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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