A Hard Rain

The Wax-Ways

Wherein the world is built.

“So… it goes anywhere?”

Crawford looked on with slight bemusement as Agent Doyle spread the dark red substance around the perimeter of the door.

“Not anywhere, no. Just where whatever bored these tunnels happened to go. Think of it like this; in the olden times, some sorta worm ate a buncha holes in our reality apple. We can gain access to these doors, and they can take us from one hole to another. Got it, rookie?”

“I think so. So… it goes anywhere?”

Agent Doyle sighed. This wasn’t his first new hire, and it wouldn’t be his last. Still, he found himself annoyed at the reaction this one was having to the earth-shattering secrets he was imparting.

“Not… Necessarily. I’m sure you’ve taken one of these, considering where you started your ‘career.’ Think of it as a tunnel that doesn’t necessarily follow the laws of physics. The Pacific Northwest has a bunch of these.”

“Well, that explains a bit. Is there anywhere they don’t go?”

“Nowhere that crosses an ocean or a mountain range. And they don’t work when either side is dark. Other than that, it’s all about what address you know.”

“Address? You mean this extradimensional tunneling system works on the same mechanics as the US Postal System?”

“Not quite.”

There was a flash, and Crawford covered his eyes. When it seemed to have passed, Agent Doyle opened the door, revealing a stone-lined passage.

“Make sure you only use passages that you or a trusted agent have opened. Otherwise, you might wind up anywhere… wherever the holder of the Sepulcher Crown wants you. That’s rule number one.”

Crawford peered into the passageway. What had previously been a door into the prison cellar was now a long and winding corridor leading… well, god knows where. He stepped inside, overcome with a sense of deja-vu.

“Well… that’s something new.”

“Damn skippy. C’mon, we’ve got a walk ahead of us.”

Agent Doyle stepped inside, letting the heavy iron door swing shut behind him… hadn’t the door been cheap plywood a second before?

“Get a move on, Agent McCormick. We’ve got work to do.”

Agent Doyle started walking down the long stone corridor, and Crawford followed. For what seemed like an hour they walked, until Crawford passed by a familiar door, festooned with locks.

“Hey, Nate. Where does this one lead?”

“No idea. We’ve learned to ignore the Locked Door. Though we did take notice when a couple locks happened to undo themselves… Any ideas on how that came about?”

Crawford paused. “Nope. No idea.”

“I figured.” Doyle kept walking.

After another hour, Doyle took a sharp right turn down a corridor that Crawford had hardly even noticed; if he hadn’t known better, he would’ve assumed Doyle willed it into existence.

“Where we headed, Nate? Guantanamo? Abu Dhabi?”

“Nothing so exciting as that, Agent McCormick.”

Doyle settled his view upon a heavy steel door and examined it. He gave a satisfied nod and swung it open, revealing a simple spiral staircase beyond. Doyle gave McCormick a significant look, then began to ascend. Crawford paused for a moment, and then started taking the stairs two at a time in an attempt to keep up; for a man who appeared to be in his mid-forties, Doyle was alarmingly fast.

“So… spiral staircase, eh?” Crawford panted out, “I’m hoping you’re not stereotypical enough to, uh…” Crawford reached a window.

“Enough to have a secret base in a national monument? Not at all, Agent McCormick. This is simply where the Wax-Way comes out.”

Crawford peered out at the twilight. It was late afternoon, and the sun was just setting over Washington DC. Crawford peered through the window, searching for landmarks. He saw the Capitol Building, the White House, everything but…

“You have to be kidding me. The… Wax-Way? It comes out under the Washington Monument?”

“More like the Monument was built to hide the Wax-Way. But aside from that, yes, you have the right of it.”

Crawford stared.

“I see, for once, I have you at a loss. Perhaps it’s best you keep that attitude, Agent McCormick, because I feel I’m not exaggerating when I say you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”



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