Peering through the darkness, I saw a faint glimmer of light. I grasped Satoru’s hand tightly and approached carefully. As we walked, the tunnel gradually brightened. But as it did, the sounds of fighting grew louder as well.
If we went out right into the midst of the fight, we’d have no way to protect ourselves.
It was soon as bright as a moonlight night in the tunnel. Light was coming from an uphill path that curved to the right.
I hesitated for a moment then took a step forward. We couldn’t stay here forever. At any rate I wanted to go check that it really was an exit.
In the end, that small hesitation probably saved our lives.
Suddenly, there was a scream, and a queerat came tumbling down the curve.
It shuddered and twitched sporadically. As it tried to come this way, I saw that it was fatally wounded.
At the same time, I smelled something strange. Like rotten eggs. As I looked past the dying queerat, there was a flash of light, and smoke started drifting into the tunnel.
Don’t breathe in the smoke. That was my first instinct.
I wheeled around and dragged Satoru back the way we came as fast as I could.
But as we ran down the path, the smell didn’t abate. On the other hand, it became stronger.
As I started to panic, Satoru finally came around.
“It’s no use trying to run. We’re like mice in a maze,” he laughed.
“We’re not mice,” I snapped.
“Yeah we are,” he muttered completely nonchalantly. “When they’re smoked, mice run to the end of their holes.”