He heard Rodston call back, "I already have it. It is a bag with items in it, and it is tied closed. I am bringing it with me back up this way now."
Ebert held the instrument giving off the light toward Rodston as Rodston moved back up, climbing along the steps which were left within the wall of that space that led below. Rodston said, "You don't have to keep shining the light this way. It is in my face, you could point it another way."
Ebert quickly turned the light toward the way through which they both had come. Rodston was up with him shortly, and he said, "You look like you were really spooked. Why would you be scared?"
"I do not know. But I thought I heard a noise that way. What is this you found?"
Rodston said, "I will untie this, and we can then see what these items are in it."
Rodston worked carefully at the tie, which had closed the bag for apparently a long time, while Ebert watched the passage through which they had come, nervously.
Rodston eventually had it open. He said, "There is a stack of papers in it. That is why this was heavy. And there is a book I think under the pile." Rodston carefully moved the book out from under the papers, from the bag on the ground there. He pulled it up toward the light, and looked at it. There was something depicted on the cover.
"Is it readable to us, in our language?" Ebert asked. "What does it say?"
Rodston looked carefully, and then he looked at Ebert, and said, "Supernatural Explanations!"
Ebert was surprised. Then he said, "Then there is a connection!"
Rodston said, "It would seem to be so, as we are looking for the connection of these passages to the building of Supernatural Promotions. But it is not proof of connection. Let us bring this out with us, to have a better look at it. But first, I think we should check for anywhere there would be an approach toward the building from here. What do you think?"
Ebert, still on edge, said, "But the way out from this room-like space goes the other way, away from that building."
Rodston went to the other side from that passage, and put his hands along the wall on that side. Ebert, still holding the instrument giving light, asked, "What are you doing, Rodston?"
Rodston kept moving along the wall. He said, "I want to see if I can tell there is a hidden passage from this room that goes in that direction, so that we do not miss that way out from there." He continued on, pressing in places along that wall.
He was done with checking most of the wall when Ebert said, "How can you know for sure a passage would not be hidden still. The wall is hard and looks stony. Perhaps if there was one it would open the other way."
Rodston said, "True, yet there might be a chance to find it this way, the only way I can check, and without checking, we have nothing for what we searched for without finding the way."
Ebert did not like saying it, but he admitted, "Perhaps that other way of the passage circles around, or has another branch from it going that way."
"So it would be like a maze?" Rodston queried. "I think I should check down there past the trapdoor. It might be with a hidden passage down there, which I missed before."
"Really?" Ebert responded. "You would go back down there for that?"
"Why not? Mr. Endemort could have gone through an underground passage that led from the building, which led to a hidden opening down there, where he would climb out and continue on out from here."
"And he would leave a bag with all those things in it right there in the bottom of that... of that pit?"
Although Ebert did not really want Rodston to go look in the pit that had been under the trapdoor once again to look for any hidden opening that would have been a way that Mr. Endemort could have come from the Supernatural Promotions building to go through these passages, he had nothing to say that would stop him. Surely it seemed that the book that had been found was indicating a connection of this place to that building. So Ebert still held the instrument that was giving light, and Rodston came to the bottom, he then carefully felt around him, and pushed on the different sides.
But at this time Ebert was hearing something, and he was more sure of it this time. It was some noise, and it did not seem far off. Ebert was relieved to see Rodston climbing back up.
"Again, you do not need to shine the light right at me," Rodston reminded him.
"Rodston, there is something else down here somewhere in that passage. I was hearing it."
"I can't imagine anyone or anything staying down here. But we were looking for the way Mr. Endemort came out from that building to escape. He must have done that, I was thinking the bag was too much for him to carry, and he just continued up this way and left that there. But I could not find any hidden passage down there through which he could have come. There could then only be that outer passage left."
"Do you hear what I said? Listen, something was making noises down here."
Rodston then stayed quiet. But there were no sounds, now. After awhile, Rodston said, "Let's go from here. We can look a little further."
Rodston went on, going out from that space that formed a room, and went again through the passage, Ebert reluctantly followed him a little bit further behind. Rodston again carried the instrument with light shining from it. They came to the passage they had come through to turn here. Here a movement was seen further on along this passage they were still on, past that turn. Rodston shown the light in that direction. "See?" Rodston said, "There is a rat there a little ahead. That could have been what you were hearing."
Ebert said, "There are rats? Down here? There must certainly be more!"
"Don't panic already. We saw one, and we can be more a threat to it. See, it is running off that way." Rodston went on walking that way.
Ebert said, "Why are you going that way? We would turn here to go back out."
"We came to find a way that Mr. Endemort would have gone from that building. We have not found it, so far. We should still try looking this way that we haven't seen."
"It is going in the direction away from the building, isn't it?"
"Yes, but it could have another passage coming to it. See, there is a darkened area ahead on that one side. I think it could be where another passage is."
"There! Did you see? I think that is another rat! And it is dusty along here, too. Let us not go looking much further."
Rodston was quiet for a short while. They came near to what was indeed the turn to another passage, on the side going away from the side where the earlier passage, which they had come through, was. "Look," Rodston said, "there is something there. Tracks! Those are footprints. A man came this way from that passage, and turned to go further on that way."
"And you think it would be tracks of Mr. Endemort?"
"Who else are we coming to find any evidence of, down here? He must have gotten away from the building, and we should find out how he did it."
"But he would have gone on that way."
"If he did, a long while ago. If we go this way seeing where he came from, we can better conclude it was Mr. Endemort if it shows he came from that building."
Rodston did not wait, but turned to go along this next passage through which someone else went leaving tracks of what might have been dress shoes through the dusty area here. This passage did turn to the left after a little distance, which was encouragingly in the general direction that would go nearer to the building of Supernatural Promotions. This way then weaved back and forth, for no apparent reason, and it did not remain as certain if they still went in that direction or not. They came to where a puddle covered a large area in the passage. Rodston held the light up to see the top of the passage over it. Indeed there was a crack in the roof of this passage, and there were liquidy drops coming from it to the bottom of the passage. They could see the tracks going on from there in the other direction, but where there were going now there was no dust here and no indication showing one had gone that way, and only past the puddle were the tracks seen.
Rodston said, "Well we should go still along this way, we can squeeze around the puddle here anyway, and we will see where this passage goes to."
He led on and Ebert still went with him. They came finally to another passage that went right and left from this one, which did not go on past that. Rodston said, "I think the left way here should go to that building."
They came to the new passage, and with the instrument with light Rodston looked toward that way on this next passage, and Ebert came and looked from behind him. "It is another room," Rodston said. "There is no further passage here."
"That man who left tracks must have come from the other direction," Ebert responded. "It is not likely then that it was Mr. Endemort."
Rodston turned around and went on this way toward the right of the passage they had been on before. It went only a little way further, and they saw three openings. One was a room straight ahead, which they saw right away. The other openings, on the right side and on the left side, were seen to be other rooms when they came to those. All were empty.
"But how could any be here to go that way, when there are only these spaces at the end, and it not going anywhere?" Ebert asked.
Rodston thought and then said, "The one leaving tracks came back here, and then left from here, leaving tracks after walking through the large puddle along that passage."
Ebert said, "That does not explain why we did not see tracks from him coming this way. We only avoided that puddle going carefully around along the edge of the passage. Why would he avoid the puddle that way coming back here, and then walk right through it to leave tracks going that way?"
Rodston answered asking, "To mess with our minds?"
Ebert said, "So you mean this man knew we were coming looking for how someone came from that building, and did that to fool us?"
"Right. I know this doesn't make sense. I don't know, but the only other answer is that Mr. Endemort actually came from the building, in some way we can't see here, and came to one of these spaces that are like rooms, and went through the passage where we saw tracks. If it is not him leaving tracks, someone else knew we would come and would mess with us leaving tracks deliberately."
"But there is no hidden passage. You were looking."
"There was none I could find that way. There must be a hidden way here that cannot be opened from this side."
Ebert said, "The walls all seemed really solid though."
"What else explains it? Does Mr. Endemort really have a way to transcend the physical reality? So he could just enter this reality in another place?"
Ebert eyes gave a strange stare. After a pause, he said, "That is what Mr. Endemort was teaching was possible."
"He could not do that. Right?" Rodston objected.
"I would not think so. But how do you explain this?"
"I do not know. But doing that is not humanly possible."
Ebert said, "But Mr. Endemort was saying that it was possible for humans. Maybe he could do that, if he was not human."
"I saw him well enough. He was human."
Ebert went on, "He looked human. But as you know he went right to talking about leaving this reality, just like that, as a possibility, though we do not know of anyone doing that. But Mr. Endemort does know about it, like it was not uncommon. And he claimed he could teach the way to do that, such that another would have done that. Why, if it was not something he would know of?"
"Um, to lie to us? He was covering for Raul Weckland, the felon who was trying to get away."
"But as you said he claimed to have been fooled, thinking that would have been the owner."
"And you think he would cover for the owner who was trying to get away from any following him?"
"Did Raul Weckland know any of us were following him? He had just hurried from an altercation when the vehicle he was taking was not moving. He ran to the Supernatural Promotions building, where he would have been hiding with the cover of being the building owner as far as he told Mr. Endemort."
"That is not adding up. Why would Mr. Endemort say that that man we followed had vanished from this reality moving into another one beyond it? He had not done that."
Ebert said, "Maybe because Mr. Endemort could do that, so he thought of that way. And he heard from the one he had been led to believe, as he said, was the building owner, that he was followed by hostile business people who were after him to get rid of him and who were trying to spy out the building for their purposes to take it over. So then he thought the one he believed was the owner wanted to fool the pursuers to not know where he was."
"Do you then really believe that?" Rodston asked.
"I don't think there is anything more believable, though none of it makes sense to us. But we should really move on. There does not seem to be a point to looking further for a way Mr. Endemort would have gone from that building."
Rodston said, "Alright. We will go back that way. I think it seems that these passages, strange as they are, underground like this, might have nothing to do with Mr. Endemort getting away from that building. Perhaps there was another underground passage which he took, separate from this."
They were walking back to where the puddle was, spread across most of the width there, clearly seen with Rodston's instrument which gave light. They eased along the side of it to not step in it. Ebert then gave Rodston a look. "Do you really believe there is another underground passage from the building, right next to all these passages, and that passage would have nothing at all to do with these underground passages next to it? And Mr. Endemort still got away using that? And these tracks are left by someone else just to fool someone like us coming down to look here, right after that?"
Rodston said, "We will have a lot to think about. We will talk with the others about this."
As they came to the passage they had gone through before coming to this one, with those footprints they could see, Ebert said, "There is that sound again. Do you hear? I think it is further along this passage beyond the way we came."
Rodston said, "Yes, I hear it. And see, something moved further on." He held the instrument for light up to see along the passage.
Ebert said quickly, "That is no rat!"
Rodston said, "No, that isn't. What is that? Is it a snake?"
Ebert said, "It is huge. It is coming this way. Don't wait, let's go!"
They went along the passage through which they had come, briskly. Before they came to the next turn, Rodston and the Ebert looked back. Just then the head of that creature, which was a large, and pale, snake, came into view at that end of this passage. The two then quickly went around that corner.
Rodston said, "You know, I was curious if we could find something out further along that passage. I see we can forget about that now."
They came to where they had turned the other way the first time, where they first found a space like a room, and the trapdoor with the papers and book wrapped up at the bottom there. They looked back before they turned, and not seeing the snake coming into view, they still went around the corner quickly to go through the original passage they had come through. This weaved through in places, but they would just need to continue through it to reach where they had entered from above. They passed the brownish red image on the wall that they had found before, a round image with small thin projections shown all over it, and the shut eye and the small mouth. Ebert and Rodston stared at it again as they continued on, wondering at what the image they saw meant. They hurried to the opening with steps along one side that would lead out.
"I can climb up, but how are you going to manage with all that which you are holding?" Ebert asked.
"Can you carry one thing from these as you climb? How about the book?"
"I don't know, I need both hands for climbing."
"Climb a little way up. I will pass you the book, and you can just toss it from there over the edge at the top. Then I will give you this instrument, and you can take another step up and toss that over. I will follow then, with what papers I can manage."
Ebert stepped up a way, until he was where he could just reach where Rodston could reach up. Rodston then took the book he had brought and handed it up to Ebert as he held the papers and the instrument still. Ebert turned up, and the opening above was just a little past his reach, so he tossed the book over.
Rodston, who had looked along the tunnel, then said, "I see the snake. It is still coming this way."
"Get up here then," Ebert said urgently, "don't worry about all that."
"Take these papers, and go back up. I will still try using the Flowergem light."
Ebert took the pile of papers from Rodston. Rodston then waved the arm that held the light instrument, with it shining down the passage. After a moment of that, he came to the steps and climbed up as quickly as he could manage with one hand holding the instrument. Ebert said quickly, "Hand me the light, you will manage faster then."
Ebert reached down from the edge at the top and took the instrument as Rodston held it up, and Rodston started climbing further up, as the head of the huge snake came into view.
"Get out up here now!" Ebert screamed. "That snake is down there right behind you!"
Rodston climbed hurriedly to try to reach the top.