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   Chapter 30 No.30

Demonspawn By Christina Engela Characters: 5416

Updated: 2018-06-30 12:02

"So what do you think happened?" He asked Murphy, who had stuck by his left elbow like a well-trained German shepherd.

"He must've come round that turn back there." Murphy said slowly, working it out in his head. "Probably tripped, stumbled in the dark, dropped his flashlight back there, fell down there. Hell – a million things can go wrong in a dark, messed up place like this, so who knows?"

"Mark was a little night-blind, Commander, " One of the bystanders told him. He recognized the blond man as Johnson, another specialist from engineering. "It's possible."

"Was he with you?" Lofflin enquired. "Jacob, is it?"

"Yes sir. He was on my team. We were checking out some of the rooms back there, and I guess we kinda got a little split up… He must've carried on ahead of us on his own… uh, when we noticed he was missing, we tried calling him. Couldn't get him on the comlink – then we heard him scream."

"So nobody actually saw this happen?"

"No sir. We heard it. It sounded pretty frantic, sir – the screaming I mean, went on for a bit – but we couldn't find him. Then we saw his flashlight back there. Eventually we located him down there with the portascans."

"What d'you mean his screaming went on for a bit?" Lofflin asked, puzzled. He couldn't imagine anyone landing on that being able to do more than emit a short scream on the way down, and probably heavily distorted by the Doppler Effect.

"Yes sir, " Johnson replied, looking shocked and tired. "For a good few seconds. …And more than once, I think."

"It's a long drop down there, Specialist." Lofflin said tersely, pointing at the d

y saw anything, right? You just heard Pollard screaming?" Another round of silent nodding followed. "Now – are any of you injured?"

Everyone present shook their heads in apparent surprise to the accompaniment of a couple of subdued 'No, sirs'.

"Okay, so tell me then – if that's the way it happened, how come, up there – where there are no bits of metal he could cut or impale himself on – there's fresh blood splattered all over the walls?"

Flashlights were now suddenly being shone all around the corridor to where Lofflin had been pointing. A sudden chill ran through those assembled, including Lofflin. It was true! Hidden in the shadows above the opening to the shaft, where the others had failed to notice it before, there were splashes and spatters of wet red. Fresh blood. Not terribly much, but it was all over, like someone had stabbed into Mark Pollard and swung the blade around between strikes. Someone gasped in the silence. No amount of theorizing could explain that away. No accident could have done that. Murphy's slack-jawed expression told him enough.

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