The Portal 2 - Chapter Three

Tim was panting, finally able to relax. Bucky and Leo had activated the
Portal and vanished through the oval sphere of light. The green light had
changed back to red, pulsated a couple of times and finally went off. Leaving
behind the Portal Stone which was humming faintly. Tim almost didn’t hear it
now. The power source was used up, their last crystal was gone. As far as he
knew, there were none of these crystals left anywhere in the Buckies’
universe. He prayed there really was another source of power that was able
to run the Portals. Tim hoped his new friends would return sooner rather
than later and bring this mysterious new power source with them.
“I promise, we will be back and will bring the power source with us.”, was
what Leo had said before they left. Tim had promised him to wait right here
at the Portal to meet him. He had told this to Leo in a hopeful but slightly
scared voice. He really wanted to believe in this new power that Leo’s dad
must have found on Leo’s home planet, but he also remembered how many
times since the war with the droids began they had been disappointed in their
search.
Tim sat down. For the first time he took a good look around. The tunnel
behind him was collapsed and cut off the Rockmonsters which were following
them. Ahead of him the Portal Stone emitted a dim light, besides that the
inside of the tunnel was very dark. Tim considered the possibility that there
was no other way out of this tunnel. But when he sniffed he caught a whiff of
fresh air. “There must be a direct connection of this tunnel to the planet’s
surface somewhere ahead” he thought to himself, and slowly got up. He
walked past the light of the Portal Stone into the darkness. He felt a breeze
now, but there was also something else.
First he thought he had kicked some loose rocks, making the scratching
sound himself. But it didn’t stop when he stopped walking. It was a rhythmic,
repetitive sound. He considered this for a moment, listening closely. The
sound was somewhere off in the dark distance. “Could it be the
Rockmonsters digging through the blockage behind him? Did the cave reflect
the sound so it sounded like it was coming from all directions?” Tim wasn’t
sure what to make of it. The rocks blocking the Monsters behind him should
hold them back for quite a while. He had seen the ceiling of the tunnel
collapse when Leo had fired into it. The collapse was massive and brought
down at least a hundred yards of the tunnel, maybe even more. He listened
again. Nothing. Then he heard it, a metallic scratching sound. It repeated
eight times and paused, then again. Eight scratches, stop. There was nothing
he knew that made that sound.
“I cannot just stay here and wait”, he thought to himself, “it might take a
while and I have to make sure this place is safe before Leo and Bucky
return.” He shouldered the light-beam gun that he had put down earlier and
walked further ahead. He usually relied on his sense of smell more than on his
eyes, but the only thing he smelled was the stale air of the tunnel and from
time to time a fresh breeze. He couldn’t see anything ahead of him, but he
heard the scratching sound loud and clear now. It came from straight ahead
and he estimated it was still a few hundred yards away. He could turn on his
gun to low intensity and use it as a light, but that would give him away
immediately to whatever awaited him down that tunnel. Something or
someone had to make that sound. He tried to move closer to the tunnel wall
to use the uneven surface as a way to hide if necessary. He made sure that he
walked without making any sound. His soft paws helped him to be extremely
stealthy. The tunnel wall was indeed very uneven and he had to walk around
boulders larger then himself several times. The sound was still ahead of him
and slowly got louder. The rhythm hadn’t changed. Eight slow scratches,
pause, repeat. He was sure now that it was metallic, the closer he got the
more surprised he was that their was no smell.
And then suddenly he knew why. He was expecting some creature but this
was no creature, this must be some sort of machine. He remembered that they
saw the monorail tracks earlier when they had first met the Rockmonsters.
These tunnels obviously were build or at least were used for building a
transportation system. It seemed unlikely that this was built by the
Rockmonsters. It was probably done by someone else, who needed rapid
transportation. But who? There was no record of any life on this planet. The
only spaceship the Buckies had ever sent here was lost on its mission. He was
now very close, the scratching sound of metal on rock filled the tunnel around
him. Tim took the light-beam gun and switched to the lowest possible power
and pointed the dim beam of light forward.
It was hard to see anything against the grey background of the tunnel. The
scratching stopped. He pointed the gun in the direction of the last sound he
had heard. There was something there, he just couldn’t see it clearly. It looked
like a metal pole, not just one, there were more. He counted eight and at that
point he realized that these poles looked a lot like legs. He pointed his gun
upwards to get a better view of whatever was carried by these legs, there was
a lot of dust in the air and it was hard to make out the details. Was it some
sort of machinery? Suddenly, out of the dust it came right at him. It was the
head of a giant metal spider. Unfortunately he had set the gun to low power,
and now it was to late to correct that mistake. He looked up one more time at
the metal head coming at him, before it got dark around him.