Omega Rising, p.14Patrick Carman
They turned left and made their way down the corridor. The sound of their footsteps became echoey. Beside them, the row of red lights blinked three times, then went out.
“Huh,” Gabriel said. “Does this feel right to you?”
“Maybe they’re on a timer.” Carly pulled out her flashlight too. The dual beams made it somewhat easier to see the path in front of them.
“Oh, look!” Carly said. She hurried through the swath of light toward the thing that had caught her eye. “A flower. Isn’t it pretty?”
She bent to examine it. It was hard to tell in the darkness what color it was. Lavender, she thought, or something close. It had a broad flat face, sort of like a daisy, but with thick, round petals that felt full, like aloe leaves. It grew from a flexible, four-stranded stem that curved out of a moss-lined crack in the wall.
When Carly reached down and touched the stem, she wasn’t intending to pluck the flower. The stem strands severed seemingly of their own accord. They coiled around her index finger and thumb, gripping like a baby’s fist.
“Cool,” Gabriel said.
“Why is it growing indoors?” Carly wondered.
“Um, it’s not…,” Gabriel said, coming up closer behind her. He swept the flashlight over the wall she was crouched near. It wasn’t smooth, as if cut by man-made tools. It was made of jagged stone.
The realization dawned slowly. “We’re not in the Jackal building anymore,” Carly said. This tunnel was more than three times as tall as they were—at least fifteen feet high—and just about that wide. Like a circle. A circle chewed out by giant stone-cutting teeth.
“These are the Sawtooth caves,” Gabriel said. He shone the flashlight back the way they had come. All jagged stone, as far as they could see.
“When did it change?” Carly said. “Why didn’t we notice?” As she spoke, the flower tendrils coiled snugly, tucking deeper into the spaces between her fingers.
“I don’t know. The difference must be subtle at first,” Gabriel said. “We were focused on finding Chris.”
“Let’s get back. We should find him before we go farther,” Carly said.
Gabriel agreed. “We need the maps.”
“And the Weavers.”
They started walking back the way they came. The hallway seemed much longer and darker now.
Carly was the first to hear the scraping sound. “Did you hear that?”
“It’s nothing,” Gabriel said. “Let’s just get back to the Jackal compound.”
The scraping sound grew louder. Or…closer.
It was a shushing of leathery skin on stone. “Something’s coming,” Carly said.
Whatever Gabriel was going to say in response was drowned out by the grind of stone-cutting jaws. A massive Sawtooth Land Eel slid around the corner in front of them, gnashing and slathering.
Patrick Carman was obsessed with the idea of traveling into space when he was a kid. He would have loved being a Voyager! Exploring planets, meeting aliens, and saving the world—does it get any better than that? He is also the author of The Black Circle (a 39 Clues book), the Skeleton Creek series, the Trackers series, 3:15, and the Dark Eden series. When Patrick isn’t lost on distant planets, he spends his free time supporting literacy campaigns and community organizations, fly-fishing, playing basketball, golfing badly, doing crosswords, watching movies, dabbling in video games, reading (lots), and (more than anything else) spending time with his wife and two daughters.
Visit him online at patrickcarman.com.
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#1 New York Times bestselling author of I Funny
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Patrick Carman, Omega Rising
Omega Rising by Patrick Carman / Science Fiction / Young Adult have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes