John peered through the mesh, his eyes adjusting to the strange glow. At one end of the room beyond, just out of sight, he could hear water running, a wheel creaked as wood and metal groaned a special rhythm. Directly in front of him were rows of cogged wheels. Each possessed a handle, each propelled by pairs of hands, large and small.

“It’s mostly men, to be honest, although every now and again we receive a clutch of young women through the doors. Mostly in the summer, when they get a bit… giddy. “

John shuddered. The conspiratorial leer on The Director’s face made him feel slightly sick – and very uneasy.

“Umm, what do you mean?”

“Now, now, surely you must understand. Nobody really chose to come down here, but then the more determined lot amongst them hadn’t really planned to be doing much of anything… afterwards.”

John watched the relentless up, down, round and round motion of the hands as they drove their wheels, which were attached to long, leather belts that reached high above, disappearing into the gloom.

“But, but, what about me? Where do I fit in? What the hell is this?”

“Mr Andrews! Come, come! You searched us out, you came exploring, you found us. You are truly destined to be here! Now, I do believe that I have the perfect spot to set you up.”

The grip on his upper arm, which had been in evidence ever since ‘The Grand Tour’ began, tightened. John found himself being steered down a long corridor, which became gloomier with each step. The man pushed open a door and shoved John in front of him.  The door clanged shut. Continue reading “Scoop!”