A sudden puff of air blew upward and over the banks of the underground river, carrying with it a sparkling confetti of brass plaque that smelled oddly like whisky and leather; that odd smell cut right through and sweetened the stink of the sewer, long after the shards had sunk into the tumbling, dark waters.
With the plaque gone, Chuckie and Ducks’ hands dropped into their brother, Andrew’s, palms; Joseph instinctively grabbed Andrew’s wrist and the forearm of the nearest twin.
Ducks pulled her arm away and looked up at the wild-haired man, saying guardedly, “I don’t know you…don’t talk to strangers.”
“But I know you, I think. You’re Bethany’s, aren’t you?”
Further down the tunnel, Bethany and Eloise vaulted the gate with a rusty rattle; their steps pounding and sliding on the muddy walkway as Bethany bellowed, “Get off my kids!”
Shaking, Joseph straightened his long legs and stood, turning in the bioluminescent glow of the tunnel.
© Liz Husebye Hartmann (2022)
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