The narrow tunnel appeared to have no end. Irene kept her head low to avoid contact with the roof. In the thick darkness she could hardly see Stagman crawling ahead of her. The desire to panic was overwhelming. She hated heights, but closed in spaces truly terrified her.
The sharp stones and gravel on the tunnel floor bit into their hands and knees, making progress torturously slow.
Stagman groaned with frustration as he tried to secure the small torch between his teeth. The steel casing felt unpleasant in his mouth, putting his teeth on edge. But without its fragile light, they would be in total darkness…not an option either of them would welcome.
“Are you okay?” Irene asked.
With a mouthful of torch, Stagman could only grunt a reply.
Irene crawled along behind him, desperately praying they would soon escape the claustrophobic darkness and emerge into the light. As she struggled on, she remembered the fateful day she finished the painting—the painting which had ushered her into this amazing but frightening world.