Things that should not be ... flushed

Or so it was told to me. Lewis Collins, the guv'nor, whose mum and dad must have had a weird sense of humour to call him that, brandished a plastic bag full of iPhones at me as we finished our shift in the Grand Sewer under our pretty little suburb.

"Stands to reason," he said. "I mean why else would you drop a perfectly good iPhone down the karzi?"

"Could be many reasons," I said. "Could be they don't work. Could be you lean too far over the karzi on a night out say in Oceana or Bacchus, skirt's too short, night's been too long, reach into your bag and plop's yer uncle. Still, look at it this way. Finders keepers, losers weepers."

"Tell me about it," Collins says. "What used to be known as mudlarks. Down in the tunnels trying to make it pay. Seeking out the gold and the precious wotsits from the underbelly of K-Town. Clean 'em up, make a quid or two."

But later, in the Druid's Head, with four pints inside either of us, Collins began to speak of other things he'd seen in the sewers. He'd been down there longer than most.

They gave us space in the pub. That was nice. I knew why they kept away from us, but still.

"Rats," he said. That wasn't new to me. All day we'd been dodging the little horrors.

"Not just that kind of rat," he said. "Beyond-rats. HG Wells had it right. They've evolved. Become something else entirely. Size of dogs. Collies and stuff."

My nan had a collie. A lovely dog. Imagining that scruffy bundle of love eking out a living in sewage instead was quite the most horrible thing I'd done since hosing down the walls of the Grand Sewer.

"They also," Lewis said once he'd sent me to the bar for a fifth pint, "speak of something else. A vast agglomeration of ... well, I won't say, but things that should not be, or should not be in the Grand Sewer anyway. You look on an old map, Charlie. You look and see where the tunnels used to run, across the river from the palace, up to Coombe on its hill where the posh people live. You've seen the signs written on the sewer wall."

I'd seen one, carved into the brick with the force of a mind gone mad, reading OH MY GOD IT'S FULL OF S***. Nothing else though.

"What signs?" I asked.

"Maps, Charlie," Collins said.  "On the sewer wall. There's something down there. Something lost and waiting for us."

I thought about this, wandering home across the Market Place and towards the family home in Fairfield. If it's lost and waiting for us -- whatever 'it' is --

Then what does it want from us?

The End

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