Futurama

Fan Fiction

What Lurks Beneath, part 1
By Amathyst

The sewers of New New York. Dank, dark, and home to all things weird and wonderful. Not usually a place to feel uneasy. For the surface dwellers, who let’s face it, hardly came down to the city’s underbelly in the first place, may have felt the shivers of the unknown travelling their spines, but not the mutants. This was their home, their habitat. If anywhere was safe for them, it was here.

Which is why Virgil couldn’t figure out why he felt so jumpy. Granted, he wasn’t the best at defending himself from danger, considering he was practically a leg. But that was why he went around with groups of others. This often resulted in him being pointed out as particularly pathetic, which hurt, but he preferred that to being attacked by something that thought leg of Virgil sounded appetising.

Now he was with a couple of the others on a foraging mission. Supplies were getting harder and harder to find. All of their usual spots, dumpsters near main manhole covers, deposits of discarded fast food boxes from the drainage ducts near public areas, and open grating through which food was often thrown were all dead ends now. Somebody was getting to the food before they could. They had a few (very few since the fine for feeding mutants had been passed in the last few months) suppliers from up top. But the little they could provide in secret just wasn’t enough, and now that their top up points were being compromised, they were having to go down deeper into the tunnels, where most never went, to try and find places to get more food.

In fact, things had gotten so bad, that some of the food collection teams, the one he was part of included, were having to go down into the ruins of Old New York to look for any food that may have survived the centuries underground.

A chilling breeze blew past him, bringing with it an odour he couldn’t put an exact name to. A mixture of decay, despair and solitude. It made him feel even worse than he had on the journey down here. What was making him feel this way? He had been in cold, damp, and desolate parts of the sewers before, and they had never affected him this much.

A skittering noise caught his attention, and he whirled, almost toppling over in his hurry to see what had made the noise. Searching the shadows underneath a nearby abandoned car, he could see nothing. Suddenly, something tapped him on top of the head. “AAAH!”

“Whoa! Easy there Virge, it’s just me.”

Breathing heavily Virgil turned again, pivoting on the ball of his foot, to look into the face of one of his companions on this trip. “Yeah. Sorry Orlo. You just gave me a scare, is all. I thought I heard something.”

Orlo tilted his head, his huge bug-like eyes catching the weak light, glittering like a thousand tiny black gems. “Heard something? Like what?”

“I don’t know. Some kind of scratching noise.”

Orlo stood up straighter, his hunched back, which was in a permanent hump, not letting him get much taller than four feet in height. “Probably rats or something. Can’t be anything serious. Nothing much left down here to bother us.”

Virgil sighed. “Yeah, I suppose so. But don’t you get the feeling that something isn’t right?”

“Course I do. Nothing’s been right for a while now. What with the food disappearing.”

Virgil shifted, so he could flick a look back at the car. “I don’t mean just that. I mean… can’t you feel it? Like… like somebody’s watching us?”

“Aww, you’re just being paranoid. It’s this place, it does that to you.”

“I don’t think--“

“Hey!”

The two turned, to look further down the fetted and dusty street to see the third member of their party. He beckoned to them with a brown scaled web-fingered hand. “Are you two coming or not? We gotta keep going. This part of the ruins has already been cleared out.”

Orlo shuffled around, swinging the empty sack he carried over his shoulder. “Yeah Tuck, we’re coming. Virge is just a little jumpy.”

Tuck snorted. “Yeah, like always.”

Virgil took one last look at the shadows, then hopped after the other two. He called out to the taller of the three, Tuck, in hopes that he could start them talking, at least then it wouldn’t be so quiet. “So, where are we headed?”

Tuck’s gravelly voice came back to him. “We gotta go a few more blocks down. Click says he thinks there’s a convenience store that we haven’t scoped yet.”

“You think we’ll find anything?” Orlo shifted the sack again, trying to stop it falling off his slanted shoulder. “We can’t last much longer without something decent.”

“I hope so.”

They carried on along the cracked and dirty roadway, pushing rubbish and bits of rubble aside, or in Virgil’s case, he hopped over or around them. It took them a few minutes to reach the store front. For the most part (if you didn’t consider the smashed roof, and the mould covered walls) the place looked pretty serviceable. Orlo tried to wipe away some grime from one of the windows, but managed to do very little to clean it. “Hmm, doesn’t look like anyone’s been here yet, that’s for sure.”

Virgil looked around pensively. “Where’s Click? Wasn’t he supposed to be here?”

“He will be.” Tuck leant against the wall, rubbing his stick thin scaled arm absently. “Stop panicking. Everything’s fine.”

Orlo shuffled over to the far side of the building, trying to see if there was another way in, as the main doors were shuttered, and it would take a lot of battering to get past that. His overly large foot caught a bit of garbage, making it clatter over the cement. Virgil jumped again. “Oh relax Virge, it was just me. Seriously, man, you’re going to give yourself a heart attack at this rate.”

“I can’t help it.” Virgil complained. “There’s something wrong here. I know it.”

Tuck rolled his black eyes. “The only thing wrong is that we had to bring you along. All’s your good for is a lookout, and with how skittish you’re acting, you’re even gonna be useless at that.”

“Leave him alone, Tuck. It’s not his fault he’s just a leg.”

Virgil jumped again. “What was that?”

“Oh, for the love of the bomb!” Tuck growled. “Just stop it! There’s nothing---“

From the darkness, something sprang at them. It’s long limbs thrashing the air, and an unearthly shriek coming from it’s throat, the thing lunged for the kill. Virgil screamed, unable to do much of anything except fall over backwards. Tuck dove for the gap of the alley nearest him, and Orlo rushed to hide behind another abandoned car. Virgil screwed his eyes shut. This was it. The monster had come at last, and he was helpless to fight it, and not able to get away. He whimpered. “Please don’t eat me….”

There was a moment of utter silence, and then there came a sound rather like a clock ticking, but in irregular starts. Recognising the sound, Virgil opened his eyes. Orlo came out from behind the car, and Tuck poked his head out of the alley. Tuck wrinkled up his pig-like nose. “Click! You jerk!”

Vergil began to struggle to get up, but couldn’t quite manage it. It took Orlo helping him up to get him off the ground. Once upright, he could clearly see that it was Click. The huge insectoid-like mutant was bent double with giggles, his mandible like mouth clicking open and shut on his human head, his hairless scalp reflecting the sparse light. Virgil screwed up his face. “Click, you scared us all half to death.”

Click stood up, still chuckling. “Sorry (click) couldn’t (click) resist.”

Tuck emerged back into the street, trying to seem uncaring, but not quite managing to act unruffled. “Well, next time, you had better resist. Virgil’s been on a paranoid trip all the way here, and thanks to you he’s probably gonna throw a fit at every little noise.”

“So…” Orlo rubbed the top of his head, smoothing back the small patch of wiry hair that grew right on top of his oddly round skull. “You find a way into this place?”

“Yeah. (click) We need (click) to go (click) around (click) back. (click click) Down that (click) alley (click) Tuck hid in.”

“Well, come on then. Let’s stop wasting time and get on with it.” Tuck took the lead, heading back into the alleyway.

They edged their way down the crowded alley, traversing past overflowing trash cans, and piles of discarded junk. Reaching the back of the store, they found the back door had been partially opened. The lock had been smashed completely off. Orlo gestured to it. “You do that?”

“Yup (click). Only (click) way.”

Pushing the remnants of the door open, Tuck led the way inside. Glancing around, a smile spread over his dry lips. “Right, looks like we might have something here. Orlo, you take the left, Click you take the right, and I’ll take the middle. Virgil?”

The mutant in question hopped in at the back of the group. “Yes?”

“You going to be okay on watch? No panic attacks or false alarms?”

“No problem.” Virgil smiled tentatively. “I’ll be fine.”

“Alright.” Tuck started off down his aisle. “Let’s gather all we can.”

They made quick work of the main room, gathering everything from tinned goods to dried products. Orlo grinned. “Thank goodness for preservatives from the 2100’s. Without them, none of this would have survived.”

“Yeah.” Tuck slung his almost full sack onto his back. “Is that everything here?”

“Not quite (click). There’s a (click) back room.” Click tapped on the door in question.

Tuck pushed on it. “Hey, something’s blocking it.” He shoved as hard as he could, but the door opened only a few inches. “There’s no way we can get in there to check for anything useful.”

“We could (click) break it (click) down?”

Orlo flicked a glance back at the exit, where Virgil was scanning the darkness outside with a nervous attitude. “Wait. Why waste energy? Just let Virge take a look. He can fit through there. If there’s nothing important, we’ll save ourselves the time and trouble of busting in.”

“Good idea.” Tuck called out. “Hey, Virgil! Come over here a sec.”

Virgil turned to them, looking apprehensive. Hopping over, he seemed unsure about something. “Um, Tuck? I know you told me not to panic, or anything, but I still feel like there’s something out there.”

“Never mind that now, just come here. We need you to go into the back room and see if there’s anything worthwhile in there.”

“But… I swear I heard scratching sounds…”

“I told you.” Orlo smiled, trying his best to be comforting. “It’s probably just rats. Come on man, the sooner we get this over with, the sooner we can go home.”

Virgil sighed. “Okay.” He hopped to the door, wriggling his way inside. Once on the other side, he looked around him. “There’s a desk, some papers… Shelves with appliances on them… a filing cabinet and a safe. The filing cabinet is blocking the door. Looks like it must have fallen against the door during the attack of whatever caused all the damage around here. It’s practically wedged right into it.”

Tuck’s voice was slightly muffled. “Is that all?”

“Hold on, I’ll check around the other side of the desk.” He hopped over to the other end of the room, and looked around the corner of the desk. “Hey, there’s a mini fridge in here. Want me to check it out?”

“Yeah. There might be something… What, Click…? You think so?”

Virgil looked back at the door. “What?”

“Don’t worry, Click’s just gone to check something. You just concentrate on that fridge.”

“Okay, if you say so…” Virgil approached the fridge, looking at it critically. It was a few inches taller than he was, and the handle was an indented gap on the right hand side of the door, running from about halfway up to the top of the door. “Hmm…” Leaning in, he examined it. “I could try grabbing hold with my teeth…”

He could hear muffled voices from the other side of the door, but now that he was focused on something practical, he didn’t notice as much what they were saying. He could make out a few words but they seemed unimportant. “….Tuck, there’s…outside…don’t…you think?”

He gripped the lower edge of the handle with his teeth, having to turn his body on a tilt to do so. Yanking hard, he managed to pull the door open an inch. Concentrating hard, he twisted, getting the toes of his foot in the door and releasing his grip on the handle. Using the side of his forehead, he nudged the door open and peered inside. He had to lean forwards on the ball of his foot to see to the back, as the light inside was busted. “Hmmm…” The main shelf was cracked in two and hung off the ledges of the fridge with barely a strip of metal big enough to hold their weight. It was just an empty, hollow fridge.

Suddenly, from outside in the main part of the building, there was a loud bang, and a chittering scream that could only be Click. Startled, Virgil spun on instinct to look towards the sound. The door being on a spring lock immediately began to close, clunking him on the side of the head. Disorientated, all he could do was wobble unsteadily, as more screams came from the outer room, along with the sound of many skittering claws and low hissing noises. “Oh the bomb! What are they! Aaaah!”

Losing his tenuous grip on his balance, Virgil, terror gripping him, fell backwards for what seemed an eternity, hearing the screams and pleas for help coming from his friends. Something had gotten them. The something he had known was there. It or they had finally come. Was he going to have to face them too? His head hit the back wall of the fridge hard, and he felt his world going black as the fridge door shut, sealing him inside. As his consciousness faded, all he could think about was “Will I ever wake up again? And If my fate is the same as the others, do I even want to?”

Buddies