Voices filtered through dark cotton as I drifted back and forth between dreams and the beginnings of consciousness. Pervasive dread prowled my reveries; hungry night wraiths growled and salivated as they hunted me. I pressed hard against the veil between sleep and waking, but could not break through.
"How much do we tell him, Ian?" said a rough-edged voice.
"It's dangerous to leave anything out," said someone else.
"He threw himself across Sissy to save her life," said another. It was Mark, I knew that voice. "I say we tell him whatever he wants to know."
"Hate to burst your bubble," said the first man, "but he landed on her after bouncing off the floor. That's why he was stretched out across her legs. You ought to have figured that out, cousin."
Drifting, drifting. Desperately trying to return. Terrible phantasms slithered through my torpidity.
"People have to know what's happening," said the second voice. "To defend themselves."
"With what?" said the first voice. "Besides, the government will seal this place off in a heartbeat if they know what's under their feet. They're running all over topside right now. If they weren't so damned blind, there wouldn't be anything left to hide. We're the ones doing the hiding from everyone. For their own good."
They were quiet for a moment and I panicked. I struggled toward consciousness.
"You know the drill, Enid," said Mark. "Government would lock this place down so they could weaponize everything they find. But what's down there needs to stay down there. Messing with that is liking trying to pick the locks on the gates to hell."
"And you two think if this writer writes down everything that happened we can get it out to everyone without the government shutting it down? You remember what happened in the Middle East? Who do you think really controls the Internet? Ebook, print book, it won't make any difference."
"Maybe," said the one named Ian. "But we have to take the chance. People have to know. This guy writes it up, publishes it and then we see what we see."
"Why don't you do that yourself?" askd Enid.
I opened my eyes to a room filled with blurry lights and shapes just as the other gave his answer.
"Because," he said, "I'd like to stay alive. Whoever writes this up will be on a kill list from day one."