Turns out she lived in an underground bunker she had outfitted to be a paradise for people like us. Problem was it was located in the middle of the forest. So trucking we went through weeds and ruble until we found the door. Chuck insisted we turn our back while he knocked out the secret code on the tin door. The sound echoed through the treetops, gathering the attention of the random bird or two. Not the smartest crayon in the box that one.

The door opened without a soul on the other side. Carefully we ventured inside. A small, steep staircase creaked uncomfortably as we descended. The place was a dump. Pulling out a flashlight I scanned the dark room. You couldn’t see the floor for all the wires, scraps of metal, and candy wrappers.

“Ellisa?” Chuck called out. As answer a quick shuffle drew our attention to the right. Just as my flashlight landed on the area another clank and drag sounded to our left.

Dail drew his gun while our group drew together into a protective circle. “Chuck…” Mellisa whispered.

“Hello,” A voice said. Everyone broke their necks in their surprise. Perfectly in the middle of our circle, behind everyone’s backs, was a girl, buried hip deep in the trash. She wore black goggles which her braided hair fell in tendrils over.

“Jesus…” I released my own hold on my gun and turned around fully.

“Ellisa!” Chuck towered over the girl. “What have I told you about doing that sort of stuff? You knew we were coming! You’re gonna get yourself shot one day…”

The girl laughed and disappeared again, back into the depths of her obsession like a mole. She reemerged from the ceiling, dangling in front of me. “So what is it you seek in my humble abode? Don’t step on that.”

She glared at one of the hulks we were forced to bring with on this venture. His foot was posed over a toaster, by now covered in vines and moss.

“Why?” He asked. “It’s not like it’s alive.”

“So you think…” She said. I looked over again to see the toaster had vanished. The hulk looked down into empty space and stepped back. Ellisa meanwhile was setting herself down, unfurling from the ceiling surprisingly gracefully. Almost inhumanly, she proved to be willowy, her arms, legs, and torso taking up the majority of her. Standing toe to toe she looked me in the eyes. “What is it you seek?” I don’t know why, but suddenly I was really grateful not to see the girl’s eyes.  I was really happy about them being covered.

“You already know what we “seek”. Skip this show and just hand it over.” Chuck interjected.

“Alright, alright, you don’t have to be so pushy. This is my own home you know; you could at least be a little more civil…”

“We don’t have time for civil.” Dail glanced around, listening carefully.

Shrugging she stepped awkwardly through her own home, nearly falling several times on her way to a table off in a corner.

Mellisa leaned over to whisper in my ear. “Be careful with that one,” She said. “You turn your back and you’re going to find a knife in it.”

Ellisa was soon next to Chuck, once again waste deep in her own collection. “Here it is, just as we arranged.” She handed him a simple cardboard box.

“Nothing is as we arranged witch.” He stuffed the box into his pack and signaled us to move out. Making our way to the staircase, she waded at the ascent to seeing us out. I was the last to leave. Just as I set my foot on the case she caught my ankle.

“Be careful who you trust.” Though her eyes we covered I could tell she meant it, fully anxious about the future.

It looks like everyone felt it.


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