They moved quietly for a number of minutes. "We have a problem, BA." Vic held his lights above his head slightly to illuminate the two passages ahead of him.
BA groaned. "What a load of crap."
"Quit saying that."
"Well, it is."
"We have a fifty-fifty chance of getting it right."
Vic frowned. "Yeah, that too. I say left."
BA groaned. "I was going to say right. If we had agreed, I'd feel a lot better about the choice."
"Me too," Vic grunted. "Coin toss?"
"No, we'll just go left and see where we end up."
The stairs traveled downward for another fifteen minutes, ending in a small room with no other visible exits. They sat for a moment and each gulped down water from their full canteens.
"More secret doors, no doubt." Vic muttered. He took the small crank out of his pocket and connected it to his string of lights, winding it for a few minutes. He handed the crank to BA, who did the same.
"Do you hear anything?" BA whispered. They both sat in silence.
"Nothing." Vic stood up, followed by BA. "Guess we try the other path."
BA led the way back up the narrow stairs. After five minutes he stopped and grunted. "We're in trouble." Lifting the lights he showed two passageways, both with stairs leading up.
"Ouch. I didn't notice that on the way down." Vic paused. "We could choose and risk getting lost in this maze or we could go back down to the room and look for the hidden doors."
"Doors we think the room will have? We're betting on that, you know."
"Or choose one of the paths up." Vic shrugged, invisible in the semi-darkness. "I don't remember the tunnel getting wider, so I don't have a clue which one to take back up, BA."
After a moment BA grunted. "Back down it is, then."
Next part, next Wednesday.
Author commentary (if I have one)