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In the darkness I felt as though I regained my senses, wondering what the hell I was doing. Rats do not talk. I’m either hallucinating or someone is playing a trick on me….unless I fell asleep? Either way this is nonsense and I need to get home and go to bed to make it to work in the morning. I started to turn back when I heard the rat speaking.

“You’re going to endanger all of us, yourself included! If you turn back you are seriously going to compromise this mission and potentially get us killed. If you don’t care about yourself, at least think of me and my family! What will Mr. Rees do if he becomes a widower?”

Crazy. Yep, I have lost it. I ignored what I had come to believe was just a voice in my head and starting crawling, hunching, and walking back to the old wooden plank. I was about to slide it open when I heard voices on the other side.

“The call said they saw someone snooping around over here?” a male voice said with a deep, thick New York accent.

Mrs. Peabs came scattering and skittering up to me in a huff and was about to open her mouth to continue her pleas when she heard the second voice.

“Yeah, but it really doesn’t make any sense. Our intel said the meeting wasn’t supposed to take place until the dark hours of the morning. I think whoever was on duty before is just an amateur. Musta been a homeless man, lost and confused looking for a place to sleep,” replied an androgynous squeakier, nasal voice.

Before the second voice had finished, Mrs. Peabs motioned to me with her snout to hurry quietly and silently back down the tunnel. The conversation startled and confused me; in my daze of trying to make sense of things while hurrying down the tunnel I tripped and fell with a loud thud. Mrs. Peabs looked back at me in horror. We sat motionless, holding our breath to hear if the people on the other side of the tunnel had heard us. We had moved far enough down the tunnel that their voices were muffled, but still audible.

“You hear that?” said the deep voice.

“Hear what? Steve, I think you’re just hearing things again. If anything it’s the noises of the subways around us. You’re always on edge during these stake outs. Let’s hurry back and get to our hideout or we will mess up the rendezvous we are here to follow and then we are going to be in real trouble,” replied the nasal voice.

“Hm. I don’t know… But I guess you’re right, I don’t want to get in trouble with the big boss.”

We could hear their footsteps slowly fade away and their voices become inaudible. We were safe. And I was even more confused than I had been before. Mrs. Peabs motioned again in silence; instead of getting up, I continued to crawl along the tunnel so as to make as little noise as possible. Soon the tunnel became so small that I could only army crawl to continue. Abruptly, it opened up into a large, bright room.

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