How long had he been in this place of cold and darkness? He had hoped it to be his salvation, but now he couldn't help but wonder, if he had replaced a death under a blue sky with a death in darkness and cold. Hunger and thirst tore at his throat and stomach with burning fingers. He would cry, but there wasn't enough fluid in him to produce tears.
The pilgrim went to descend another step, but found that the stairs seemed to stop. Had he finally reached the bottom? His hand brushed against something on the wall, and he jerked it back with a gasp. A trap? Wary, he reached out to place his fingers lightly on the thing. Careful not to press or shift anything, he traced his fingers over it. It was a box of some sort with a circle in the middle about an inch wide.
He hesitated. He thought the circle could be pressed, but who knew what would happen if he did so.
'It's okay,' a female voice said, startling him. 'You can press it.'
By the time the cheery voice had finished talking, he had drawn steel. He remained motionless, stretching his senses to their utmost. Not a wind stirred.
'There's no need for the cannon, buddy,' the voice laughed. 'It won't do you any good down here, especially not against me. Now press the damn button. Unless you're just a big chicken, in which case you can just scamper back up to the surface.'
The pilgrim didn't move.
'You know you want to...' she teased.
When the pilgrim remained silent and unmoving, the voice let out an annoyed sigh.
'The button just turns on the lights, alright? I ain't got all day, you know. Places to be, people to see.' The voice seemed to think this over. 'Well, place.' It said. 'And you're the only person I've seen in a while. So stop being a little bitch and press the fucking button.'
Word of the day: "Piffle;" (noun) nonsense, foolish talk.