by Hydrargentium

Haze floated lower, curling up into a kneeling position, even though he was still intangible, not touching the ground. That put him level with the boy, face to face instead up above.

“The Under Man, huh?”

The boy nodded, but his eyes scanned left and right, looking down the tunnel in each direction.

“And what’s your name?”

“I’m Kyle.”

“Hi, Kyle. I’m Haze,” he said, smiling.

He was about to ask Kyle if he liked any sports, and then stopped himself. If this kid was as “underprivileged” as he looked, then maybe he never got to watch TV. Instead, he decided that maybe getting straight to the point would be best after all.

“What are you doing down here, Kyle? How did you get down here? Have you been here before?”

This time Kyle turned his head, taking a good look down the tunnel each way — not that he could’ve seen very much, with more than half the ancient yellow lights burnt out or barely flickering.

“I’m going to the store for Dad.”

“To the store?” Haze paused. Then something else struck him. “Your Dad sent you down here?”