The Cedarville Review 2024

30 CREATIVE NONFICTION there were no skylights in the Lemp Brewery tunnels. The tour guide’s fl ashlight soaked the proximate walls in greenish milk. Flaking pipes and lumpy concrete lined the ceiling over your head. The guide shot his light forward, where the cave stretched for miles—quite literally, miles. You didn’t know when it was going to end. It wasn’t confi ned to the property of the Lemp Brewery. It extended beneath many structures, too many for you to count. It snaked its way beneath the bustling streets, laughing couples, singing children, restaurants, bars, shops, tourists like you. Here these tunnels lay, the underbelly of the metropolitan, the vestigial organ of the city. And there you stood. Your body shuddered. The cold slapped you with an invisible fog. You zipped up your jacket. Your teeth chattered, and your heart throbbed like the machines high above you that used to pump beer. You didn’t want to go forward. This was all too much– the blackness, the sense of solitude, the sickening air of death. You glanced around at the group of complete strangers beside you. They were so unfamiliar to you that they might as well not be there. They didn’t react to the subtle drips that left you so on edge, or the wisps of unexplained breeze that every now and then would waft behind your ears. They were so oblivious to this underground world that they’d become a part of it like cardboard cutouts on a one-hundred-year-old movie set. Despite the lover-of-night that you are, you knew you didn’t belong here. You wouldn’t be able to stand it much longer. The guide’s tales had everybody riveted, but you found it hard to pay attention. He