You'd be amazed how fast you can get used to a vile, vile stench. This was a stench with viscosity to it. While you held your breath to keep it at bay, it snuck around to the back door and got you to taste it too. So yeah, it only took until never to get used to it.
I stood completely still for 10 days, or something. A statue, except for my mouth--I called and yelled and whistled and cried. No one home. I was in a hole in the ground, above--a manhole opening to The Trenton Sewer System. I sensed my surroundings well before I was able to actually see anything--walls all around except for some sort of tunnel off to my right. OK, when I say 'sensed' I'm not being all spooky and supernatural--I felt a breeze on my legs. But as I stood there, I slowly became able to see into the viscous darkness. All around me was wall made up of slimy irregular-shaped brick. The avenue off to the right was more of the same: 2-feet of freezing water that looked like tar and walls covered in a living turf, but instead of the hopeful nickle-sized spot of an opening to the outside above my head, there were carbuncles and furuncles growing down from the ceiling and wicked-thick blackness stretching out in front. Grim.
What to do, what to do...
I pushed forward into the tunnel yo! the avenue out, with my internal chatter yakking about ick this and yuck that but it was no match for you've-left-your-children-home-alone-while-you-went-off-for-a-jog and any one of them is likely to wander out and get snatched by a goon/fall into the river/get run over flat by a car/or some fresh evil yet to be imagined.
Total blackness is such a weird state. The other senses get a bit edgy, jealous, and they act out. Also, as I carefully moved through the water, I tried very hard to NOT TOUCH ANYTHING so I was really 2 senses down. Not a problem. How far did I walk? I dunno, but it was a smelly/tasty/noisy march. Murmers dogged me the entire way--I strained my head and neck muscles trying to hear better:
yeah a jelly sandwich..
harsh into the place..
That's from above, the street, right? but how come no one hears ME? Fucking hoarse from yelling now, I pushed forward, the way out. Amidst all the conversating and stinky taste, something just had to get my legs in the water. What was it? I have no idea, and I will never again think about it. Except to say it had weight and heft to it, and it briefly embraced whatever around my leg. Grim.
Finally--Ho! Hang on! The sound of rushing water! I moved forward as fast as I could, and without expecting it, I tumbled out of the pipe and down the river bank. Ow! A dark moonless night and tall weeds hid the outdoors at the opening of the avenue from my sight. Relieved? HOOboy. Hungry? Oh yeah. Tired? Uh huh. I picked up and dusted off. I surveyed the river in front of me. Not familiar. I might have been in Camden. So I took a seat. Tired, so very tired. I had to close my eyes for a minute....
You know how you can sense when someone is standing quietly over you, not making a sound, but you can still sense their presence? Maybe being in a pitch-black tunnel smelling/tasting only hideous monster-death-stink refusing to touch anything being deafened by unattainable murmers sharpened my edge. Could be.
My eyes snapped open. Eh? I was warm and cozy and in my bed. Sooooo-ho nice... Phew, just a nightmare. But then I heard him smile, and I looked across the bed to catch the most beautiful sight, the full-on glory of one Trenton Fire Fighter, in full action-man-uniform.
"Whas going on? How'd you get up here?"
"My ladder. I came up outside at your bedroom window. Now shooosh, relax...go back to sleep, I'll scratch your back.