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Changekin Chapter 2
The manager of the Black Iris had also given us instructions on how to enter the Underground, being Changekin himself.
“This is the place, ja?” Tom mused, stopping in front of an abandoned warehouse in the once-great business district of Magdeburg. He nervously adjusted the guitar slung over his shoulder. “Well, this is it.”
Cautiously, we entered, the huge doors surprisingly silent and squeak-free. Obviously, it was a well-traveled place.
“He said there was a trapdoor near the stairs,” Tom recalled.
I sighed and got on my knees, running my fingers through the thin layer of dirt on the ground until they brushed against something incredibly cold.
“Tom I found it!” I called to my twin, piercing the darkness with my pre-pubescent voice.
He ran over silently and slipped off his guitar, placing it lovingly on the ground before joining me on the ground.
“Well come on, open it,” I urged impatiently when he took his time running his long fingers over the ornate handle.
He grumbled something about patience being a virtue, but obeyed all the same.
With a good hard yank and a rusty groan, the door came open. A surprisingly thick cloud of dust rose, sending us both into a coughing fit. Maybe it wasn’t as well-traveled as I had originally thought.
When the dust finally cleared, we both peered down into the entrance. It was glowing red, and fog had risen about halfway up the shaft, making it look like Hollywood’s version of Hell’s gate.
“How do we get down there?” I wondered aloud. “Jump?”
“You can if you want,” Tom snorted. “I’m not risking my guitar.”
“I made a face at him before once again examining the entrance. “Hey look Tomi!” I pointed. “There’s a ladder!”
He grinned, obviously relieved, though whether it was because I wouldn’t have to jump or he wouldn’t have to risk his precious Fender, I couldn’t be sure.
I smiled back, then gingerly made my way down the rickety ladder. Tom watched for a second .
“Come on, Tomi!” I called before he could over think it. He was deathly afraid of heights, I knew, but I also knew he would never disappoint me.
As we descended into the fog, I realized it was actually water vapor.
“Ugh, I hope this doesn’t mess with my hair,” I complained loudly, mostly to drive away my own irrational anxiety.
Tom laughed but was cut off rather abruptly by my yelp as I tumbled off the ladder and onto solid ground.
“Are you okay Bill?” he asked worriedly.
“I’m fine,” I laughingly reassured him. “Just watch your step.”
“I’m not a klutz like you,” he shot back, stepping off the ladder much more gracefully than I had.
I pushed myself off the ground and brushed off my knees, trying to regain some of my dignity. When my black leather pants were as clean as they would get, I looked up.
And felt my jaw drop. We had entered the entertainment district, and so all we saw were bright lights and people everywhere. It was incredible, every big city in the world all squeezed into one hundred mile area. It was Tokyo, Beijing, Moscow, London, Paris, Milan, New York, and Los Angeles, all thrown together in an incredible mix. To Tom and I, having grown up in Magdeburg and Loitsche, it was magical.
Tom shook me from my reverie with a hand on the shoulder and a *look*. A look that said “We have to get out of here before anyone notices us. They don’t like our kin here.”
We made our way through the district, making sure to stay in alleys and side streets, finally stopping at a rusted door with a fluorescent iris above it.
Tom and I looked at each other for a second before nodding silently and knocking together.
Almost immediately, a huge burly man that could snap Tom and I in half opened the door. I couldn’t help but stare. His tattoos were incredible. Not a single exposed appendage was free of the ink. The curls were all over him, and just as I was about to ask the artist’s name, he yanked Tom and I in by our shirts and slammed the door behind us.
“They’re here Stephano!” he called over his shoulder, never taking his eyes off us.
Another man appeared this one much smaller but no less muscular and no less inked up. He grinned, revealing a sharp and dangerous smile.
“Hello,” he beamed in that odd language. “You must be Bill and Tom Kaulitz. I’m Stephano.”
We nodded, too frightened to speak.
He laughed lightly and addressed the huge man who had retreated to the side of the room. “Thank you Gavin. That will be quite enough.”
Gavin nodded and walked out silently.
Stephano turned back to us. “You’re on after The Reapers.”