Maybe you had a notion of what you’d find there, and accepted it subconsciously, some hidden part of you relieved that it was finally going to be over. Probably, more likely, you didn’t, and in your desperation, you followed the scattered breadcrumbs without thinking about what their very existence implied. Peter had left for a reason, you knew that, and you knew whatever trouble he was in was far more serious than either of you could handle on your own. You also knew that he was smart enough to not leave a trail behind if he didn’t want to, and in his last frantic messages to you, he made it seem like he didn’t want to. But, of course, you weren’t suspicious, because you just wanted to find any hint he was still alive, any clue he survived and was locked away in some friend-of-a-friend’s safehouse. That’s why it didn’t bother you on your last night in the city, deciphering the graffiti symbols he’d made you memorize when you moved in together, following the split-second payphone calls and flickering lights, turning down streets still slick from the evening rain. The humidity was thick in the night air. You had a feeling something was wrong. And you knew that when Peter was involved, it was better to trust your instincts and run. But by the time you thought that deeply about it, it was already too late, because when you arrived on the factory floor of some long-abandoned industrial complex on the edge of the urban sprawl, sweat-soaked and shaking, there were no more crumbs to follow. The thick metal doors shut themselves loudly, your ears registering a low hissing sound the same time the rusted locks clicked into place. All around you, the dark spaces below twisting pipes seemed to press in on themselves, fathoms and fathoms of lightless void, the moonlight streaming through broken windows turning grey and dimming. Peter wasn’t here. Peter hadn’t left you a trail of breadcrumbs to follow, they had, and you were too single-minded to even see just how well you were being played until the gamemasters themselves joined you. The hissing noise increased not in volume, but in pitch, drilling at your skull. You squeezed your eyes shut, knowing what would come next. Shame and fear clutched at you for being so reckless. Silky smooth and sickeningly-warm fingers wrapped around your ankles, your wrists, your waist. You pissed yourself. Too many hands for one person. For one human. This was your fault and you were going to pay. These thoughts and others whispered into your mind from somewhere else, everywhere else, nowhere else. Even the dark of your closed eyes wasn’t safe, it and you and they told you and them, and the black seemed to sink and sink and sink, down below. Down to where they lived. Where they were taking you. Where you would live.
Where Peter would never, ever find you.