Courtney shivered. She was frightened. She was cold. And she wanted to go home.

"Back off!" Collin yelled to the thundering voice. "We haven't had a chance to find the puzzle piece yet -- but we will. Soon! Very soon!"

Courtney couldn't help but smile at her brother. He was probably just as scared as she was, but he wasn't going to give in.

The thunder echoed again, a big, loud crash that reverberated around the room, and then it disappeared.

Morgan walked toward Collin. "You're awfully brave," she said.

Embarrassed, Collin shrugged his shoulders. "Yeah, well...."

Something scurried across the floor, over Courtney's foot. She grabbed Collin's arm and screamed. "Rats! Big rats!"

"Don't worry, Court. They probably won't hurt us,," he said, nervously watching the floor. "I'll bet they're just looking for food."

"Maybe they've already eaten," Morgan said through clenched teeth. "Look at that."

It was thin and white and it was hanging from chains bolted to a far wall. In the dim light it was hard to see, but Courtney knew it was a skeleton with only a few shreds of clothing clinging to its bare bones -- all skin and fat and muscle had long ago rotted away, or been eaten by ... rats. It smelled disgusting.

"I don't want to be here," Courtney said.

"Me neither," Morgan added as she backed away. Suddenly something screeched, Morgan screamed, her feet flew out from under her and Courtney could hear the splash of water.

"This isn't fair," Morgan said, crying in anger and fear and frustration. "I think I stepped on one of those stupid rats and now I've fallen into something wet and slimy and stinky. It's like being back in the jungle again."

Collin reached out a hand and pulled Morgan up. "It's okay, Morg. I like you anyway."

 
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