A while back, we went to a place that I've spent a ridiculous amount of time in over the years: the tunnels of Missouri State University (formerly Southwest Missouri State University).
David Keetz, Anne, and myself met up at our usual spot that afternoon. We waited around for a bit and made a few phone calls to see if anyone else was coming, but everyone else was tied up. It was going to be just the three of us.
From there, we drove over to MSU and parked in a lot where we didn't believe we would be ticketed. We headed into campus on foot and began systematically checking every way into the tunnels that I could remember. Once upon a time, I'd known every nook and cranny of those tunnels and could get in a million different ways. However, it had been around a year since the last time I was there, and the university had done lots of construction and renovation since then.
We wandered from place to place around campus, checking each way I knew into the tunnels, and every time we came up empty. It didn't matter how reliable the entrance had once been. They were all sealed up. And, in all reality, it was probably due to the amount of time some of us used to spend exploring those tunnels.
When a couple hours had passed without luck, we called Hiccup and told her to meet us at campus since she was just getting off work. While we were waiting, I tried a desperate way into the tunnels that required me twisting my body through an opening that wasn't really big enough for my body. I wrenched my shoulder pretty good in the process, but I got through. Unfortunately, it only got me into the basement of one of the buildings on campus, and there was no way into the tunnels from that particular point. I was forced to head back up out of the building.
When Hiccup got there, we decided to try a way into the tunnels that I'd thought of earlier, but had been too afraid to try in broad daylight. It was not only extremely obvious to anyone passing by, but it was also going to require some really time-consuming (but harmless) tinkering to work. Since it was dark and we were desperate, we decided to try it.
It took probably half an hour, which was much longer than I expected. In fact, we were almost ready to give up and go home when I finally got in. Hiccup, Keetz, and Anne were off where I couldn't see them, so I made the long dash down the tunnels to one of the buildings so that I could let them inside. They hadn't known I had gotten in, so they were a little surprised to see me come out a different way.
They followed me back down into the tunnels, and we proceeded to spend the next hour or so just exploring. My memory was pretty rusty when it came to the tunnels, but I knew where we were most of the time. And it was almost impossible to get lost down there anyway. But there was all kinds of new construction and pipes down there that were completely throwing me off.
I took them to several of the buildings' basements and showed them where the tunnels came up. We didn't really go up into any of them, but it was fun to do a little spying from the basements to see where we were or if anyone was around. All in all, I probably showed them about half of the existing tunnels under the campus before we were ready to head out.
On the way out, I had everyone stop. There was something I always loved to do when I was down in the tunnels, although it probably had a lot to do with why the tunnels were so hard to get into. We found a large vent, one of several, that went up to the surface for ventilation. There, you could see out of a grate onto the sidewalk and watch students coming and going. I had everyone climb up inside the vent chamber, so our faces were about ankle-high on the people passing by, and we waited.
When someone finally came passing by, I screamed at the top of my lungs at them, "ARGH! I'M GONNA EAT YOU!" Every single time they would jump out of their skin, almost tripping over themselves to get away from the screaming tunnel mutants or whatever they thought we were. Then they'd almost always start laughing and wander off.
It was even better when a group of six girls came walking by, and I simply roared wordlessly at them. The lead girl stopped, stared at the grate for half a second, then proceeded to scream bloody murder and scramble backwards. When she started doing that, the other five immediately starting screaming as well (although none of them seemed to know what they were screaming about) and they all nearly knocked each other over trying to get back from the grate. When they realized there was nothing to be afraid of, they started laughing embarassedly. To top it off, two guys we'd scared earlier were standing off nearby laughing hysterically at what we'd just done. They yelled that we deserved a medal for that one.
We scared a few more people as quickly as we could, then we figured we'd better get the hell out of there before someone called security. We scooted on down the tunnel to the closest building, went up inside, and exited out onto the sidewalk. Then, we walked back to our cars and headed on home for the night.
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Here you can read about White Rabbit's day-to-day explorations and adventures.
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