"Don't touch anything," I told her.
We descended down into the bunker. Anna's eyes seemed to grow several sizes larger.
"Ohmygod," she said, staring at the various trophy cases arranged through the room. In the instant we reached the ground, she darted forward--inspecting each one with her palms pressed up against the glass. "Ohmygod."
"Right," I said. "Um. About the whole 'not touching' thing."
"This is--this is the original Scourge's mask!" she said, staring into one of the cases. There was another jawless skull there--along with a hat and cloak. All three pieces of the costume were colored as black as midnight.
She turned and stared at me.
"You don't know who the Scourge is?"
I shrugged, walking past her. "I don't keep track of cape stuff."
"He's, like, your nemesis! Or was, anyway," she said, turning back to the case. "He disappeared sometime in the 80s--folks figured the Skull finally did away with him."
"Nemesis. Great," I said. "So you know a lot about this stuff?"
"Know about it? I live it!" she said. "You've got to let me sleep over here a few nights--there's so much stuff here to go through! And you haven't even shown me the equipment room--"
I unzipped the duffel bag and removed the helmet and costume, putting them back into their mounts. "To tell you the truth," I said, "I don't think I've even explored this whole place."
"...seriously?" She stared at me, dumbfounded.
"What? I haven't had access to it for very long," I said. "But don't go getting lost, okay? We've only got a little time before this Mr. Sumerset shows up. I need to figure out what I'm going to tell him--what about the Skull, what's happened so far--if I should even mention that this bunker exists."
"Good idea," a voice said above me. "While you're at it, you should definitely leave out the fact that you decided to bring your school friend down for a visit."
The elevator hummed, descending again. This time, there was a man on it--dressed in a black sports jacket and white-collared shirt, minus the tie. He was old--so old the wrinkles seemed to be carved into the bone--and had a large, lumpish nose. His face was locked into an expression of constant indignation, as if the whole universe was arranged in a fashion he found aesthetically displeasing.
"Uh," I began, stepping back.
"I'm Sumerset," he said, giving us both a look. "And I assume you're the damn fool who decided to bring your friend down here for playtime."
"It's not like that--" I began, but Anna cut me off.
"I won't blab about this to anyone," Anna said. "Scout's honor!"
"Won't do. I've known too many girl scouts," he replied. He leaned heavily on a sleek black cane; as he walked forward, I noticed a pronounced limp. He didn't seem particularly threatening--but the fact that he knew about the bunker still left me feeling vulnerable.
"Mr. Sumerset," I said. "I take it you know about my mother's secret, then."
"By now, I'm guessing the whole goddamn highschool knows about your mother's secret," he replied. "Or did you only blab it to this one?" He pointed his cane at Anna.
Anna glared. "She didn't blab it to me--she--"
"Whatever. Uninterested," he said, waving his hand. "You're going to sit down and tell me everything that's happened so far. Including what happened when you took one of the suits out for a joy ride."
I blinked, looking from Anna back to Sumerset. "But how did you know about--"
"You haven't been watching the news, have you?" he asked.
"News? But no one there saw me except for Sharkface," I said. "Why would there be news coverage?"
"It ain't what you did last night that made the news," he said. "It's what you left behind."