In the darkness ahead, strange noises, squeaks like fingers sliding on a steel guitar—times a thousand—cut through a fluttery sound. Beating wings.
     Crud. Rhonda threw her arms over her head and ducked. “Bats!”
     Selena screamed.
     The shrillness ricocheted off the walls and assaulted Rhonda’s ears. “Get down.” Didn’t they know bats moving in a group couldn’t use their natural navigation? “And turn off the flashlight.”
     Curtis tossed the torch down and hunched in front of her. As the sound grew louder, he turned and put his arms around her.
     Omigosh, omigosh, omigosh. They were under attack by a bat colony and the only thing that mattered was Curtis Vanhouten had his arms around her. Well, not under attack, but close enough. The noise swelled as the bats flew overhead, the vibrations from the thrusting wings bounced off their hunched bodies.
     When they had passed, Selena whimpered. “Can we get up yet?”
     Rhonda peeked into the surrounding darkness. “I don’t know.” The sound decreased as the bats flew farther away. “We came from that direction, unless they go out the trap door, how will they get out?”
     Goodness. What if they went flying through the school? Would the FBI break their pact to stay out if they saw a bat cloud flying past the windows?
     The peeping sounds grew louder. “They’re coming back. Stay down.” Were they going to wind up crouched on the tunnel floor in waning light from the torch while being dive-bombed by bats all day? The cloud flew overhead and back through the tunnel. The crew waited in case they came back.
     Rhonda uncovered her head and strained to hear any noise through the silence. Nothing. “I think they’re gone.”
     Curtis let his arms fall to his sides. Then he reached for the torch and held it up again.
     She stood. In the dim light she saw Dennis had covered Maddie in the same way Curtis had shielded her. Well, it was nice while it lasted, whatever the reason.
     Selena clung to James’s arm. “We’re going to follow the bats?” Her voice rose to a squeak.
     Rhonda put one hand on her hip. “You can always go back to the Dungeon.”
     “No.” Selena straightened. “I’m going with you.”
     Curtis faced forward. “Let’s go then.”