“From here on in, you’ll need your light. And you should put the mask on, too.” He said before slipping into the mouth of the man-made cavern.
“Ugh,” she shuddered. “Have I ever told you you take me to the nicest places?” She slipped her filtration mask down over her mouth, thumbed her flashlight on, and followed him in. “Because that would be a lie. An utter and complete lie.”
“Hey, you’re the one that said you wanted to do something outdoors, but couldn’t take the Memphis heat.” Came his response from farther in.
Inside, the air temperature dropped considerably. The only light came from the holes in the sewer covers above her head, the only sound was their footsteps and the slow trickle of moving water. She flashed her lights across the brick and mortar work, amazed it was still holding together after all these years.
“The Gayoso Bayou’s probably the oldest thing in the city.” He was leaning against the curved wall, waiting on her to catch up. “This used to open to the air, but as the city grew out, they enclosed it, turned it into a sewer.
“Welcome to the Memphis underworld. Let’s go explore.”
The Gayoso Bayou was originally an open-air drainage stream that emptied out into one of the many sections of the Wolf River. It was a source of water for early Memphis, and as a natural sewer. It formed a natural eastern boundary for the city, but as the population grew, it was enclosed into a proper sewer in the years after the Civil War. Now, it is nearly five miles of artificial cave running under the heart of Memphis.