• Dzama

The Cave

Davin floated in the underground lake, listening to the hounds braying just outside the cave. A little light came through a crack and the unsettled water cast ghostly reflections on the rough ceiling. The whole lynch mob was out there now, complete with torches and sharp farm tools. Davin floated deeper into the cave and the echoes of the shouting and cries from above became quieter and more distant.

The further into the cave he floated the darker it got until it was pitch black. He felt his way along the slimy cave wall as he paddled with his arms and bare feet. At one point he had to go underwater through a tunnel and after holding his breath for a scary minute he emerged in what appeared to be another open space on the other side. He heard water trickling and strange purring sounds he took to be frogs or bats.

Gradually he was able to make out glowing strands of a greenish goo hanging from the ceiling. He felt his way up a ledge and crawled out of the water, shivering and staring at the shimmering slime. He moved toward it and found himself reaching out and touching one of the gooey lumps in the strand. The green stuff stuck to his finger and when he tried to jerk his hand away he brushed other strands that also stuck to his arm. He tried swinging his arms around but only got more entwined in the gooey web. He turned to run but slipped on a rock and found himself suspended by the glowing green ropes, swinging back and forth, stuck like an insect on fly-paper.

He swung around for a while, trying to get free. Then he felt his skin stinging where it touched the green slime and he panicked, believing it was sucking his blood like a leach. He screamed and went on screaming, believing now that he’d rather die at the mercy of a lynch mob than alone in a cave, but nobody came. When his voice went hoarse he stopped screaming.

He hung there squirming until he exhausted himself. Finally he just hung, rocking slightly.

He’d been hanging there for a few hours when he heard what sounded like high heels coming down a rocky hallway. He turned and saw two girls with glowing candelabras coming down a dark passageway he hadn’t seen in the dark.

They stopped a few yards away and stared. They both wore matching uniforms with puffy skirts and white aprons. The aprons appeared to be speckled with fresh blood.

Davin struggled like crazy, finally squirming out of his clothes and leaving them hanging while he fell down into the water. He swam with manic intensity underwater, holding his breath as he went back through the tunnel. He felt a hand with sharp fingernails grabbing at his ankle but he kicked it away and kept going.

Soon he was in the outer cave with the water reflecting on the cave walls. He didn’t stop until he was crawling out of the cave into the moonlit night. The stench of the lynch mob’s torches still hung in the air but he was alone. Naked and shivering, he limped through the wood, his ankle bleeding from where the fingernails had cut into his skin.

In the distance he saw a light and he moved toward it cautiously, trying to keep from panicking long enough to figure out some sort of a plan.

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