Week 34 Theme will be CAVE
As usual, the standard rules apply:
- 1000 words max
- fictional tale (or true if you really want)
- PG (no more than PG-13) Content – let’s keep this family-friendly!
- Your story must contain the word(s) from the theme and/or be centered around the theme in a way that shows it is clearly related
- Go for the entertainment value!
- State the Genre of your story at the top of your post.
- Post your story on Tuesday, by 11:59 PM PST
- Use the hashtag #BlogBattle when tweeting your story, put a link back to your #BlogBattle Short Story in the comments section of this page, and/or include a link to this page in your own blog post (it creates a “ping-back” which will alert me and our friends to your #BlogBattle post)
- Have fun!
So, after many weeks of not having anything to offer, I return to submit for your approval one of the two stories I have dealing with a “Cave.”
I doubt if our esteemed Hostess will like either of these offerings, as they could both be considered “Horror.” Of course, as usual, I did not know that at the time of writing them, but when they were done, well…
So, I have posted Deadly Cavern independently, as it is closer to 3000 words. For my offering to the #BlogBattle, I have severely cut portions of a tale called Escape, mostly describing articles found in the cave. In fact, I have been able to cut almost 600 words! On other stories, I could not find that much I could slice, at least not that I wanted to.
On to my offering for #BlogBattle Number 34:
By John T. M. Herres
Where am I? Everything is pitch black.
“Hello?” I call out, but the echo of my deep voice is my only answer.
I’m lying on what feels like a concrete floor, the back of my head throbbing with the lump that greets my hand.
I sit up. The dizzying, nauseating feel of the blood rushing from my head causes me to bring my knees up to rest my elbows on while I cradle my noggin for a moment. As the pressure eases, I lower both my hands and knees, trying again to see, or at least get a sense of where I might be.
“Hello!” Again, no answer.
I can tell by the shortness of the echo that I am not in a big chamber. The walls must be of dirt or stone, judging by the muffled tones. I can feel pressure, like being underground. I cannot say for sure.
I roll onto my hands and knees with deliberate slowness. Crawling forward, I reach out my hand to feel for anything which may be in my path. Like a blind person in unfamiliar territory, I make my way across the hard, cold ground. It’s not concrete, but rather stone. Could be a cave.
My outstretched, waving hand bumps something a little to my right. I slow my movements and hone in on the object. I inch closer and grab it.
It’s some kind of metal frame. Hand over hand, I make it to the top.
There’s a cushion. No, too thick; a mattress. Feeling my way to the right, I find a stand, wooden. Three drawers tall. A nightstand.
I carefully sweep my hand over the top, palm vertical in case something’s there.
I feel a metal frame with wires surrounding glass. An oil lamp.
I slide out the top drawer on the stand and reach in carefully, half expecting some kind of trap. I can feel four or five pieces of paper in varying sizes.
Farther back, I find a small box, cardboard. Matches! When I take one out, I find my hands are shaking. I hope I don’t find something terrible in the light. I try looking around, knowing I can’t see anything, but looking just the same.
Aligning the match again, I turn my head and close my eyes, then strike it. I blink to try to get used to the sudden brightness, intent on verifying whether I am alone or not. All I see is a yellow blur, and even that hurts.
“Ahh!” The match burned down to my finger! Blast it. I should have put it to the wick.
Try again, quit being a baby. I hear the words in my head, not wanting to vocalize my own chastising.
Clenching my eyes again, I remove and strike another, this time closer to the lamp. I squint one eyelid enough to set the flame on the wick, then close it again as I shake out the match and start working on getting my eyes to work.
Everything is still blurry, even though I am used to the light now. Maybe I wear glasses. Why wouldn’t I know that? There: In the middle of the floor, there is something…
I make my way to it, back on my hands and knees. Wire frame, round glass. The room comes into focus as I put them on.
It is a cave, the rock walls rough from natural erosion. The ceiling about eight feet at its crest.
Standing slowly, I see a table, the bed and nightstand, and shelving stocked with canned goods.
The cavern looks to be some 12-feet long and about eight wide at the widest. At the “doorway” it narrows to just over shoulder-width, the floor climbing slightly upward and the ceiling downward, reducing the height to three feet or so.
Good thing I didn’t feel that way; I’d have kept going in the dark.
I crawl through the opening to the exit with the oil lamp in front of me lighting the way.
The tunnel opens up again, and I see that a cave-in has covered the path. Is this the exit to the outside, or just a barrier to more tunnel? I have no choice; if I want to know the answer, I have to get through it. I put the lamp on a small shelf in the rock wall and begin moving the barrier, one, sometimes three rocks at a time.
Breathing heavily. Been at it for about half an hour now, and all I’m finding is more rocks. I must have pulled about a hundred stones out of the way by now, the whole time hearing my own grunts along with the clatter of rock on rock echo dimly in my head as well as in the tube I’m in. Just sit here and rest for a moment.
In the silence, I think my ears are playing tricks on me. Is that air escaping through a tiny hole? I cock my head and listen more intently.
“…ssssss…” It has to be! I feel my excitement rise and begin moving more rocks to get to the rushing air. I grasp one after the other long enough to roll it aside.
Something irritating the back of my throat, making me cough. I can see a pinhole of light. Must move more, the sound of air is more like wind now, I feel it blowing on the back of my head.
I’m so tired. What is that sulfur-like smell? My arms are getting heavier, making it hard to keep moving the rocks, but I have to see what’s out there. I grab a larger stone, seeing that it will tumble many more and get me an opening to see out. I grab it and pull. It gives with not just a tumble of its brothers, but a rush of air so intense I am pulled into the void.
Can’t breathe at all. Everything around is aflame. Why can’t I get any air into my lungs? I vainly try to breathe even as my sight begins to fade again. Where to now? I wonder, as blackness envelopes my mind.