I was challenged to answer the MYSTERY CAVE prose prompt on Writer’s Carnival.
Write a story, no more than 500 words, that tells about finding something in a cave. What is it and how did it get there?
This is what I came up with… bending the rule a little? I don’t think so, no one said who ‘finds’ whom. (Word Count 495)
<><><><><><><> WARNING: HORROR CONTENT <><><><><><><>
The noise of crumbling stone snapped my head around. My clawed grip on the rock lined ceiling of the cavern held me secure as my body swung gently, the jerking action tensing my muscles. The coal dust atmosphere billowed as I eased my eyes open, but it was the sound that made the walls of the cave come to life. Like a disrupted signal from my sonar, it bounced around the space and mapped it in my mind.
The membrane cocooning me felt tight, and the dehydrated skin crackled as I eased the tight embrace I had wrapped around my body. I felt the cold dank air of the cave whisper over my outstretched limbs.
The scraping grew louder, the pitch hurting my ears when an avalanche of dust and rock fragments erupted into the air. I recognised the sound. It had the same jarring resonance I heard when I became sealed inside this rock encrusted space. The grit I had breathed in still lined my nose. Survival instincts taking over, I resorted to preserved my energy by hibernating.
“Give it another shove, Riggs. We’re nearly in.”
The creature’s screeching call grated like splintered glass through my head. I detected the waft of a familiar salt-laden scent. It flavored the smooth skin on my food source, which slept at night. They were easy to feed from when asleep. My long tongue flicked out, tasting the air.
“Well if you’d give me a hand, we’d be in there a lot quicker. Bloody storm is coming.”
“Can’t we find another cave?”
“Don’t be so soft. We’ve only got to shift a few lumps of rock, they’ve hardly even settled. Just put your back into it.”
The smell of blood plumed into the darkness as the rocks shifted and a glittering shaft of light, like a blade of silver, illuminated the packed mud floor. Empty drink cartons and a rusted oil lamp were all that waited for the scavengers when they finally broke in.
“For God’s sake Pete, wrap something round it and stop whining. It’s just a graze.”
The air inside the cave suddenly tasted of dirt as the currents inside whipped into frenzy. The silver light faded to the dullness of molten lead and stones clattered… no, not stones, rainwater splattering, pummelling the rocks.
“Quick, I’m getting soaked, get inside, get in.”
The creature, it’s succulent pink skin gleaming, fell through the hole. It crawled across the ground, the blood staining its hand making my mouth water. The crinkling sensation of spreading dry wings grated through my muscles. I released my grip on the rough hewn ceiling, and dropped like a stone. The rushing torrent of falling rain drowned out the animal’s gargling scream when I buried my fangs in its neck.
The ruptured throat bubbled, and its spluttering mouth oozed blood which ran down its body.
“Be careful in there, Pete. I hear there are some bloody huge bats living in some of these caves.”