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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
My entry for karen oneal's 'Don't Be Afraid To Write Horror' competition.

Submitted: July 16, 2016

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Submitted: July 16, 2016




“Wake up, you lot. Quickly!” Mae couldn't believe how far the tide had come in. How long had they all been asleep for?

“What? What's going on. Mae?” Lucy and Evan were on their feet at least, frantically surveying the scene before them.

“Scott, get up! We've got a real problem here.” Evan aimed a kick at his friend's foot.

“Wha...What's up, Evan?”

Mae was quickly dashing around, picking up bags, rugs, anything she could get her hands on. “Come on, you lot. We've got to get out of here now, or we'll never make it.”

They turned to head back to the main beach only to be met by the lapping tide. They were already too late. The tide had cut off their escape route.

“What are we going to do? We're all going to drown here.” Lucy was starting to panic. “No one even knows where we are....”

The sea was pushing further in towards them. The area of sand was getting smaller and smaller, the four friends finding themselves being pushed closer and closer together.

“We're all going to drown!” Lucy wailed.

“Would you just pull yourself together and let me think,” Evan said. “Great idea of yours with the booze, Scott. This would never have happened......”

“Just shut up!” Lucy was bordering on hysterics as the sea water lapped around her ankles.

“The cave. It's our only chance.” Mae turned and headed towards the opening in the rocks.

“But that's going to be certain suicide. The sea is going to pour in there once the tide's in a bit more. We'll have nowhere to go.” Scott had found his voice at last.

“No.” Mae was adamant. “Staying here is suicide. Do you see anywhere else we can go? Can we climb that sheer rock there? No. We can't get out that way. Can we swim?” She looked at the waves heaving all around them. The only clear path was the one that led to the cave.

The sea level was still rising. Evan and Scott looked at their feet, now well underwater.

“Okay, stupid or not, let's do it!” Scott and Mae turned and started to move as fast as they could towards the cave's entrance. The water was too deep for them to run through. Evan had to grip Lucy's arm and almost drag her with him.

There was already water in the cave but the four friends had no other option than to go further inside. As they moved into the cave the light became less and less. So they wouldn't see the rising water level but they'd still feel it as it crept higher and higher up their bodies.

“Has anyone got a torch or something?” Mae asked. Nobody had. They had gone on a midday picnic and a torch had hardly seemed essential for that.

“How about our phones?” Scott took his out of his pocket but the battery was too low for it to give out much light.

The phones all seemed to be the same so it was decided to just use one at a time. It did not help much. All they could tell was that the floor of the cave seemed to be sloping downwards, exactly what they did not need.

“What have you talked us into, Mae? It's going to get deeper in here quicker than if we'd stayed outside.” Evan didn't even try to hide his anger.

Lucy, who had been quiet since they entered the cave, started to whimper again. She pulled away from Evan's grip, trying to head back to the entrance. He caught hold of  her arm to stop her running off and they both found themselves laying in six inches of water.

Scott and Mae helped them back to their feet. “Stop it, you guys! We've got to keep going. We don't have any choice.” Mae was angry with both Evan and Lucy. “And I didn't bring the drink!”

They splashed further and further into the cave but the level continued to drop and the water continued to rise. It was starting to seem hopeless to them all, not just to Lucy who was muttering “We're all going to die in here,”

And then, by the dying light of the second mobile phone, Mae saw it. Their one visible escape route. There was a tunnel about two feet up from the bottom of the cave, the entry about five feet wide. They wouldn't be able to stand, at least at the start, but at least they'd be out of reach of the sea for a while.

“Come on, you lot. We might just have found our way to survive.” Mae made her way over to the tunnel, confident that her friends would follow her.

* * * * * * * * * *

Mae didn't pause. As soon as she reached the tunnels entrance she climbed inside. She was too tall to stand so she shuffled around and called to Scott to follow her.

“Come on, Scott. Lucy! Evan! Get a move on.”

Scott climbed inside the tunnel beside her and they both watched in dismay as Lucy tried to run.

“No! No, I'm not going in there.....I can't” Any remaining self-control had gone; Lucy was totally hysterical. When Evan grabbed at her she flew at him, hitting and spitting.

“I'm gonna have to go and help Evan or we're never going to move from here.” Scott dropped back down to the ground.

Evan moved towards Lucy's left side, Scott to her right. The water was now above all of their knees and it was becoming increasingly difficult to move through. Lucy was the shortest of the three and this gave the others the chance they needed to grab her. Lucy struggled frantically, her screams echoing around the cave until Scott slapped her hard on the face. The shock was enough to temporarily calm and silence her.

“Come on....” Mae was desperately watching a large wave rush into the cave. Scott and Evan lifted Lucy enough for Mae to pull her into the tunnel but the wave caught up to them. If they had not been quick enough in grasping the tunnels edge they would have been knocked off their feet.

Once the four of them were inside the tunnel, Mae set off. The gap in the rock seemed to be getting smaller, harder and harder to get through. Mae dropped to her knees and crawled forward, trying to ignore the whimpering from Lucy and the cursing from Evan. The light from the mobile phone was fading fast. They only had one left with any power and that was if the water had not wrecked it.

There was no time to pause though, no time to think. She had to keep on moving forward and when the ground suddenly disappeared from under her knees she tumbled painfully downwards.

She had no idea how far she had fallen but did not think she was badly hurt; scraped and bruised maybe, but nothing like as badly hurt as she would be if she didn't move before Scott followed her down. She dragged herself forward just in time.

Scott landed hard and groaned. Before he had a chance to work out what had just happened, Lucy tumbled down and landed on top of him. Mae watched in horror.

“Come on, you two. Move this way quickly.” Mae shouted up to Evan. “Wait just a minute, Evan. Stay still. The floor just suddenly drops and Lucy and Scott have got to move out of your way.”

Evan landed a bit more successfully having been warned of the drop. The remaining light from the phone vanished. “Who's got the last phone?” Evan asked.

Scott reached in to his pocket and pulled out his phone. It fell apart in his hands, broken during his fall. Nobody said a word.

“Well, we're not going to be able to get back out that way so we'd better hope that there is going to be another way out.” Scott turned in what he hoped was the right direction, there was so little light it was disorientating.

Mae moved forwards again. She was strongly aware of her breathing. It seemed so loud she could hardly hear any sound from behind her but she trusted that the others were following.

After a while, there seemed to be more space in the tunnel. Mae could possibly have stood but decided to stay crawling. It would be less likely for her to fall than if she got back to her feet, and she was probably able to make quicker progress, too.

But then the tunnel branched off. With a choice of two directions Mae didn't know what to do. Scott banged in to her heel.

* * * * * * * * * *

“What's up, Mae? Why aren't you moving?”

“Which way? There's two tunnels now and no way of knowing which to take?”

“Left! Let's go left. That was the direction we needed to go to get back to the beach, right. It's got to be the right way to go. Hasn't it?” Scott had started off sounding so sure but now hesitancy had crept into his voice.

“I don't know, Scott. We could have changed direction time and time again without even knowing in here.”

“Come on, Mae. We're never going to be certain.”

“Okay. You're right.” Mae moved off into the left tunnel.

It stayed the same size, at least. And Mae had the sensation that she was climbing up a very slight slope. If it was leading upwards that must be a good sign. But Mae still had doubts. If Scott had not been so close behind her she would possibly have turned back.

How long they carried on forwards they didn't know before they realised that neither Lucy or Evan were behind them. There was no sound of anyone but themselves and a distant drip.

“Where are they?” Mae whispered. She didn't want to speak aloud in the silence. She almost felt that there was something listening, waiting.....

And then she heard it. A scream! A blood-curdling, terrifying scream. It echoed round and round inside the tunnel, one moment loud and the next much quieter.

“What the hell was that?” Scott asked.

“Lucy?” Mae didn't want to speak of her worries, as though putting them in to words might make them true,

“But it didn't come from behind us. Where are they?”

“They must have taken the other tunnel,” Mae said. “We should have waited for them to catch us up. Let's try calling them. It's so quiet, maybe they will hear us.”

Both Scott and Mae started calling out their friends names but there was no reply. Since the scream they had heard nothing but themselves.

“Now what? Do we go back and try and find them?” neither wanted to continue forward but the shout that seemed to come from nowhere propelled them forward. It was a frantic shout, a frightened shout; a shout that told of some sort of danger. And it was a shout they both recognised as being from Evan. Of Lucy there was no sound at all.

“What'” Mae panted out the question as she tried to make some forward progress. She was on her feet, her arms spread wide to the sides in an attempt to keep contact with the rock. The only light at all was an occasional soft green glow given off by some sort of algae.

“Don't know, Mae. It didn't sound good.” Scott was close behind her.

“There's another split here, Scott. Which way?” Mae was trying to control her panic but was losing the battle. “I don't know which way to go?”

Scott put a hand on her shoulder. It was meant to be a reassuring gesture but the way he was shaking just increased the terror she was feeling.

And then there was a sound. A pattering, scratching sound. It seemed to be coming from behind them but it was hard to tell. The only thing that Mae and Scott knew was that they were not in the tunnel alone.

“Left. We go left! Move, Mae. Go as quick as you can and whatever else you hear do not slow down.”

Mae tried to keep putting one foot in front of the other. She kept tripping. She didn't know if it was because the ground had become more uneven, or if she was just moving too fast to be careful. Whatever the cause she found herself on her hands and knees, with Scott barely managing to stop himself falling over the top of her.

Scott put out his hand to help her to her feet. “Come on, Mae. We've got to keep moving.”

The skittering sound was closer now, along with a hissing noise. It was definitely coming from behind them, cutting off any way of retreat.

“I can't.....” Mae sobbed.

“You have to,” insisted Scott.

They started forward again. Scott kept moving forward too fast, almost bringing Mae to the ground time after time.

“Come on, Mae. Run faster. This's getting nearer.” Scott wanted to pass her, to make his own way forward at his own quicker pace, but he could not leave her to face whatever threat it was behind them alone.

There was no escaping the fact that the next noise they heard, a sort of guttural roar, came from the way they were heading. Mae and Scott stopped running.

“Now what do we do?” wailed Mae. “We can't go forward. We can't go back!”

“Mae, stop it. Losing it is not gonna help. Maybe it was just the sound of the sea through the rock.” Scott was desperately trying to find an explanation for the noise ahead. “We'll keep going. I can't hear anything now.”

Mae turned to run. She took a few steps before she caught sight of something in her peripheral vision. Something that seemed to be running along the side of the wall. She couldn't make it out, didn't want to look. All she wanted was for it not to be there, not to really exist.

“Scott, did you....?”

Before she finished asking the question, she heard Scott's yelp of surprise. She heard his scream and she heard his fall. Her feet kept moving but still she heard the strange slurping noises coming from behind.

Her tears were falling thick and fast. If there had been any light to see by they would have blinded her.

“Keep going. Keep going.” Mae tried to convince herself that she was going to make it, that she was going to make her escape. And somehow her legs held her upright, carried her forward.

The roar that sounded in front of her was so sudden, so loud. She lost her footing, fell backwards to the floor. There were some sort of creatures on the wall to either side of her. She couldn't make out any details of their appearance but she could hear the hisses and clicks. Her pursuers had caught her up.

But it wasn't them that killed her. It was the sharp teeth in the roaring mouth that descended on her from ahead. Mae did not even get the chance to scream.


2544 words.



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