Spelunking

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic

Cover image: Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash.

Spelunking

Are you quite sure it’s safe in there?” Monica peered past Clive’s shoulder.

Well, as sure as I can be,” he replied. “From what I’ve been able to discover no one has yet been inside this cave. Or at least if they have they have not left any records.”

Drawing back, Monica said: “It looks like it’s a long way down.”

But if you want to chicken out, say so now.”

And what? You’ll go on down there without me and leave me sitting here.” Monica surveyed the overgrown surroundings and shuddered. “No thanks. If you are going to go, then I will have to go down there too. You do know what you are doing, I take it.”

Clive shrugged. “I’ve been down into a few caves now. There’s always the possibility of unexpected dangers, especially in a place like this where it’s completely unknown. But that’s part of the fun. Walking where no one else has stepped before.”

Monica pulled her backpack firmly onto her shoulders and pulled the straps tight while Clive spent a while finding somewhere secure to tie the rope, then carefully knotting it. “Don’t forget your gloves,” he called. “Stops the rope from burning if you slip.”

Monica pulled on her gloves, glancing surreptitiously towards her brother. The mention of slipping did not inspire confidence.

Once he was sure the rope was not going to work loose, he eased himself down into the mouth of the cave, tugging against it with all of his weight. “You climb down once there’s sufficient space,” he said, then put one hand beneath the other and let his feet walk downwards.

Left on her own, Monica had second thoughts. Did she really want to go down into a hole in the ground? She had never been especially adventurous, unlike her older brother. Maybe she’d have just sat down and waited for him to re-emerge if a bird had not suddenly fluttered up from a nearby bush.

Cautiously, she loosened her grip with one hand and put it beneath the other. After just a few feet her shoulders were in agony but once started, she had no choice but to continue going downwards.

Where are you, Clive?” she called after another minute or so.

I’m here.” The voice came from quite a way beneath her, and it seemed to echo backwards and forwards between the walls of what was quite a narrow opening.

Can you see the bottom?” Monica asked. “My shoulders are killing me here.”

Not yet. Be careful, Mon. The opening gets a bit narrower. It can’t be much further now.”

They continued to climb down in silence until the rope suddenly jerked, throwing Monica’s back against the far wall. The backpack cushioned her enough to avoid injury, but she was shaken and didn’t mind her brother knowing.

What the hell just happened?”

I don’t know. Maybe the tension had loosened or something. Otherwise...” Clive’s words were cut off when the same thing happened again.

Otherwise what?” Monica shrieked.

Either someone up there is messing with the rope, or it’s... breaking.”

No! Don’t say that. Can you see the bottom now?” Monica could feel her muscles begin to shake with the strain which added to her trembling with fear.

It can’t be much...” Again, the rope jerked, cutting him off mid sentence. “I’m going to jump,” he said. “Maybe with less weight it will stop throwing us around.”

She felt the difference when he brother let go, heard him hit the ground beneath her, but if the idea was to make her safer it had failed. She felt the snap as well as heard it, and found herself falling. She tried to remember what her brother had said about the safest way to fall, but her arms and legs were not obeying her mind, and instead were flailing wildly.

Monica felt like she was falling for ages even though logic said it could only have been for seconds. When she landed, she thought she was okay, until she heard the bone in her leg snap. She screamed out and Clive made his way beside her. “Keep still. Let me take a look.”

He did not need to look as her shattered bone poked through a tear in her trouser leg, just beneath her left knee. There was no way his sister was going to be able to stand, let alone walk or climb. He tried to think as Monica sobbed on the ground beside him. Batteries! He needed the spare ones from her backpack.

Monica whimpered with pain at the movement, but with her own helmet light beginning to fade she welcomed the glow once Clive had replaced his own batteries.

Until she saw them. Bones... human bones. She gasped, pointed, and Clive recoiled. The skeletons, for it took only a moment for them to see that the remains belonged to more than just one individual, were proof that they were not the first to have entered the cave. They also explained why no one had reported the cave.

We’ll get out, Mon. I promise. There’s got to be another way through.”

Monica’s laugh was bitter. “So why didn’t these people find it. And even if there is one, I’m not going to be able to move.” Her brother looked away from her, under the pretense of scanning the cave. “No. Don’t even think of leaving me.”

Clive did not answer. He looked from one wall to another, searching for any type of hole or crack, but the cave they were in seemed smooth, seamless. It’s oval shape gave it the feeling of being inside an egg of some sort.

Monica watched as her brother pulled his cell phone from the inside pocket of his jacket. She knew there’d be no signal. There hadn’t been one when they were above ground; there was no way that there would be one inside the cave. She watched as Clive flung his phone at the wall, smashing it with the force of impact. She shivered from a combination of dread, pain and blood loss.

Hello!” Clive shouted. “Can anybody hear me?”

Why waste your breath? You know there’s no one around. Can you feel how cold it’s getting?” Monica asked. “That chill in the air, that’s death.”

No. Stop it, Mon. I got us in here. I’ll find a way to get us out.”

For a few moments they said nothing, and in the silence they heard a scrabbling, scraping noise that seemed to be coming from underneath them. They shared a hopeful glance until some razor sharp claws began to protrude through the ground, followed by a mouth full of jagged teeth, and brother and sister both began to scream until they were silenced.

 

 


Submitted: January 02, 2021

© Copyright 2021 hullabaloo22. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:

Comments

Mike S.

Spooky-excellence, Hull

Sat, January 2nd, 2021 8:30pm

Author
Reply

Thanks, Mike.

Sun, January 10th, 2021 10:56am

Joe Stuart

I have been spelunking, Hully, but not in caves as scary as yours (even without the toothy monster). I just got cold and wet. No monster. Just an underground river.

Sat, January 2nd, 2021 9:36pm

Author
Reply

I have never felt the slightest desire to go spelunking, Joe, to be honest. Bungee jumping, maybe, but I'm too claustrophobic for caves.

Sun, January 10th, 2021 10:55am

Steven P. Pody

Good story-ette. I used to be a bit of a caver myself, and I could feel the rocks and sweating walls. It also reminds me why I always spelunk with a bazooka in my day pack... I don't often read short stories, but this was worth the trip. Thanks!

Sun, January 3rd, 2021 8:03am

Author
Reply

Thanks so much, Steven. Not something I've ever done, so I'm glad it kind of worked okay.

Sun, January 10th, 2021 10:53am

D Mays

For the most part it was realistic. It was like revisiting Marshall's cave in Virginia. The drop down has two exit paths back out. Never saw human bones in any cave or clawed and fanged monsters. There were some animal remains in some caves. Overall, a very good story.

Sun, January 3rd, 2021 10:49am

Author
Reply

Thank you so much!

Sun, January 10th, 2021 10:52am

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