My flashlight flickers, leaving retinas stained red in the pitch black bowels of mother earth. The rumbling sound of torn claws pushing through soil fills in the gaps where my vision fails. It is almost here.
Beyond the woods, through the rusty barbed wire, on the other side of the golden fields, there is a hole, gaping like a puncture wound, to the very center of the earth. Chilling breath blows any warmth the sun could provide from our skin as we stare into its obsidian soul. Terrifyingly excited we follow its whispers of adventure.
Pressed to the floor we crawl beyond the entrance way to the main chamber, our flashlights leading the way. The main cavern is vast, our beams losing strength before ever reaching the other side. All sound of the world above is lost in the silence, except for our breathing. It is peaceful here.
Round and round our circle of light finds new passages, deeper and further from the surface, the hard packed dirt floor speaks to the presence of previous explorers or inhabitants, while the mountain of earth above our heads carries the weight of their stories. We are not alone.
Our hearts hammer.
Well rounded and smooth, the tunnel dips then rises into a hollow circular room, just big enough for one man to sit cross legged. Finger size holes dot the walls every two inches, disappearing in depth when we shine our light into them. Shutting off our lights, we breath the deafening silence. Our skin crawls with the energy of the moment.
Our lights flash back on, illuminating a patch of earth on the only path leading out, now moving and cracking from something within, pressing through towards us. Flicker...flicker...darkness. Banging our flashlights buy us a few more flashes as the dirt is now pressing up...
Slip sliding, we leap into oblivion, juggling fresh batteries and plastic flashlight parts as we try to manipulate them into place and escape...
...on our heels...tripping...scrambling for purchase...
Breathless we wheeze against a fallen tree by the mouth of the cave, thankful to be alive. Frantic eyes train on the shadows of our retreat, waiting for our pursuer to step from within, hoping it does not.
Beneath the surface, there are monsters, that will steal your light if you let it. We will go back and face them...one day.
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