Blessed Light of Day – Part Four
Adventure Horror Stories
The claws of what had taken me sunk into my flesh and my blood poured out running down my arms. I felt like a rabbit caught by a fox — utterly helpless. They were dragging me through the dark passages, where there was no light anywhere. This is why I could never see my assailants, but I knew I didn’t want to. I had gone into enough turmoil seeing the first creature that had slain my friends. Finally, after what felt like hours being dragged over uncomfortable jagged rock, we stopped. I was released from their grip. Instinct immediately made me try to survive what was coming. I scrabbled awkwardly up and tried running back, but I hit what felt like a brick wall. I tried another direction and screamed in frustration but I was met by something else.
I hit something scaly but with a mushy texture; I bounced back. Immediately, a soft light flickered on in front of my face. It floated gently, the light making me hopeful. Mesmerized, I stared at it for a second, forgetting momentarily what I was encountering. I followed the light in utter awe. It was beautiful. All of a sudden, a grotesque, mangled face snapped at me as it gnashed its teeth. A hiss pierced the air. I stepped back, realizing something that chilled me to the bone. The face on the creature in front of me — it was one of my former colleagues. The flesh was distorted and the aspect corrupted, but it was his face, taken by these horrors. The light, like a deep-sea creature, was a lure.
The creature seemed to leave me alone and its bioluminescence went out, leaving me in more darkness. I could hear more things scurrying and shambling around. Clicking echoed around the chamber, lights sometimes fading in and out around the cavern. I noticed what felt like hundreds of insects and multi-legged invertebrates crawling over my hands and legs. When the lights flickered on, I could see creatures covering the walls. They must be bait for creatures eating prey. I could hear larger horrors … stumbling through the dark patches … their heavy footfalls squelching and shuddering. The sounds of clicking and hisses were deafening now. I realized that I had discovered an entirely new ecosystem, trapped in the underground.
Terrified, I collapsed into the fetal position and sobbed. What is happening? What are those things? Where are my friends? The most important question rang in my mind, however:
Is this even real? Or is it a delirium caused by my suspected insanity?
Soon, I put myself back together, the sounds around me reaching their peak crescendo. I didn’t want to stay in this cavern any longer. Sitting up, I stared at the pinpoints of light scattered on what I assumed were the walls. They strobed gently; they were the only light I had seen in forever. Shaking off the entrancing feeling, I followed a line of them, leading me to an opening in the rock. I clambered through the opening, squeezing through tight spaces in the endless dark. The lights were gone, but the clicking remained. While I was climbing through, I occasionally felt multiple points run across my arms. It happened more and more often, making me shake in panic every time it happened. It made moving through the passage very difficult, as I felt the insect-like creatures clinging to my skin. My hands, pushing against the walls, sometimes stroked one of the things. They felt like lobsters — a hard shell — but I could feel spindly appendages growing out of them. They repulsed me, but I was simultaneously amazed at their frequency in this godforsaken cave.
The passage opened up eventually. The rock walls that echoed the clicking of the creatures opened up yet again, as it always does. I can’t help but feel these caverns aren’t natural, but all the tests we had done had concluded that the rock wasn’t tampered with — apart from the markings. After several steps forward, my leg suddenly fell through a hole in the rock. I screamed, expecting the rest of my body to fall into a bottomless pit. To my surprise, my foot found ground, barely avoiding serious injury. I stood awkwardly for a moment, one foot seemingly in the rock. I got up again, wary of more dangers in the dark. Wandering forward, I felt my way on all fours. My mind was racing at what I had seen these past hours, but my body was exhausted. I carried on, hoping to find a safe spot to lie down and fall asleep, without the constant clicking and chattering of subterranean insects. As I was crawling, I thought I saw a stream of light filtering down a few meters in front of me. Attributing it to hopeful delusions of the mind, I pressed on. It persisted however, and when I tentatively ran my hand under the beam, it lit up. Tears of joy ran down my face. I was finally near the surface.
previous: Blessed Light Of Day – Part Three
more by AMADEUS LINSKILL
photograph by Jason Hughes