“I don’t like this.” Aidan hissed for the umpteenth time. “I don’t like this at all.”
“Hell, you think I do?” I bit out. “Can it, will you?”
“Quiet!” Max whispered. “Listen!”
As if synchronized, we collectively held our breath and waited...
It whispered through the inky darkness of the tunnel, the vicious heat of something that was just beyond us.
We were warned about it…the Omen of Caster’s Cave.
I never believed the lore until now.
I swallowed, willing the saliva to drown me right here and now.
Aidan whimpered and pressed closer, knocking me into Max who shoved the butt of his rifle into my gut. I stifled a grunt, wishing now more than ever that I'd brought my special night-vision goggles.
Whoever it was…better yet, whatever it was…snorted then sent a blast of hot air at us. The fetid stench rolled through the darkness, seizing me by the throat. I gagged, tears leaking from my eyes. I couldn’t speak, nearly paralyzed by the rancid odor and my own fear.
I struggled to breathe, to react but then instinct suddenly saved me.
I hit the ground just as Aidan screamed and fired, his shots erratic.
The tunnel lit up, the luminous flash of each report, the bark of the rifle deafening me with its intensity. With each spark, I tried to catch a glimpse of whatever it was that he was shooting at.
I tried to scream, call for someone, anything.
In the chaos, I lost my weapon and was rewarded with the moist thump of something hot and sticky landing on me. I knew it was Max. I panicked and frantically pushed him off and tried to crawl away, the tangle of his limbs and my own trembling hampering me. I couldn’t see, didn’t know if I was going in the right direction, nothing.
The darkness hid me yet thoughtfully pushed the sizzling bile into my throat. The shakes were so intense, I vomited. My belly emptied and I was left with the dry heaves.
I reached out and felt the cool, dampness of the tunnel wall.
From behind me, Aidan’s high-pitched shrieks pierced through the numbness in my head. The snap of bones and gurgling wheezes found a place in my mind’s eye. I pressed my fingers to my mouth to stifle my own screams.
I curled up, praying that it wouldn’t see me.
I didn't want to die, not here, not like this.
Suddenly, there was a brush of icy cold, tantalizing fresh air. I dragged in deep lungfuls, hoping that it didn't hear me. I wanted to jump up and run away.
Before I could move, jagged fingers of light crawled along the dirt floor, slithering their way past me. I lay still, watching them as they went up the walls, illuminating my poor hiding place.
I tried to control my breathing but shuddered instead with hot, fresh tears.
Was this to be my fate?
I peeked over my shoulder…
© copyright 2011 by Ren Thompson June 1, 2011
3 Word Wednesday: Luminous, Erratic, and Omen