I have never, in my twenty-two years with the Mountain Rescue Team, seen such a relentless blizzard. I made out Bill's silhouette struggling against wind. You just had to feel sorry for the guy, he could barely place one leg after the other.
When I brought my foot down it did not meet solid ground and I fell into a spiralling tunnel. I heard Bill fall down behind me. And when I thought I'd never see the bottom, I flew through a small hole into a dark room, falling face-first into snow.
I struggled to my feet and massaged my temple. I looked around, trying to make sense of the distorted pictures chasing each other in front of my eyes. When they melted together, I saw a dark cavern littered with animal bones. Bill was doubled over on the ground. I was disturbed by the bones, but assumed that animals had been getting trapped here for centuries and the bones piled up. When I approached Bill, he tried to get up but roared in agony and dropped to the ground. I pulled him up and slipped my left arm under his left shoulder.
On the south end of the cave, there was a vertical opening, barely wide enough for us both. When we limped out the other side a smell of rot and decay hit us. I let go of Bill; he moaned a little but was relatively unharmed. We were in a circular room, fog hovering in the air, three stone slabs lying on the ground and an aperture in the opposite wall -- a vertical drop with stalagmites and stalactites sticking out horizontally, like canines from the walls.
"We oughta light a fire and rest, then we'll think 'bout how we' re gonna get outta here." I said, as I spilled out our emergency fire starter kit onto the floor. A phial of gasoline, safety matches, paper, and box of coal and twigs. I lit a fire near the slabs.
"Will that be enough to last us the blizzard?" Bill said.
"If we're economical with it, yes. It's a big 'un but it should subside by tomorrow morning -- if it doesn't, then who cares, we ain't gonna be in it."
"What kind of fucking rescue chopper will fly in this weather? You don't intend to go further, do you?"
"You're not intending to huddle up beside the fire and wait for someone to jump down a hole in hopes of finding you?"
"My head and leg hurt, and I'm not walking through a random cave in the fucking Ural Mountains during the height of winter."
I was about to burst out at him, but I bit my tongue and said, "Look, Bill, I know you're sick, but we're gonna have to go further. Think about it logically. You're sick and we don't have sufficient inventory to fight off the flu until the rescue gets here."
"Fuck man! I'm doing this shit to pay our bills, I'm doing this so I can spend time with my family. I didn't sign up to die."
Bill just looked at floor for a few seconds then blew his nose and lowered himself onto the ground to sleep.
I tried to contemplate our situation, but my eyes kept wandering off to Bill. The fire cast pulsating shadows on the pale wreck of a man; I did not reconsider going further, Bill needed to understand that was our only option. He wanted to stay snuggled up and wait for help. If he could not deal with the circumstances, he should have stayed home, or better yet started sweeping Tescos for minimum wage.
I lowered myself onto the stone slab and slept.
When I awoke the room was dark and misty, but I glimpsed a faint toxic-green light coming from the aperture in the wall. I stretched down and fumbled around for my shoes; my hand searched blindly in the dark, then I felt something warm. The thing suddenly twisted and seized my hand; I felt slimy fingers tighten around my wrist with crippling strength. My lungs stopped functioning, sweat streamed into my mouth, tasting sweet, and when my eyes adjusted to darkness, I saw a poison-green hand holding my own and I choked back a strangled scream.
I broke its grip and scrambled back. I did not move a muscle for two hours. When my fear was subdued by curiosity, I reached into my backpack with a shaking hand and took out a flashlight. The second the beam lit up the room was the second I pulled my hand back and swung the heavy object at the foot of my makeshift bed; using all my momentum and strength I crashed the flashlight into the place where the hand was.
The flashlight shattered the moment it hit the stone... there was nothing there.
"Hey, what are doing!" Bill yelled.
"Where are you?" I asked.
"Where do you think? What is all the racket about, did you have a dream about your mother?"
When Bill flipped on his flashlight, I told him the whole story. He looked at me gravely and shook his head, "It was in your sleep, had to be. And if you're crazy enough to think it was real, then I think you shouldn't decide our course of action."
"I'm going down there and looking for another way out, if you wanna stay here and wait for hypothermia to get you, be my guest."
"Hey! I need medical supplies and kindling for a fire if I'm to wait for help."
"Too bad that I have them in my pack, oh well, I guess you'll have to manage without the supplies."
Bill took out a half-empty packet of tissues and blew his nose; he pushed himself up and nodded, we wrapped rope around nails which we hammered in just below the aperture.
We rappelled down, manoeuvring between the sharp, protruding rocks. When our boots touched the ground, we sighed, relieved. We were staring into a dark tunnel. The floor was littered with bones of animals and the walls smeared with blood.
The air was thick. And there was this weird sensation, it was this feeling of impending danger like a kid huddled beneath his covers, waiting for the bogeyman to crawl out and snatch him. Bones crunched under our boots as we stalked down the tunnel. It was cold. In the dark, I felt for Bill's hand and squeezed it. I saw a flicker of green light further down the tunnel.
"Did you see that?" I asked Bill.
"The green light. Look, there it is again."
It was more distinct this time: a venomous green light rising and waning from deep down the tunnel. Bill fumbled for his flashlight. His grip failed and it shattered on the ground. A scream erupted from somewhere in front of us. Our hands squeezed so tightly I felt my blood stop circulating.
A shuffling started somewhere far away; it grew louder and faster, like something was charging at us. I was breathing frantically, my hands shook, and I tried to scream but my lungs only wheezed.
When I came to my senses, I detached a flare from my belt. The shuffling was getting louder. I struck the end of the flare against rough end of the cap. A fireball of sparks exploded from the flare, and I threw it into the tunnel.
When it hit the ground, the steaming red bulb of light revealed an amphibious yet humanoid shape which screeched and fled.
"What the fuck was that?" Bill choked.
"I don't know."
"We need to go further." Bill said.
"No, we need to go back."
"We can't and it's all your fucking fault."
We moved on until we found an opening in the wall, it looked down onto an abyss. We set up camp here. Bill's coat was drenched in mucus, it was streaming down his cheeks, and we were both shaking -- it was freezing.
The flames died down until only embers gleamed in the darkness; Bill took out a pack of tissues with a trembling hand. Only one tissue left. He could either throw it in the fire and provide us both with warmth, or he could relieve his sinus and stop cooking on mucus so much. He cast the tissue into the fire. We both fell asleep in the new-found warmth.
I woke up later. The air was heavy and tasted of rot and decay, it was freezing and dark -- except for the faint green light. I knew what it signified; I took out a flare. The smell made me gag. I heard a rustling on the ledge near the opening, that's where the light came from; I saw green, bony fingers dig into the stones and the muscles on the hands tensed.
The hands were pulling up a body. I squeezed the flare, and I saw a horse-structured skull enveloped in glowing green hide emerge from the darkness of the abyss; then, a heart-shaped body with protruding ribs emerged, it was encased in some bedraggled armour. Lastly, horse-like legs hit the ground. It snarled at me with bloody teeth. It looked like a mutated holocaust victim.
The monster looked hurt: it was leaning to one side as if to re-direct body-weight onto an unhurt leg. It had cyan liquid spurting out of its other leg. I lit the flare, and threw it at the thing. It hissed and lunged into the void.
Bill snapped awake, choking on mucus. I explained what happened, but this time he did not lecture me on how crazy I am; instead, he said we better pack up and continue onwards. We walked until we reached a natural stairwell. We descended. It was about four fathoms deep.
It led into a giant opening. We walked around and what we saw made our very bones shiver. Ancient buildings of Mesoamerican and Roman architecture filled the place. They all lay in ruin and, occasionally, a mangled corpse of one of those monsters lay outside the door.
As we walked through the ruins, I heard a rustling behind us, and when I turned around, the monster from before sprang at me from the darkness. I woke up with a sore head and throbbing stomach; I was lying in a metal room with cables and circuits running along the walls. When my vision focused, I saw a metal bar door. I limped towards it, taking in rough breaths.
I seized the bars when I saw the horror on the other side: Bill was lying naked on an operating table, the monster standing beside him. There were pods containing similar creatures lining the left wall, I shifted around to get a better look at the right; I felt my stomach churn when I saw the heap of dead, naked, mangled corpses sprawled in a giant heap. Tears welled up in my eyes. This is it, I thought. This is the end, we're gonna die.
The monster took a squirming bug out of a tube he picked from beside a computer. The keyboard was attached to the wall and tilted down at an acute angle; the screen was also in the wall, and the desktop was thrice the size of a normal one, with holes and tubes and flashing buttons on it. The bug was dropped into Bill's mouth. I saw a bulge as the bug scurried down my friend's oesophagus, small intestine, large intestine. It stopped there, changed position and continued. Bill's penis swelled as a lump shot through his urethra. The bug shrivelled in the pool of blood around it.
The creature picked it up, put it back in the tube, and inserted the tube into the computer. The screen flickered to life. Two columns popped up, the first had two rows of green icons; the second had rows of red and green icons. The alien clicked some button on the bottom of the screen. All the icons in the first row were red, while only one in the second row was red.
The alien produced a syringe and extracted some pinkish fluid from himself. He fell over but managed to put the syringe into the computer. All the icons were green now. The desktop lurched violently, and a tube stuck into the desktop filled with a yellow liquid.
The monster carried the liquid to one of the pods and pushed it into a slot. The liquid drained and air rushed out of the collapsing pod door. A monster fell out too. The monster number one was now convulsing on the ground.
The pod monster knelt down on its legs and rapped its knuckles on the other's head while he died. The pod monster shrieked and launched itself at Bill. It tore at his flesh and muscles furiously; the motherfucker was in the biggest frenzy I ever saw.
The sight made me so sick I retreated into the shadows of my cell. I sat on the floor, hyperventilating. I scanned the room in search of an escape, but there was nothing. I cried endlessly, sinking deeper into the bones on the ground. Until I remembered something I learned on an expedition through a cave in Africa. The guide told us to put away anything that could produce flame because the animal bones all over the tight corridors are highly flammable.
Now, if I could only start a fire. The splattering sound of the monster ravaging my friend made me clutch my head so hard I nearly blacked-out. I fell on the ground, flailing my limbs manically.
"Shut up!" I cried. "Shut up! SHUT UP! SHUT UP!"
I was going crazy. You'd understand if you saw an impossible monster tear your friend to gory shreds. On the ground, I saw a flint. My eyes widened and hope eclipsed my insanity. I snatched up the flint and struck it against the base of the iron walls. Sparks flew out and glittered on the bones, it was not enough to start a fire.
Insanity returned. It was like shafts of moonlight piercing a dark cloud. My action became faster and more furious, my breathing more desperate, and my muscles ached terribly; the flint was now half its original size. The dark cloud was now gleaming white. I felt myself going insane.
A lick of flame tasted the trench I carved into the wall. I struck it again. This time, a tongue of fire whipped the protruding rib of some elk and hastily engulfed the whole skeleton. The dark cloud was gone, and a full moon shone. I yelled until my lungs gave out. I jumped and banged my head against the walls.
"Burn, Bitch, Burn!"
The creature ripped out the cell door and dug its claws into my chest, it lifted me up and sprinted away. I blacked out.
I tried to move my hand but a paroxysm of pain shot through it. Elk antlers were pinning my hands and legs to the walls. In front of me I saw a brilliant array of bright, multi-colored lights shinning and flashing in front of me. I heard hundreds of differently pitched gurgles. In front of me was a civilization of aliens living life just like us.
I looked up. Hundreds of small dots were clinging to the walls of a humongous crater in the ceiling. They were digging, trying to dig out into the outside world. At this rate, they will succeed.
God help us!
Written by Jake888