Sunday Morning Short Story
The voice that resounded off the walls of the cave was unmistakably female and had them quaking in their sneakers.
“What was that?” Elliot asked, his voice quivering.
“I don’t know, but it sounded like a girl.” Sam, who had for once lost his smug attitude said quietly, while he scanned every corner of the dimly lit cavern to see if their mysterious visitor was still nearby.
“I bet it was her.” Brady said.
“Who?” Asked Sam.
“C’mon guys, I tried to tell you before but you wouldn’t listen. There are legends about this cave.”
“Ok, ok, you did, so now that we are here and you have our full attention, tell us what you know?” Sam said snidely. He didn’t take much stock in hand-me-down stories.
“A girl died here. The legend says she haunts this place.”
“Yeah, yeah and I bet she was a virgin too. How come none of us has heard of it then? It’s just a spooky story.” Sam shot back, using bravado to cover the uneasiness he felt being in the cave.
“Really? Brady questioned raising an eyebrow. “So what we just heard, that was a spooky story too?”
He had him and Sam knew it. “Awe it was probably just a weird cave thing. I don’t believe in spirits but if you know so much spill it.”
“Ok, here it goes.” Brady sat down on a boulder knowing it would be a long story and began to tell the other two what he knew, glad to finally be taken seriously or so he thought.
Putting his flashlight under his chin for affect, Brady began to tell the story, his voice soft but deep and just a hint above a whisper. The others had to lean in to hear him.
“A couple hundred or so years ago, a bunch of nomadic people settled in the area around these caves, no one know for how long or what happened to them. Some legends say they held sacrifices in this cave, and they say one of those sacrifices is still here.”
“Human sacrifices?” Elliot choked out.
“Yep.” Brady confirmed.
“Ha, and you believe this stuff.” Sam laughed loudly at Brady’s ridiculous story, but it was even funnier to him that Elliot seemed to believe it.
“Do you think she’s still here” Elliot asked meekly. looking around the cave and then to Brady for confirmation.
“Seems so” Brady said, “I think that it was her, and that she is in here, with us.
“That’s crap,” said Sam. “if it were true, everyone would know about it.”
“No, maybe not.” Brady continued. “Another part of the legend says that she, the girl, can only be seen at certain times and under certain circumstances. It all has to be very precise.”
“This just keeps getting better.” Sam jeered, he didn’t take much stock in the mystical even though the town they live in is ripe with arcane lore and legends.
But Sam was about to get a lesson in respect, because out of nowhere the sound returned louder than thunder rumbling in circles around them spinning faster and faster until its roar threatened to burst their eardrums.
“I think it’s time to leave.” Sam said, his voice high with fear.
They covered their ears to drown out the sound when it stilled as suddenly as it started. They heard her, but not clearly, it was like she was underwater; her words were garbled and unintelligible. It was terrifying.
That was all it took and the three of them bolted for the entrance. Elliot was first to move, but being shorter and all around slower than Sam and Brady, he was the last to make it there.
Sam was first of course, the strongest of them all. With self-preservation being the first thing on his mind; he squeezed himself into the tunnel that led the way out without as much as a single glance back.
Next was Brady, who with one hand, grabbed Elliot by the collar of his jacket and pulled him along. Even though Brady tugged with all his might trying to get both of them out, something was impeding his efforts.
“It’s got leg, it’s got my leg!!” Elliot shouted. He kicked frantically at something he could feel but not see, making it all the more menacing.
Brady kept pulling but was getting nowhere. When Sam saw his friends were in trouble, he went back and grabbed Brady to double their efforts.
Whatever had ahold of Elliot’s leg loosened its grip just long enough for them to finally break free, and they were all out of the tunnel at last.
Out of breath and hearts pounding, they didn’t wait to see if anything followed them and got to their feet and ran as fast as they could down the river’s edge to where they had climbed down earlier.
At the bottom of the cliff, they sat on the rocky shore for a couple of minutes gathering themselves. Nothing seemed to be on their tail, so they felt safe, for the moment anyway.
The sun had started to set in the sky signaling it was getting on towards evening time. They had left just after lunch, time had passed so quickly inside the cave, though it hadn’t felt like it.
Going up the way they had come down, they climbed quickly not stopping until they reached the top and the wood’s edge. Elliot leaned over with his hands on his knees, breathing hard and trying not to retch. Sam leaned against a tree, and Brady sat, on the ground with knees crossed and head in his hands.
None of them said a word for a solid five minutes.
“That was sure scary.” Elliot said breaking the silence after regaining his breath.
“Yeah,” Sam admitted, “But I’m over it, and I’m hungry and going home.” He headed back through the woods in the direction of Brady’ house.
“Me too.” said Brady and followed Sam, so of course Elliot pulled up the rear as usual. This time though he kept a close eye on his surroundings, just in case something mystical decided to make an appearance.
The walk back was quiet and uneventful. Thoughts of the apparition and the cave began to fade or at least take a back seat to the growing emptiness in their stomachs, and they slowly returned to the real world.
Once they reached Brady’s house good byes were said and each of them went their own way. No one spoke about the “incident” that day to anyone. It was a shared secret, just between the three of them.
In the wee hours of the night that night, while each of them lay in bed deeply asleep, she came to them. They didn’t wake, but this time they saw her, they heard her.
She was beautiful with long dark flowing hair, deep brown oval eyes, her lips were full and red. They formed just two little words. “Help Me!”
And she vanished fading into the murky shadows. And in the darkness of each of their bedrooms, all three boys awoke at precisely that moment.
To be continued …
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