“You. Receive. Money. Go. Find. Stone.” Those were the old voice’s last words before hanging up on Farris. He stared at the telephone in confusion for a few minutes before pinching himself to make sure he wasn’t dreaming.
“Who, what, why, how?” Ferris muttered to himself in rapid succession. Did he just receive a commission from an unknown individual? Is this some sort of prank call? Is he really in a dream he can’t escape out of? Throughout the day, where he had to work fixing telephone lines, throughout the evening, where he was dancing at a local barbeque competition, throughout the night, where all he wanted to do was receive some good shut-eye, he couldn’t stop thinking about it.
He couldn’t stop thinking about it.
It consumed the entirety of his thoughts.
It drove him mad to the point of trembling eyes and disheveled hair.
Visions of a red-colored stone filled his head.
Farris descended into madness.
“Farris? Everything alright with you?” Bagdal called from the outside.
A bunch of grunts and other unrecognizable noises could be heard from the outside.
Bagdal scratched his dirty blond hair and looked towards the sky as if looking for divine guidance. He then strode away from the door and lowered his stance. With full force, he rammed the wooden door.
A great red dot formed on his elbow as he stumbled backward.
‘Door’s tougher than it looks,’ Bagdal thought.
A second wave of grunts could be heard from the inside, but this time, they seemed charged with pain and sorrow, as if someone is trying to hack Farris’s brain open.
Bagdal fell to the ground, his large figure making an audible splooshing sound as it came into contact with the wet grass.
The rain poured harder, the grass blew ferociously, the wind howled as if it were a screaming ghost.
The door creaked a little. Bagdal saw a strange shadowy figure on the inside. He rubbed his eyes to make sure the rain wasn’t clouding his vision, but the shadow remained, it’s white dot eyes focused at Bagdal with great intensity.
Bagdal shivered and lifted himself up from where he was sitting. Bagdal slowly crept towards the door, his arms crossed together near his chest as a sort of protection.
Once Bagdal was a few centimeters from the house, the door swung open. Out came a small, shriveled figure with deep dark circles under its eyes.
“Farris?” Bagdal extended a hand, cautiously.
The figure grunted and painfully nodded its head. It sniffed Bagdal’s arm.
“What are you doing?” Bagdal had a confused look on his face.
Farris then proceeded to lick Bagdal’s arm, savoring the flavor of honey and sweat.
Bagdal cringed and took his arm away before Farris could finish.
He examined Farris’s body. Once lively and colored, the color drained from his face until all that remained was a deathly pale, his back became hunched over, his once clean-cut parm now had signs of falling out, his eyes lost all of their light, his hands were visibility shaking as if they were desperate for something.
“Stone. Where. Stone?” Farris said in broken English, his eyes darting around.
Bagdal forcefully grabbed Farris by his boney arm and dragged him to find help.
“Melifissa,” Bagdal said.
Melifissa turned around from her station at the back of the room and walked towards the one and a half men.
“You couldn’t have chosen a worse time, I’m trying to examine this body for the cause of death. The puzzling part is that there’s a bullet hole on the inside of the person’s brain, but there’s no sign of a hole on the outside.”
“Could it be related to him?” Bagdal pointed at a decaying Farris.
Melifissa flinched slightly. “What is that- that… thing!?”
Farris’s eyelids looked as if they were trying to escape from their sockets and his head kept moving in all directions.
Bagdal carefully set Farris down on the couch.
“Is there anything you can do?” Bagdal asked.
“I’m afraid not. I’ve never seen anything like this.” Melifissa replied sincerely.
Farris muttered quietly to himself.
Bagdal neared his ear to Farris’ mouth. “Come on, buddy, what is it?”
“Cave… deep… scary.” Bagdal only understood these three words in a sea of Farris’ gibberish.
“Well, did he say something?” Melifissa tapped her foot, her gaze as sharp as a chef’s knife.
“Something about a stone, a cave, and a whole assortment of nothing,” Bagdal said.
Melifissa placed one hand on her hip and another on her chin. She then closed her eyes.
Bagdal knew what this meant. He shuffled all the way to the back of the room, where the smell of decomposing flesh was so strong, he felt his insides turning outside.
‘How does she work in these conditions?’ Bagdal thought. Yet he knew that if anyone could help Ferris, it’d be her.
Melifissa always had a strange fastination for mythics and the occult. She was the type to spend days in a graveyard, wondering if the dead, after all that’s left were a pile of bones- long after there was no brain- still had residual thoughts and their minds could be read. She also believes in a whole host of fictional creatures such as leviathans, demons, vampires, 8 legged horses, and so on.
Melifissa snapped her fingers in delight. “I’ve figured it out!” She boldly proclaimed.
Bagdal carefully inched towards her, not lowering his guard for a second.
“What are you so scared of? I told you I finished, didn’t I? This doesn’t suit someone of your size one bit.” Melifissa raised her glasses. “As I was saying, I figured out what Farris’ problem is. Well, if you can even call it a problem.” Melifissa approached Farris and grabbed his shrivled chin.
“Plainly speaking, he’s cursed.”
“I thought you said you figured it out. This isn’t any time for occult studies,” Bagdal pleaded.
“This is the one time I wish it weren’t real, but, here we are.” Melifissa walked from one end of the room to the other. “I can make an antidote, but it’ll require a special ingredient only found in the deep dark cave at the outskirts of town. It’s named the Calamity Stone and it is found at the end of the cave, it shines as bright as high-beam headlights of a car so you won’t miss it. Oh, take these as well.”
Melifissa handed Bagdal 2 pairs of sunglasses and a flashlight.
“Why is it named the Calamity Stone?” Bagdal shrivered at the thought of the words slipping out of his mouth.
“You’ll find out soon enough. Let’s just say that nobody has made it out alive.”
Color drained from Bagdal’s face as he violently scratched his goatee.
“Anyways, I’ve told you everything you need to know, so shoo!” Melifissa pushed a stunned bagdal inch by inch out the door.
She then headed outside, only to gently drop Farris on the grass.
Bagdal headed towards the outpost town of Bently. Where he stocked up on food, water, and a pickaxe. He also rested at an inn for the night to gather his thoughts. Farris was sleeping on the bed; the only time he looked like a normal person again. They would set off at the brink of dawn to the cave that was Farris’ lifeline. Bagdal set himself up like a plank and started doing pushups to take his mind off of things. He didn’t want his judgement to be clouded in case he had to somehow risk his life.
Daylight came. Bagdal carried Farris on his back and off they went to the outskirts of Bently, where the cave lie in wait.
‘I was kind of hoping the cave would look a little more… flashy?’ Bagdal thought. Instead, the entrance to the cave looked and sounded like the entrance to any other old cave you’d find, even down to the echos of dripping water.
Bagdal had a swig of water and forced some down Farris’ throat. Bagdal attached a strap to his back to hold Farris in place, much to Farris’ disagreeing groans.
Bagdal turned on his flashlight and entered the cave.
‘Could this cave really be hiding anything?’ Bagdal thought.
Bagdal continued walking, until he caught a glimpse of fine, string-like object at the floor.
Bagdal closed his eyes for a moment, before putting one foot behind him and making a mad dash. The arrows shot from the sides nicked a little skin from both his arms and the back of his legs.
Bagdal let out a small grunt as his knees wavered a little.
‘She could’ve at least had the courtesy to warm me about this’ Bagel thought irritatedly.
Bagdal ripped small pieces of his shirt and tightend them around his wounds, stopping the bleeding.
Drip, drip, drip. The water echoed louder the further in they went down. Even with the flash light, the darkness of the cave was unsettling at best. Bagdal decided to cling to the right-most wall of the cave, cautiously moving forward in hopes of spotting anymore traps. A great noise roared from the inside of the cave and Bagdal immediately started running.
Bagdal sat down with his back to the rough, bumpy texture. He set Ferris down and grabbed some food from his pouch.
“Farris, once this is all over, what do you say I treat you to some fine wine? I know a pub nearby with some of the finest wine out there, the cost is well worth it.” Bagdal tilted his head and the flashlight towards Farris, but all he could see was the empty premises of the cave.
“Farris? Where’d you go?”
“HYAAAAAAAAA!” A loud screech emanated from deep within the cave.
“Hold on! I’m coming!” Bagdal threw his quarter of a sandwich on the ground and immediately started running towards the screech.
The screech only became louder the further in he went. The water seemed to be dripping faster, and the other deathly roar merged together to create a broken symphony.
Bagdal ran as fast as he could. Barely dodging all manner of traps set up, from trapdoors, to more arrows- this time laced with poison, to even a small landmine.
A brilliant, white light gleamed from an opening in the cave.
“The end! Finally I’ve reached it! Farris?!” Bagdal shouted even while injured. Bruises covered his arms and legs, his eyelids dropped a little, but he continued running towards the light.
“Finally… I… made… it.” Bagdal panted like a dog. He put on his sunglasses and approached the turn where the stone was held.
A large spider was waiting for him at the end, with Farris hanging upside down.
Bagdal facepalmed. ‘I’m strangling her once I get back. I didn’t sign up for THIS.’
The spider noticed Bagdal, and struck one of its legs in Bagdal’s direction, hitting the ground with a loud thump.
Bagdal jumped out of the way, but barely managed to scrape by, brusing his already beat up arm even more.
The spider slammed it’s leg to the floor again, this time inflicting a heavy wound on Bagdal’s arm.
Bagdal screamed from pain. The water now sounding like a waterfall.
The spider slowly dragged it’s leg back to where it was hanging on the wall.
Bagdal took advantage of this lapse and tried to loosen Farris out of the spider’s grip. However, it didn’t work.
The spider caught wind of this and spat a silky substance at Bagdal, gluing his arms together.
Bagdal retreated and came up with another idea.
The spider once again swung its leg at Bagdal. Anticipating the movement, he dodged and rushed straight for the Calmity Stone.
Bagdal placed the pickaxe in his mouth and chipped away at the rock holding the stone in place.
The spider gazed at Bagdal and lifted another leg to slam into his back.
Bagdal managed to get the stone out but the spider pierced his back.
His knees buckled, yet if he fell here, there would be no one to save them.
Bagdal flashed the light in the spider’s eyes.
The spider covered its eyes with its legs, blinded by the immense light. Bagdal used this chance to escape as far away from that cursed cave as possible.
“Oh, you’re back,” Melifissa said with a smug look on her face.
“You little… You knew about the spider, didn’t you!?” Bagdal grabbed her shoulders and shook her rapidly.
“Calm down. You made it out in one piece, didn’t you?” Melifissa said, twirling her hair. Her eyes peeking through her sunglasses.
“You could’ve at least warned me before hand.” Bagdals’s veins popped through his head.
“Changing topics, do you have the stone?”
Bagdal put on his sunglasses and took the stone out.
Melifissa grabbed it from his hands and approached Farris.
Farris grabbed the stone and collapsed on the floor.
“Farris!? What happened?” Bagdal cried.
“Oh, nothing, he’s just fainted from overwork, and became trapped in a feverish state, he’ll be back to normal soon, though.”
Bagdal’s jaw hit the floor. “You don’t mean that-”
“The stone?” Melifissa let out a little chuckle. “It doesn’t do much in the realm of curing diseases, but it is very prized amoung people. Man am I going to make a fortune from this!”
Bagdal stood there dumbfounded.
“Oh yeah, let me get something.” Melifissa headed out back to grab a giant bag of money. Inch by inch, she carried it towards Bagdal. “Here’s… the money… i’ve been saving for.... You.” Melifissa panted. “Oh yeah, you also get my lab. Your mother thanks you for the stone.”
Melifissa left, leaving a paralyzed Bagdal with a stash of money to his name, and a sleeping Farris in a tiny laboratory.