The food ran out three days ago.
Matt paced back and forth, rock and sand digging into the crevises on his feet, the sharp pain a constant reminder that there is no end to suffering. Wallowing in darkness, the slightest hint of light shining through the crack in the ceiling of the cave, a taunting mouth just out of reach.
“They must be looking for us!” Anabelle cried, gripping her knees as she curled up against the wall of cold rock. “It’s been weeks, they have to be looking for us. A whole army of people could be looking for us!”
“They aren’t looking for shit!” Melody shrieked, voice frail and thick with exhaustion. Her face was covered in sand and dirt, eyes rash and stinging with regret. “No body knows where we are, were out in the middle of fucking no where! The first person to find us is going to be a archaeologist studying our skeletons!”
“That’s not true, we don’t know that.” Matt mumbled, pacing back and forth, again and again. “They could find us. Maybe there are hikers that take this path and will see our stuff at the enterance of the cave and call for someone to remove the rockslide.”
“And what are our chances of that? Admit it, this is our end and it’s all your fault! It was your stupid idea to check the cave out, and now we are all going to die!” Melody accused Matt. Anabelle let her tears run loose as she listened to the back and forth banter of her two friends, both now wearing new skins.
“Shut up!” Anabelle stood from her corner, eyes running a river. Both Matt and Melody turn to her, faces twisted with rage. They felt like strangers, all forced into a cage with no doors. “Neither of your fighting is going to keep us alive. We need more food and we need to find a way out. Melody, you still have your flashlight so lets split up and search more of the tunnels and see if we can hunt down some more food.”
“There is nothing left, we have seached them all already!” Melody argued, curling her hands into fists.
“Just look again, we could of always missed something.” Anabelle pleaded, treading closer to the pair under the light of the crack in the ceiling.
“Fine, but I’m not going with that asshole.” Melody spat, Anabelle, rushing to stand between there before Matt tried to retaliate. Her legs shook, threatening to collapse under her. Every step felt like nails going deeper and deeper into her bones.
“No more fighting, just get some food! I’ll go with you, Matt can stay here and collect some more moss for the fire tonight.” The two grumbled but eventually split ways. Anabelle grabbed a stick that she had sharpen and followed in Melody’s footprints. Further and further away, they went from the light of the opening. All that was around them was cold stone and silence.
“I’m sorry for upsetting you,” Melody spoke softly, breaking the silence and creating a small echo. “I’m not at my best right now.”
“I don’t think any of us are at our best right now, so don’t be too hard on yourself,” Anabelle curled her arms around her chest, the air getting icy as they continued further down into the darkness. “It’s so hard to think straight when all I can think about is food. I really do hope we find something, I’m afraid we don’t have much time left.”
“It would be much easier if there was only two of us, less to share.” Melody offered quietly, her voice barely a whisper. “If it was just the two of us, we would have a better chance at survival.”
“You can’t be serious,” Anabella gasped, edging herself closer to Melody to see if her face showed a serious light, but all Anabelle saw was exhaustion. “Are you really considering it?”
“Just a thought, nothing more,” Melody mumbled before going back to the silence as they continued down the path of pure disappointment.
The food ran out six days ago.
The small stream of water flowing through the length of the cave seemed to come from nowhere and was riddled with dirt, but desperation had no care. Anabelle stayed put near the steam of water while Matt and Melody occupied their own spaces within the alcove. Matt laid resting by the light of the fire while Melody watched from across, sharpening the same stick, over and over again.
Melody had hardly said a word to either of them since returning from their food search. There wasn’t a lick of life left within the walls, and time was running out. All Melody did was sit and watch. Matt would occasionally come by and sit with Anabella, play a couple of rounds of tic-tac-toe with her, but all the life in his eyes had vanished.
“Were not going to make it,” Melody spoke up for the first time in three days, her voice rasp and grated like sandpaper. Matt still laid asleep under the glow of their weak fire, but Anabelle heard the desperation in her voice. “It’s his fault that we are here, he wanted us to adventure this stupid cave.”
“He didn’t know that the entrance would cave in, we can’t blame him for that.” Anabelle responded, not having the energy for yet another battle of words.
“Maybe you don’t blame him, but I sure do. It’s his fault so he should pay.” Melody rose from her spot, struggling to lift a rock along with her. It was a rock-like any other in the hellhole they were stuck in, but the way Melody carried that rock gave it a whole new meaning.
“What are you doing!?” Anabelle scrambled up from her spot, but Melody was much too close to Matt.
“When it’s just the two of us, we are going to survive,” She lifted the rock above Matt’s head, then threw it down, voice straining out with grief. Matt’s previous calm nature and turned to a frantic panic. Anabelle could no longer move her legs. Her heart stuck in her chest with a painful strike.
“STOP!” Matt screeched as he struggled to move out of the way with a bloodied head, but Melody was ready for the next hit. Thrashing down with a cry, blood-splattered and Matt’s flailing body fell limp. Blood streamed down his head, painting the sand red. Anabelle’s body tingled as she dropped to her knees and fell into a pit of darkness.
The smell of a fresh meal tickled Anabelle’s nose, alongside all the sand that was stuck to her face. Melody grabbed onto her arms and helped to lean Anabelle onto the wall.
“Good morning sleepyhead,” Melody spoke, looking happier than she had been since they had been locked in.
“I had the weirdest dream last night, scared the crap out of me,” Anabelle mumbled, still trying the blink the sleep out of her eyes. “You were in it, and so was Matt. You went batshit crazy and went after Matt. Just thinking about it makes my stomach hurt.” Melody chuckled, bringing over two sticks with something attached to the end of it. Anabelle couldn’t tell what it was, but it smelled delicious.
“I’m sure having some food will make you feel better, now let’s eat.” Anabelle happily snatched the second stick out of her hand and dug right in, moaning as the meat hit her tongue. She was about to ask where Melody found the meat and where Matt was for his share when a second stench hit her.
Just beyond Melody’s shoulder, barely hidden beyond the light of the fire, was the familiar blood-covered face.