The Secret Cave
All three of them looked at the mouth of the cave as they approached.
“I don’t know,” Larry said suspiciously. “It looks pretty dark and creepy to me.” He glared into the darkness harder trying to make out anything but couldn’t see more than ten feet inside the opening.
“Well, we gotta hideout somewhere,” Jack said defiantly. “We can’t go back to our houses, that’s the first place the cops will be looking.”
“He’s right,” Danielle said calmly. “We just stole over half a million dollars, we have enough supplies to last us two weeks, and this place is perfect. No one ever comes here.”
“Do you blame them?” Larry asked, trying not to show his fear.
“Pfft,” Jack mocked, “Stories, and not very good ones either. Now come on, let’s get inside.”
They moved into the cave carefully, each of them holding a torch. “We have to get deeper inside so no one sees the light of our fire,” Jack said commandingly.
Larry sighed as they moved deeper and looked back over his shoulder to see the mouth of the cave growing further away, It was still daylight outside so it was easy to see the outside world fading into the distance as they continued to move. He knew they were right, they had to hide out, but he also couldn’t help thinking there must be a better, more comfortable place to do it.
As the hours passed, they all began to feel the effects of the day. It had been a busy day.
“We’re going to need sleep,” Danielle said with a yawn. “Someone should keep watch though. I think we should do it in shifts.”
Larry rolled his eyes and looked around. “You two get some sleep, I’ll take the first watch. I doubt I could sleep much anyway,” he said nervously.
He glanced at his watch as Jack and Danielle slept peacefully. Midnight, he sighed to himself. How could they sleep so soundly, he wondered to himself? He knew the stories about this place, he had heard them since he was a boy.
As he watched the flames from the fire dance before him, he heard a noise from down one of the tunnels that intersected where they slept. He glanced nervously over at his sleeping friends. Whatever the noise was it hadn’t woken them up. “Must be my imagination,” he muttered softly to himself and hugged his knees.
He heard a soft giggle come from the tunnel, like that of a small child. He peered into the darkness to try to get a glimpse of what made the sound but couldn’t see anything.
“Ughh,” he sighed. “I better go check it out.” He rose and began to walk carefully down the tunnel. In the distance, he could hear running water. He approached the sound slowly with his torch in one hand and his gun in the other.
He approached the water, which was flowing fast towards a deep chasm a few feet away, and then dropped off a ledge into a dark abyss. He heard the soft giggle again.
Larry turned quickly and saw a small boy standing a few feet in front of him. He held up the torch and playfully said, “Well, what are you doing in a place like this?” The child remained silent with his head hung looking at his feet. His hair hung over his face, so it was impossible for Larry to see any of his features. He could tell that the child was thin, almost to the point of emaciated.
“Hey, are you ok?” Larry asked nervously, as he strained to see more of the child. The child stood silently at first, then lifted his foot and took a step forward. Larry instinctively backed up as the splash echoed across the walls. The boy took several more steps towards him causing Larry to back up even further.
By now the sound of his splashes were being drowned out by the sound of water falling down the chasm just behind him. He was so mesmerized and terrified by the small boy he wasn’t paying attention. His foot reached the edge and he stopped and looked down in the darkness. Water fell over the edge of a hole about five feet in diameter and disappeared far below somewhere. He didn’t hear it hit anything so he knew it must go on for quite a while.
While he was busy looking down into the blackness, the child was all the while approaching until by now, he was standing directly in front of Larry. When he finally looked up the boy was inches from his face. The hair was gone from in front of his eyes, which were nothing but holes as black as the hole behind him. His skin was gray and hung loosely on his face. He smiled and Larry noticed he was missing several teeth. In a gravelly voice, the boy asked, “Do you want to play with me?”
Larry was so surprised he forgot about the hole just behind him and jumped back. His screams echoed throughout the tunnel as he fell into the endless blackness until they faded into nothing. The boy lowered his head again, let out a small eerie giggle, and turned away from the hole.
Danielle and Jack both woke up from the sound of Larry’s scream echoing throughout the cave.
“What the hell?” Jack said as they both jumped to their feet. They both grabbed their torches and went down the same tunnel Larry had gone down. The sound of running water filled their ears as they drew closer. Their torchlight filled the cavern and hit Larry’s gun right where he dropped it near the edge of the abyss.
“Oh shit,” Danielle said as she looked down into the darkness. “You don’t think he…” she began.
Jack grabbed her arm as he looked across the hole at the figure of a small boy standing on the other side.
The child raised his head and with a gravelly voice said, “Now you can play with me too.”
They both turned and ran as fast as they could back down the tunnel. They stopped just for a moment at their fire to grab the money and raced towards the opening of the cave. They never stopped even when they saw the flashlights approaching them.
“Well, well, well,” sheriff walker said as they ran up to them.
“Here,” Jack said tossing the bag of money at him. “Take it, just get us out of here,” he begged.
The sheriff had no idea what to make of the two of them, but he was glad he finally caught them. He slapped the cuffs on them and led them away through the woods as they both breathed a sigh of relief. Even though they were under arrest they suddenly felt safer.