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Mystery Thriller

This story contains sensitive content

Sensitive content warning: Implied cannibalism.


Day One. 1:30pm.

This is the journal of Dr. Vaughn. It is currently 1:30 in the afternoon, and the sky is still bright. I am documenting this in the thirty-seventh calendar week. My mission is simple: Cross what remains of the city, and enter the legendary caves of Hillslem. I shall be the first to do so. No man has ever dared to even come near the caves. In them is said to be treasure, destined to be found by the one who is willing to risk it all. I am. Ever since the city fell, there is nothing that would stop me anymore. I shall return victoriously, and I shall be just as legendary as the caves themselves. Mankind will bow to me.

I have packed plenty of food to last several days. A sleeping bag, my trusty flashlight, a butcher knife and, of course, this journal. Whatever it may be that awaits me down there, it holds no power over me. I will set out on this adventure today. May the journey ahead of me be prosperous.


Day One. 3:27pm.

The weather is mild. I find the walk to the caves to be quite relaxing. I have decided against using my car, as gasoline is sparse and I will be able to see more of my surroundings this way. So far, I have not run into anyone else. This really is a ghost town. The way to the caves of Hillslem shouldn’t be much farther. The air is a bit dusty, but no reason to put a damper on my mood.

While walking, I have a lot of time to think. Especially about my late wife, Katherine. She was among the first to disappear.

I miss her dearly.


Day One. 6:12pm.

I have arrived at the caves of Hillslem. They lie before me, deep and dark and dare I say, terrifying. It has never occurred to me until now that even I might feel a sense of fear before entering the caves. But I must not let fear stop me.

The sky is dark now. I’ve settled down for the night. Luckily, it is not a cold one. Tomorrow at daybreak, I will enter the caves.

I’m using this time to study the notes and legends about the caves. It is uncertain what kind of treasure awaits me. Some believe it is massive amounts of gold and jewels. Others say it’s wisdom beyond belief. I am most interested in one of the rarer theories: An amulet, of some sort, to harness the powers of time. It feels utopian to even write this. I am usually not interested in hillbilly conspiracy theories. But this one sparked my interest. If it’s true, then I will be able to bring the city back to its former glory. I will bring Katherine back.

I will return a hero.


Day Two. 7:30am.

It’s time. I slept well, and I am ready to face the caves and retrieve the treasure within.

Day Two. 9:42am.

Nothing interesting so far. The caves don’t look that special to me. Maybe the legends were just that – legends. But I must venture farther. There is a lot I haven’t seen yet. My determination is sky-high. I must go on.


Day Two. 3:04pm.

My feet are getting tired of walking. Each one of these caves split into several pathways. It is nearly impossible to explore them all. I am taking a break now. Thankfully I packed enough food. It should be more than I need. If I don’t find anything by tomorrow, I will return to my home.

The only other living souls in here are a couple bats. They ignore me.


Day Two. 9:14pm.

I’ve come across a larger cave. There is water in here, stalagmites and stalactites, but no life. I really must be the first person to ever enter here. It is quite exhilarating. However, this area feels important. I can’t explain it. I shall stay here for a while and study my surroundings closer.

The treasure must be close. I can feel it.


Day Three. 4:21am.

I’ve been up all night. There are noises down here. I don’t know what kind of noises they are, and I’ve yet to gather the courage to follow them. They don’t sound like the bats.


Day Three. 8:00am.

I think something is lurking here. I feel watched.


Day Three. 9:34am.

I’ve found an even larger cave. The walls shimmer, as if they’re made of gold. There is one straight pathway down the cave, and I intend to follow it. It might just lead me to my goal.


Day Four. 2:16am.

I’m still walking down the pathway. It seems to stretch on forever. My food is running low. I should turn back.


Day Five. 10:01am.

Did I take a wrong turn? I’m still on the pathway. There were no turns to take at all, I’ve been walking straight for hours on end. But I must be getting close. I wonder how far I’ve walked since I was in the larger cave. I would like to be back there now.

Day Five. 4:53pm.

I’m convinced now there is no treasure here. Only darkness. The batteries of my flashlight have died. I’m nearly out of food. I just want to go back home. The noises are getting louder, too. Although, maybe my mind is playing tricks on me. It has been quite a while.


Day Six Seven. Noon.

I’m hungry. The walls seem to be closing in.


Day Seven. Later than noon?

I’m in a big cave again. But it’s not the same one I came from. There are unlit torches on the ground. I must proceed with caution.


evening

I was wrong. no man has not ever dared to be here. i am not the first here. i might be the last here. i am starting to understand where everyone has disappeared to.


day ???

they took my knife and flashlight, but they’re giving me food. i’m not hungry anymore. what I don’t understand is where they’re taking the food from. there is no daylight down here and i have yet to see any animals. it tastes strange. i assume it is bat meat.


twenty-three. late.

time moves different here. the people here are happy that I am here. i wonder why. they let me use my journal, at least but they told me not to leave. i wouldn’t know how. all sense of direction is gone.


dinnertime.

i’m scared.


now

i think this is it. i understand now what they’ve been feeding me, and why they’ve been keeping me alive. i hope to see katherine soon.


If you’ve read this, it means you’ve read one of the brilliant experimental short stories of Dr. Vaughn. I am Dr. Vaughn. I am fine. There were never any caves. I am not in danger.

This book will burn now.

April 21, 2024 08:54

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4 comments

Emilie Ocean
16:09 Apr 27, 2024

I loved the suspense :D

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Alice Brooks
16:10 Apr 27, 2024

Thank you!

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Rachel Eyles
15:20 Apr 21, 2024

This was so gripping and absolutely creepy. Good job!

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Alice Brooks
15:21 Apr 21, 2024

Thank you!

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