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Descent Into The Dark
(© Biswapriya Purkayastha)

This contribution is part of a series:-
1. Baying At The Moon (11-Jun-2010)
A full moon night, a boy, a monster...and a lynch mob on the loose.
2. Dark Of The Moon (3-Sep-2010)
When the moon calls, fighting the monster within is futile, and can be yourself.
3. Ill Met By Moonlight (11-Oct-2010)
Some monsters are much, much worse than others who stalk the night and merely want to kill you.This is part 3 of the series of stories which began with Baying At The Moon and continued with Dark Of The Moon.
4. Hunter's Moon (31-Oct-2010)
The Woman and the Boy face danger from a different source, one which may be the most lethal of all.
5. The Darkness Before The Dawn (25-May-2011)
The Boy, alone in the streets of the town, gets into trouble. This is Part Five of the Werewolf Series.
6. Descent Into The Dark (14-Jul-2011)
In a desperate attempt to halt the Change that the full moon brings upon them, the Woman and the Boy climb down into the bowels of the earth, and into a greater danger. This is Part 6 of the Werewolf Series.

Page 1

The cave was a cleft of pure liquid darkness in the tumbled rock of the hillside.

The Woman glanced over her shoulder and pointed. "There it is."

The Boy looked from her to the cleft, dubiously. "You really want us to go in there?"

"We’ve talked about this already, haven’t we?" The Woman set down her haversack and began unpacking their equipment. "We both agreed we should try it."

"Yes, but." The Boy looked around. In the late afternoon sunlight, the forest looked golden and harmless. A tiny, bright yellow butterfly flittered past, seeking shelter from the coming night. "This doesn’t sound like such a good idea, right now."

The Woman, crouching by the bag, looked up at him, trying to conceal her irritation. "You’ve told me more than once that you want to stop the Change. This way we can at least see if we can stop it. It’s worth a try."

"Maybe," the Boy agreed. "Or maybe not. Either way, we’re risking getting lost down there, aren’t we? Just look at it."

"I’ve been in caves before, you know." The Woman began to buckle on her harness belt. "Get your equipment on. I want to be as far down as we can before the moon rises."

"I can already feel it." Moodily, the Boy fished his own harness out and began to put it on. The hard hat with the lamp was slightly too large for his head, and the Woman helped him pull the strap tight. "I feel like an idiot," he said.

"You look fine," the Woman reassured him. He didn’t look fine. He looked appealingly ridiculous in all the spelunking hardware, like a child trying on his father’s things, and the Woman fought down a bubble of laughter. He’d never forgive her the levity.

Shrugging on the pack, she surveyed the cave entrance. From the little she knew of this system, it led straight in for about sixty metres before bifurcating. One branch went straight on, to end in a series of large chambers hung with stalactites. Tourists came there sometimes, but the chambers weren’t especially spectacular, and so the caves were normally deserted. The other branch dropped sharply into the depths, ending in a vertical chimney which gave access to a network of deeper caves, which had never been properly surveyed.

Before entering the cave, the Woman took a last look around. From here, they could just see the roof of the car, where she had parked it as far out of sight as possible. The forest fell away down the slope, to the road and beyond down to the valley. The nearest human habitation was a long way away, and she was reasonably confident that they wouldn’t be disturbed.

She could feel the moon herself, creeping up below the horizon, still far too weak to be a compelling force. And if she were right, if this experiment worked out, then it never would be a compelling force, this time round anyway.

"All set? Are you feeling all right?" She smiled at the boy, reassuringly. "Just follow my light and stick close. We’ll try and get deep inside by nightfall, and wait it out till the moon sets."

The Boy nodded, sullenly. His body language cried out his unwillingness to take part in this, even though he’d agreed that it was necessary. They simply couldn’t go on this way much longer.

"We’re getting far too many close calls for comfort," she’d said, many days earlier. "And if we have actually been found, we have to find a way to suppress the Change at least for a while."

He’d stared up at her from the breakfast table, through the fringe of hair falling over his face. "I’m getting too many close calls. Isn’t that what you mean?"

"I, you, how does it make a difference?" She’d shrugged and spread peanut butter on bread. "Either way we’re in it together."

"You could ask me to go away." His eyes were fixed on his hands, twisted together on the tablecloth. "I’ve been a burden to you long enough. I can’t be a danger too."

"Listen to me." She’d leaned over the table, almost in his face, resisting the urge to smack him. "I never want to hear that again, do you understand? Never, ever, will you tell me that again. Am I clear?"

[ Continue to page 2 ]

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Genre:General Horror
Type:Short story
Rating:7 / 10
Rated By:15 users
Comments: 1 user
Total Hits:12384

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