Descent Into The Dark
(© Biswapriya Purkayastha)
This contribution is part of a series:-
1. Baying At The Moon (11-Jun-2010)
2. Dark Of The Moon (3-Sep-2010)
| ||A full moon night, a boy, a monster...and a lynch mob on the loose.|
3. Ill Met By Moonlight (11-Oct-2010)
| ||When the moon calls, fighting the monster within is futile, and can be lethal...to yourself.|
4. Hunter's Moon (31-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.|
5. The Darkness Before The Dawn (25-May-2011)
| ||The Woman and the Boy face danger from a different source, one which may be the most lethal of all.|
6. Descent Into The Dark (14-Jul-2011)
| ||The Boy, alone in the streets of the town, gets into trouble. This is Part Five of the Werewolf Series.|
| ||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.|
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
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
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
"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 ]