Thursday, October 20, 2011

What could be worse than being trapped alone in a dark cave? Not being alone.....

   Today, in honor of the National Day of Writing, I am throwing out a very short tale of horror for my post. I am a big fan of photo posts, so this will balance out well. Hope my readers are not afraid of the dark... or rather what is in it.

His Life Flashed Before his Eyes.

   Bill was awakened by horrible pain. His back felt twisted. He hurt all over and it was pitch black.
    Reaching over to turn the light on by his bed he was shocked when his hands closed on dirt and gravel. Momentarily overcome with confusion and panic he cried out.
   Sitting up stiffly, Bill began to frantically feel around in the dirt and stone. It was then he noticed a small rectangle of green light. Desperately he reached for it. His hand closed over a camera. 
   As he fumbled with the camera, a small, extremely dim LCD screen flickered into life. The little flickering screen showed a single picture of a cave :

   His memories flooded back to him as the confusion evaporated. He knew where he was.
   Bill had been working on a photo essay for a college project. Since it was a week till Halloween, the project had been to find scary pictures of nature. 
    Nothing scared Bill like the prospects of a dark cave. He had always been afraid of tight places and the dark... a cave had both!
   Bill had done his research and found that there was a cave nearby in West Virginia, a short 2 hour dive away. Jumping in his jeep, he had driven there in a flash.
   He could remember walking down to the bottom of the main opening, but after that.... nothing.
   Looking at the dim LCD screen on the digital camera, he could only imagine that he had fallen deeper into the cave. The screen must have been damaged in the fall as there was barely enough light to see the picture in the frame. 
   His eyes were drawn to the HUD display on the camera screen. The time showed 9:19 pm. If the clock was right, he had been out for about 5 hours. To add to his frustration, the battery indicator was already in the red zone. The camera must have remained on for those hours. He pushed the review button to see if there were any other pictures on the camera, but there was only the one.
   "That's just great Bill, drive 2 hours and fall into a damn cave and only manage one friggin picture!". His voice echoed around him in the darkness. 
   Bill aimed the camera out and snapped off a picture into the dark.
   The camera let out a musical tone and a bright flash illuminated the void. He quietly thanked God for the flash still working. The pitifully dim screen revealed his surroundings. 

   The picture struck fear into his heart. He was deep under ground. The cave seemed to stretch onward for a good distance. 
   Being mindful of the battery life, he shut the camera off. 
   Bill began to examine himself in the dark, checking for cuts or broken bones. Luckily, he did not find anything broken and only a few scrapes and cuts. The worst of the cuts was on his left hand. 
   Examing the wound with his fingers, he could almost swear it felt like a bite mark, but he knew that was impossible and just his mind playing tricks on him. 
  He broadened his hand search to his surroundings. He knew there was a open cave system in front of him and from what he could determine, there was a wall of stone behind him. 
   Bill knew his only hope of survival was to get out on his own. Nobody knew he was here, which was damn stupid on his part.
    He didn't have a flash light or even his cell as he had hoped to just run over, snap a few pictures and head back.
   "Sounds like the start of a bad movie", he said to himself.
   With a grunt, he made his way to his feet and slowly made his way forward. Shuffling his feet and reaching into the darkness with his right hand, keeping the wounded hand close to his chest and clutching the camera. 
   Bill continued moving forward in this manner for what must have been hours. Stopping only when his hand met an obstacle and forced him to correct his course. 
   He stopped suddenly when his feet encountered cold water. Pulling out the camera he snapped the switch over to "auto" and fired off a picture into the dark. A second later he was rewarded with another dimly lit picture.

  Was that his mind playing tricks on him again or was that cables? He rushed as quickly as he could to the spot he imagined the picture had revealed. Dropping to his knees, he felt around on the dark, damp wall. Sure enough, his hands closed over a breaker box and cables. 
   Bill worked with the box till it opened. His fingers closed over the switch and he threw it. Nothing happened. He felt around some more, following the cables from the box. 
   The cables had all been cut, or rather chewed. Most likely they had been stripped for their copper by scavenger thieves.  There was only 3 or 4 feet of cable cover. The rest was gone.
  Cursing to himself he slammed his hand to the ground. A cold splash of water washed over him as he did. Stretching out his fingers he could detect a slight current in the shallow water. Since water flowed down, he would just follow it upwards to it's source. 
   With renewed vigor, he stood up to start the journey again. With one last quick look at the camera to gauge his surroundings, he shuffled off into the cave in the direction of the flowing water. 
   Hours passed and he reached the source of the water. Nothing more than a spring about 6 inches wide in the side of a narrow cave wall. Bill 's heart sank. Taking out the only means of seeing in this pitch black hell, he fired off another picture.

   Bill was perplexed. The "cave" had taken on a different look, almost as if it had been chiseled out of the rock. His hands moved along the worked stone of the passage. 
   This could be a good sign. If people had been here, possibly mining, that meant they had a way in and out. The battery indicator was flashing now. With one last look at the damaged screen, he switched off the camera. Darkness swallowed him again. 
   Slowly he made his way forward. Even though the passage was heading down, he had no options but to try to find some signs of humanity in the dark. These worked walls were his only link to the world above.
    Following the tunnel for what seemed like hours, Bill finally came to a halt when he noticed a heavy skittering noise from the tunnel ahead. Fumbling for the camera he desperately tried to flip the switch on.
    The skittering sound echoed crazily around him. He was almost mad with fear when he finally got the camera up and pushed down the button to take another picture. 
    The darkness blazed into fiery white light as the flash burst forth from the camera. Shaking now, he whirled the camera around to look at the screen. 

   Nothing..... just the worked tunnel heading onward. 
   "Pull it together Bill. Don't have a heart attack in the dark over a rat", he told himself. 
   He sat down for a moment to gather his thoughts. The screen revealed a tunnel that was carved out, no doubt about it. Although it was very roughly worked, it was still there.
    Finding the cables stripped of copper was another good sign. Now he had heard an animal. A rat, skunk, or raccoon.There had to be an opening nearby for the creatures to come and go. He was going to survive.
   He was pulled from his pondering as the camera shut off with an angry click. 
  "Damn it!" he exclaimed.
   Bill tried not to panic. He opened the battery door on the camera and traded the batteries out. He knew from experience that often you could swap the batteries like this to get 2 or 3 more pictures from them. 
   He twisted the knob to the "auto" position and the camera crackled back to life. A faint whine emanated from the device as the flash charged up.
   Letting out a sigh of relief, he shut the camera off. 
   Bill was exhausted, both mentally and physically. Hours of shuffling through the dark and his injured body had drained him. He leaned against the wall of the tunnel and pulled his jacket around him tightly. 
  "Just a quick nap and then I am out of here" he told himself. 
   Soon he was sleeping soundly as one could sleep in the cold darkness of a cave.
   A strange sound awakened him with a start. His eyes snapped open to the inky darkness of the tunnel. He sat perfectly still, straining to hear the sound again. 
  There it was, a rhythmic breathing sound coming from nearby. He also noticed a terrible smell. Like rotting fish on a riverbank and piss. 
   Bill was almost insane with fear. Slowly he moved his shaking hands down for the camera. He prayed that it would come on and work one last time.
   Slowly he brought the digital up and aimed it in the direction of the breathing. As his hand came up, he could swear he felt something's hot breath on his flesh. 
   Bill snapped the picture just as he detected a large object moving towards him in the dark. He felt cold wet skin strike against his outstretched hand holding the camera as the flash illuminated the tunnel in front of him.
   The camera performed it's last function before it drained the batteries. For just a second, the dim LCD screen  revealed the last thing that Bill would ever see .......


  1. GREAT! and the last thing he saw does look like it would smell like fish on a riverband and piss.

  2. very scary.. my heart was racing throughout the story and the pictures definitely added to it!

  3. Great story! And the photos were Awesome!!! I can only imagine the things you must have endured to get those photos! :0)

  4. Kelly - It does indeed. Thanks!

    Bewitchy - Thank you so much. That was the reaction I was wanting.

    Pam - Thank you very much! I appreciate it. It has been sitting in the back of my head for a long time now.

    Jeanne - Thanks! You would be surprised ;)

  5. I liked your story and the pictures. Your story reminded me when I was in a cave - back in the day as my daughter would say - and shouldn't have been. I experienced true darkness for the first and only time. Caves can be beautiful, but very creepy when you're alone. Your story reminded me why I will not be going back into a cave anytime soon...

  6. Bravo Bravo Ked! That was REALLY good! A fantastic concept too. Scary... and the desperateness of the camera running out of life and light really made it realistic and believable. Admittedly, I was kind of scared to look at the last photo...ha! I had to cover my eyes and peek through my fingers...ha! My daughter and I read it together. Thanks for posting this...great job! :o)

  7. bookman - Thank you. I had an experience in a cave as well. We ventured to far in and started running out of batteries. We had to consolidate and when we stopped to rest, we would have to turn the lights out to conserve batteries. I too will never go back.

    Wendy - Thank you so much. You have no idea how glad you two enjoyed it that much!

  8. Jessica - thank you. It does take the heat out of ones soul.

  9. Awesome. Thanks for scaring the crap out of me. Good thing I read it in the morning and not at night. You trying to give me nightmares or something?

    Thanks for sharing this horrifying story!!


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