by Bob'n Around
Invisible matters of the mind turned real into the written word.
|Daily SCREAMS!!! win
“Rats.” Eddie Taylor said.
“What’s wrong?” Sylvie Murray pushed against her boyfriend’s backside, urging him on. No way, was she going backward. The crawl space narrowed more than they thought, twisted when it turned. Rocks became jagged teeth not easily trespassed upon.
“Rats. We’re not alone here. This deep in the rock there shouldn’t be a nest.” Eddie loved exploring caves, old mines, any underground anomaly with a little adrenaline history attached.
It took nothing to convince Sylvie to come along. Being the first to explore and denounce the legend of Rat Trap Cavern would make them famous among fellow spelunkers. They'd gone deeper than any before. "You find one?"
She sounded incredulous. Hundreds of feet below the earth? "We need it for proof. Hand it back. I'll store it in my pouch." This was an unexpected find. Had some previous local enthusiast left it as a taunt. The first creeping feel of fear surfaced in her next breath.
Sylvie vented a nervous chuckle that ended with the quick surge of an endorphin rush. “What are we going to do?
Eddie stayed still. Silence as quiet as a tomb. There it was. Squeaking, an alarm. Movement besides their own in carved out tunnels around them, they’d never be able to manage. This wasn’t just a nest, it was a well prepared labyrinth, a citadel ready for any attack.
“Light. Hand me forward your head lantern. They won’t like it in their eyes. Blind them. They’ll run.” He hoped. Eddie forced his voice, muted by tons of rock, sound unwavering, strong.
A few taps of the hand pick made room at his waist. Sylvie closed her eyes, getting used to the dark as she shoved her headgear into the pocket of space. “Nest? That means babies, doesn’t it?” The glow of light disappeared. Total darkness.
There was an almost irresistible impulse to crawl back, enhanced by Eddie’s jerking against going forward. “Watch it, Eddie, your feet are in my face.”
“Can’t help it. Beady black eyed devils. Listen to them gnaw their teeth together. Crushed one with a rock. Another one. They’re leaving. Slippery blood will make squeezing through here easy. Give me a push.”
Sylvie goosed him, avoiding his flailing feet as best she could. The indignant cry that should have ended in abrupt laughter turned into a mind shattering scream. “My face. They’re eating my face. My eyes.”
Blood dripped a warm ribbon into the pocket where Sylvie’s headlight had been. She could feel it sticky and wet coat her searching hand. She did the impossible. Eddie would be proud of her. Feeling like an inchworm, she pulled him back.
It was like a cork unplugging bottled up hell. Enraged furry bodies wiggled. razor sharp teeth, eating, were clawing their way past Eddie to get to her. She smashed them with Eddie’s body, turning him into a human weapon, quiding his violent spasms. Rats coated the rock walls in gory pulp, squealing their high pitched death cries to Eddie’s own.
It was over within minutes. Sylvie could hear them feasting, gnawing on Eddie, working their way through him toward her. There was no time to lose. “Sorry, Eddie. Thanks for saving me.” Her handpick began gnawing at rock. Sylvie wiggled like a rat, feeling her own bloody skin rip and tear, easing her way through the tight opening behind her.
Darkness wasn’t a problem. There was only the one passage hole from up above. It actually helped. She could focus. Sylvie did not see the snouts that had her scent. Wiggling whiskers and black beady eyes measured her entrance back into daylight.
“Jesus. That was close. What am I going to tell Eddy’s ma?” Sylvie shrugged the two backpacks left at the cave entrance on either shoulder. Their love nest camp, halfway down the mountain was the nearest place cell phones worked. She began a stumbling walk.
Four pawed silence followed her, sentries turned into scouts. No threat could be allowed where the rat citadel lay entrenched. An army would follow when the message was passed on. A worn out, trauma inflicted Sylvia paused to fix her wounds. “Rats.”
The campfire felt good. The tent yielded up a first aid kit. Freshwater and her sleeping bag attracted her like a magnet. Sylvie was more than tired. She’d call for help getting Eddie’s body once her nerves settled down. The conversation with his parents wasn’t something she could handle right now. Her eyes closed. “Maybe just a short rest.”
Thoughts of bloody infection, bubonic plague refused to go away. She brushed away images of rat feces pellets and urine mixing with Eddie’s bones turning him into a warning zone at the entrance to their lair. Sylvia would never feel clean again. “Dirty vermin.”
Their numbers continued to rise, pushing each other, edging closer in the forest undergrowth, snouts raised, feeling the air, ready for their adrenaline charged rush.