The prompt for this week’s Flash Fiction Friday piece calls for my favorite type of story – a horror story! In particular, the prompt calls for the fear of the unknown. Since I have a story I’m working on that includes a big, horrible monster that is never quite revealed until the end, I chose to continue the adventures of Lizbeth and Katta as they seek it out.
With work keeping me busy lately, time got away from me and I wasn’t able to complete the scene. I’m posting what little of it I was able to finish in the hopes that it will entertain those of you who have expressed interest in what happens next in the story.
Prompt: This week write a story about perceived fear, either triggered or based on a phobia, and to make it fun use the following word list: Dark, Crunching, Eerie, Monster and Fear.
Word limit: 1313
Deadline: Thursday, May 31 @ 9:00 a.m. EST
Into the Dungeons
Darkness dripped from the ceiling, a black sludge that smothered the walls. Katta's candles seemed to burn more quickly in the dungeons and it wasn't long before Lizbeth was handing her a fresh one to replace the stub. The girls' shadows looked pale against their surroundings.
“I told you it wasn't a stain.” Lizbeth's voice sounded shrill as it echoed down the passage that still lay in front of them. The cloaked forest creature had told them of the existence of a monster far more terrifying than the Cauchemars, and where to find it.
“I knew there was something odd about that black area in the tapestries. I just never thought it would be... I hope we're doing the right thing coming down here.”
Katta muttered “Whatever” and dropped the candle stub into her left pocket, startling the sleeping Shadowkin within. With an annoyed chirp, Chicky poked his head out of the pocket, then immediately ducked back inside.
“What's wrong with Chicky?” asked Lizbeth.
“I think he's hiding.” After making sure Chicky was safely tucked away, Katta started chuckling.
“What's so funny?” asked Lizbeth.
“I guess the cloaked freak in the forest was telling the truth after all.”
“Why is that so funny?”
Katta stopped chuckling and stared at Lizbeth through the struggling candle-light. “You're serious, aren't you?” Letting out a whistle, she said, “Oh boy, we really messed up when we chose you.”
Her rising irritation distracting her from her fear, Lizbeth rounded on Katta, hands on her hips. “Instead of laughing at me, you could try explaining it to me instead, you know.”
Katta stopped chuckling to stare back at the peevish girl standing before her. The smile lingering on the corner of her mouth grew wider and she coughed to hide it, pretending to fuss over the candle as it sputtered in her breath.
“The Shadow People don't just help you for nothing. Altruism isn't in their nature. They're sadistic and evil. Their first instinct is to deceive and destroy. If they sent us down here, then they either think they can benefit from it or that it will end us. Knowing them, probably both.”
Katta stopped talking a moment to let her words sink in. She continued to walk down the passage, trusting Lizbeth to follow. “Nothing good can ever come of dealing with the Shadow People. But it's the only choice we have left.”
“You really hate them, don't you?” Lizbeth panted, trotting beside Katta to keep up with her longer strides.
“You think? I've watched them as they corrupted and killed children. I saw them literally tear a girl apart and consume her. They treat their own kind hardly better.”
“What about Chicky?”
“What about him?” Katta snapped. “He's different. He's nothing like the other Shadow People.” She cupped the pocket where he hid protectively and stalked off angrily.
“I didn't mean to imply... I'm sorry,” Lizbeth called after apologetically. Then, more loudly, “Where are you going?”
“Where do you think I'm going?” Katta snapped again.
“It's just...we've been that way.”
“What are you talking about?”
“When we first came down here, we turned left at the first intersection. After that, we took another left and then the passage curved to the left again. If you go that way, you'll be going back towards the first left we took.”
“You mean I'll be going in a circle?” Katta asked, her irritation with Lizbeth abating while her frustration with the endless passageways increased.
When Lizbeth nodded, Katta cursed and hurled the candle she held into the darkness. Lizbeth gasped and started after it, “We need that!”
The flame was smothered by the darkness as soon as it left Katta's hand, the candle making a soft thud as it landed and rolled away somewhere in the blackness that now enveloped the girls.
In the silence, the girls heard a low rumble.
“What was that?” Lizbeth squeaked.
“I don't know, but Chicky's not happy about it.”
Frightened chirps were coming from the pocket the Shadowkin hid within and Katta placed one hand inside to comfort him.
“I don't feel good about this either,” Lizbeth said as the rumble grew into the unmistakable sound of a growl. “Light another candle, Katta, quickly, before something hap-”
Dirt and dust fell onto the girls and into their eyes as the growl grew, shaking the walls around them. Lizbeth clapped her hands over her ears and started to scream.
Photo credit: Naeema Campbell