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Mythos Nocturnal

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Episode 2

I walked. How long I walked I could not measure because I saw no stars above me, no moon. The only light I had was the one I held in my hand, the burning torch that terrible little man had dropped. I pictured him over and over again in my mind. If I had seen him under any other circumstances, I would have considered him deformed. I was, however, in a place with no light that seemed to have no end. It was impossible.

At first I had circled. Around and around I had gone in the hopes of finding my closet once more. With ever widening circles I searched but it was to no avail. I had somehow gotten myself somewhere out of doors. A thought had crossed my mind that perhaps I was in some elaborate hoax and that I was inside a building, a movie set or something similar. The dimensions had proved too large in the end. No building, not even the Pentagon, was so big.

The thought passed through my mind then of Fritz, my tiny white poodle. He had not been in my room. That meant that he was here with me somewhere, the poor animal. I called out his name quietly but there was no response and Fritz did not appear. I stood still then, feeling hope fade somehow, for I was truly lost and in a place altogether alien. Then I heard the sound.

It came as a soft grating upon stone as if some weight slid across porous rock. I looked toward it and saw nothing, only utter darkness. I realized however that I held a torch and whatever it was could surely see me. I also knew that this was not my dog. It was something much heavier.

Then from horribly close I caught the reflection of two eyes moving toward me. They were far spaced, wider apart than my own an in the next instant I knew horror. The eyes were those of a snake. It slithered toward me and entered the aura of my light barely three paces away. It's head moved from side to side as it came and its tongue lapped out for a scent of me. With a shout of terror I turned and ran.

I do not know how close it came to me and I did not look back. I only knew a snake of that size would most likely be able to move very swiftly. Gravel crunched under my feet as I sprinted away and just beyond the reach of the light I carried I could see that I passed large stones and even odd shaped shrubbery. The ground beneath me slanted down but I did not stop though I could truly not see where I was going. Behind me I heard a bush being struck by a heavy weight and I realized the snake was keeping pace with me. Then, with terrible suddenness, there was no longer anything at all beneath my feet.

I fell as the breath left my body. Shock overtook me as the fall did not end. If I had counted I might have reached ten before I struck water with a forceful impact. Absolutely stunned I passed down through the water until it absorbed my impact and I stopped. I was in utter darkness with no light to lead me to the surface.

I swam in the direction away from my feet with all my strength. I knew that I only guessed and that this very well might be the last minute of my life. I had taken no breath to prepare for the underwater plunge and my lungs cried out for air at once. I felt my hope rushing toward a moment where there would be no more and I had an instant where I clearly contemplated the manner of my death. Then my hand broke the surface.

I gasped for air as I came up and treaded water in a panic. I had nearly died. My fright had just begun to ebb when my hands and feet met something solid. It was the cliff wall from which I had fallen. The rock seemed comforting in the utter blackness and I clung to it as I pulled my shoulders up out of the water. Then I waited. My breath returned but passing of time, my mind still reeled. None of this could be happening and yet I knew that I was in cold water and not asleep at all. Dreams did not have realities so startling. I waited more, the snake crossing my mind as I held onto the rock. If it could see in this place, would it have stopped before going over the edge of this cliff? That it had not found me suggested so.

Finally the cold of the water overcame my urge to go no farther in this wretched sunless place and I pushed off and swam forward. I tried my best to swim in a straight line and within two minutes or so I found myself in shallow water. I walked forward and found myself in knee deep water. Pleased that I would soon be out of the water I continued on but the water did not become shallower. The wet bottom rose and fell inches but I did not come to a bank. Then something brushed me as I walked and I realized I walked among reeds. They thickened as I went forward. Then I realized a smell hung in the air about me and I took it in through my nostrils. I had smelled the smell before- once in Florida -in the Everglades. Mud beneath my feet, knee deep water and reeds. I was in a swamp. It was then that the cry of some beast broke the silence.

The call carried across the water and I guessed it to be only a mile away. I could also tell from its depth that this creature was large. My scalp tingled at the oddness of the cry because I could not place it. I had not heard it in the wild nor on TV or in a movie. It came from a creature I did not know. In this hell of darkness I had seen only two other living creatures and both had been monsters. This third sounded worse than the previous two.

I turned about and began walking back the way I had come but now I realized the amount of noise I was making. My legs sloshed through the water loudly and I looked behind me futilely. I had lost my torch during my fall and I was as good as blind. To my great relief the water deepened and soon I was swimming again, moving forward with my head above water and my arms and legs stroking as silently as possible. That is how I hear the splashing of something coming after me. I dove under the surface and swam with all the speed I could. In only moments I collided with the stone. I ignored the pain on my forehead from the strike and at once began to climb upward. My hands found places to grip rather easily and I thank my luck that the cliff face was so uneven. Then behind me I heard the sound of a heavy body splashing into deep water. It sounded large, elephant large, but I knew this would be no elephant. I rushed for my next hand hold and failed. I fell back down into the water.

In a panic I grabbed at the cliff again and climbed up out of the water. Could this thing behind me climb also? I reached each new grip with rising hysteria. I knew I could not fall again. I stopped only for an instant, an instant long enough to tell me this enormous thing could swim faster than I . It was coming and, from the sounds of the water below, I was only six feet up. I heard a sound of fear come from me as I searched for the next hand hold and at first found nothing. Then a small crack afforded itself and I pulled my self up swiftly. The cliff seemed on my side however as hand and foot holds offered themselves up readily. Ten feet. The thing was nearly beneath me.

Two more hand holds and I felt it strike the rock through my hands and feet. Then from just below me a roar so wild rent the air that I nearly fell from the cliff face in shock. It assaulted my ears. Like roar of a bear and the cry of an eagle both but terribly louder. Something struck the cliff just below me with terrifying force and dirt fell from above into my face. Despite my fear I climbed higher, handhold by precious handhold. I had not gone far when I realized this thing below was not following. It did not leave however and I heard it moving its bulk around beneath me. If I fell again it would have me.
My hands then found a ledge. I reached forward as I came up and realized this ledge was deeper than my arm. I could rest here. I pulled myself up onto it and quickly bumped my head. Feeling about with my hands, I realized this was an opening in the cliff face not quite six feet tall. A breeze struck my face coming from the opening and I understood that it went far into the rock. I was standing at the mouth of a cave.

I smiled at first, for here was salvation from the monster below. I thought again of the giant snake and the deformed man with the torch. Then the thought struck me. In such a place, what sort of things would live in a cave. This was probably not good.


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Revised November 19, 2002
by David Kraybill
©2002 Beard-Kraybill Studios