Chapter VI: Old dream, New dreamer
Word count: 1133
Time Taken: 52m
The cavern stretched out for miles, partly lit by glowing mushrooms and insects. Even though it was deep underground, the sound of the rain above filled the humid air. I was walking slowly, a small glowing gem in my hand that light up the way before me.
I couldn't remember how I had gotten here, but something told me I really wasn't there. As I walked, I looked at my hands, they were different, gone was that scar on my wrist that I had gotten from falling on a broken bottle, they were more manlike than mine, thicker and somewhat hairy.
The cavern passageway eventually gave place to a flight of stairs, carved directly in the rock. It descended for a long time, spiralling in the darkness, the walls bearing the marks of picks and chisel. At the end of it, there was a massive door, on it's archway, words had been written in some forgotten alphabet.
"They have met death but cannot sleep for their own god has died and cannot come and bring them back into the other world." I read aloud, the voice coming from my throat a different one than usual.
From my bag, I took out a small stone knife and brought it to my palm, squeezing the surprisingly sharp blade and blood pouring out. As I applied it with my palm to the door, I began remembering why I was there; It was part of the family ritual, to learn the secrets of what had been buried for centuries. it was our duty to safeguard the town from it...
The door began trembling slightly and my attention shifted, the image of earlier in the evening coming to mind.
"Damien Salazar Kane." My father recited, wearing the large black robe I had seen in the chest under his bed. "It's finally time for you to learn the secrets of our clan."
"Father! Please, reconsider, Damien isn't ready yet." My brother Anton said. "It's too soon after Geoffrey."
I remembered now, my brother had come back, visibly distressed and incoherently babbling. He had been plagued by nightmares and eventually his heart had given up in the middle of the night.
"But I am, ready." I said, cursing my brother innerly. "I am not like Geoff, he was sickly already."
My brother looked at me, worry clear in his gray, mirror like eyes that belonged to the whole family. After a moment of silence, he sighed and nodded at our father who came closer, bearing a new robe for me in one hand and a box in the other.
I slipped the robe over and took opened the chest, getting it's content; an obsidian knife, a fragment of quartz and a small journal with a pen.
"You'll be in the caverns for several days, you will have to find sustenance by yourself as is tradition. May the gods watch over you son." He said before walking toward the end of the cellar, opening the secret door inside of a cabinet.
As I stepped through it, I felt a hand on my shoulder, it was Anton. He grabbed my forearm and I did the same. "Be careful. I don't want to lose you like we did Geoff..." I returned the handshake.
"I will, and when I'll be back, I'll have earned the right to bear the family seal upon my arm as you have done."
My vision refocused slowly as the door finished opening, sliding with a rumble worthy of a thunderstorm. It was hard to know how long I had been down there, but at least a day...
The other side of the door held a much larger cavern, as wide as the town square and the park combined. There was a small lake that came and plenty of vegetation. I could see the way branch out into many tunnels, each covered in shadows.
Down below, I saw a great obelisk, pale forms crowded around it, bowing and kneeling. I started walking toward it when one of them appeared in front of me, it's body frail and cadaveric looking, sharp talon like fingers approaching my head.
I woke up screaming, my head and heart pounding, cold sweat dripping from everywhere, making my shirt cling tightly to my forms. I sat down on the bed just as someone knocked on my door.
"Sophia?" My mother yelled from the other side of the door. "Are you alright?"
I got up slowly, my muscle clenched and feeling numb and opened the door, unlocking it. "Yeah, I was dreaming..."
She looked at me worried under the morning hair that she sported, dark rings under her eyes. "What were you dreaming about?" She asked, wrapping her arms around me and holding me tightly like a child.
"It's kind of hazy..." I said. "I think I'll go take a shower..."
She nodded and let go of me. "You really shouldn't sleep with the window open." She said, peeking into my room.
I looked back inside and noticed the window had been opened yet again. That time, I was sure that I had shut and locked it appropriately...
"Yeah... Sorry I worried you, mum."
She kissed me good night and went back to her room where my dad was standing in the doorways. I went inside the bathroom and cleaned myself before changing into clean pajamas.
When I walked back inside my room, I carefully approached the window and looked outside. Although there wasn't much visible due to the rain, I was sure there wasn't anything at the edge of the woods, so I turned back inside and inspected the room.
The intruder was right there, sitting on my bed, lightly dripping with water. He lied down and opened it's mouth, letting out a quiet meow.
"How the hell did you get in here?" I asked the cat, which I recognized as the one from the bookstore.
It's eyes stared pass me and outside where a branch came not too far from my window.
"But how did you open the window?" I asked, making him roll over and present his belly. I sat down on the bed and I sighed. "I'm talking to a fucking cat... This place made me paranoid..."
In answer, Spike came closer, rubbing himself against me and purring as loudly as a cat the size of a small dog could. I tucked myself back in, too tired to get the cat outside or do anymore research, there was something in the dreary atmosphere of the town that just seemed to sap all energy that I had, replacing it with anxiety and fucked up dreams...
I closed my eyes and begun drifting off when I hear someone whisper to me. "Sleep well, Sophia..."