An Unfortunate Adventure! #freewritemadness: Day Six

#freewritemadness day SIX is upon us!!

I got more done today than I expected, earlier than expected! 😀 I didn’t get anything done this morning because I had an appointment I needed to go to. I’m about to sign up for a Business Admin certificate, which I hope will be approved in December and not immediately – I still have November writing to do! After that little appointment, I unexpectedly ran into another mum from my son’s Kindergarten and we stopped and had a drink… and ohmygosh. Okay. I am/was a caffeine addict. I was drinking it every day. It was my breakfast. My life. My love. But, after a while you become immune to it. And then you give it up because it’s a waste of money and does nothing for you, and you come crashing down, down, down. Into a pit of dull headaches, sharp migraines, nausea, and a bit of sadness.

I was naughty and had a simple 600mL bottle of Pepsi. I drank half of it. Barely 35mg of caffeine. Next thing I know I’m giggling, trembling, walking at super speed, and buzzing all over the place.

“Ohhhhh! That’s right! That’s what caffeine feels like! Wheeeeeee!”

Anyway! I missed about four hours of blissfully silent son-is-at-kindy writing time. But. Under the influence of actual ACTIVE caffeine… I offer you… OVER TWO THOUSAND WORDS! (just)

Today’s prompt was – primate.

Today’s wordcount is – 2073
Total wordcount is – 12007


All liquid rewards from this post will be going towards @teamaustralia’s #hayrunners initiative! All liquid rewards will be sent to @teamaustralia on post payout!



For a chance to WIN SteemBasicIncome just read and comment on my #freewritemadness posts!


For more information visit the @freewritehouse

CHAPTER SIX

Drip. Drip. Drip.

It was getting louder, echoing about the cold stone as Katéa trudged through the never-ending cave. Each drip repeated over and over until it became all that she could hear, her breaths and heartbeat silenced by the incessant drops. Was this what water torture felt like? It was maddening! She had been trapped down here for what felt as hours, wandering through tunnel after tunnel in hopes of at last finding an exit, but the cool breeze she used as a guide seemed to lead nowhere. Her head was pounding, exacerbated by the constant drips. This headache was the worst she had ever suffered; a constant pulse that felt as a nail being driven into her skull.

She rubbed at her temple for the thousandth time, knowing that it would do little to relieve the agony, and poked harder at it, enjoying the slight pain that was of her own doing instead of one that was being forced upon her. Another opening came into view, a faint light flickering out into the dark corridor, and her headache vanished as she stepped into a large cavern. Oh, wonderful; maybe this one led to the exit she so desperately sought. She sighed, and choked as the ache chose that moment to return tenfold, blaring back into life so sharply that her vision faded to black in a wave of wooziness.

Steadying herself against the wall, she took a shuddering breath. There would be a way out of this mess and she would find it, and headaches were only temporary, even ones that were hammering three inch spikes into her very soul. “Just consider this as a ‘breaking in’. You’re not in the city anymore, Kitty,” she mumbled through her pain. Hell —she wasn’t in a civilised place anymore, let alone a city. It would be tough. But at this rate, she was facing the toughest of what this place had to offer. Surely it was smooth sailing from here on out.

The dizziness lessened and her eyes readjusted, and widened as she peered into the area she now stood in.

“Umm, okay…”

Shimmering tapestries gilded in silver lined the paved, circular stones every few paces. The rocks were as bright a white as her bedsheets, and the cavern was well-lit by more of those magical candles. Only, these ones were placed inside the gaping mouths of several grotesque faces of large creatures as tall as trees, accentuating their harsh features and sharp angles. Some appeared as wolf-men whilst others were as misshapen primates —monkey-men that had no business wearing jagged wings or claws as long as her torso. They didn’t look as statues, but as real creatures, alive yet lifeless. In the very centre of the room was an anthropomorphic bird, easily ten times the height of all the strange creatures, its head bowed beneath the arched ceiling, and hovering in front of its hooked beak and golden eyes was a large obsidian sphere that matched the one on the necklace, emanating a bizarre hum as it turned in slow circles.

What the actual hell was this place? It seemed that she had left the spider tunnels and entered some sort of bizarre temple.

“Not all is ever as it appears, miss. Surely you know that.” Draven’s cool, casual voice burst into mind, eliciting a small smile. Indeed. So far nothing at all was as it had appeared, except the people. They were who they were. There was none of that falseness she had grown accustomed to back home; they wore no masks to conceal their true selves. It was a breath of fresh air, not taking into account the actual air, which stank to the high heavens and back. Was that orb spinning faster?

She stepped further into the chamber and stared at the black sphere that seemed to absorb the light of the ever-burning flames, somehow turning a deeper shade of black despite the well-lit area.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

“Argh! Fuck me dead,” she groaned. That drip was going to be the death of her! The obsidian sphere rotated faster, gathering more and more speed the longer she stared at it. A high-pitched shriek came into being, echoing in harsh wails that circulated the cavern as fast as the sphere itself. Her hands flew to her ears, but they could not block the sound. Sharp claws crawled up her throat and set the soft flesh aflame. Her heart beat a mile a minute, so fast it felt like it would burst from her chest —the inhuman wail was coming from her!

The stone collapsed beneath her feet.

Splash.

The ice-cold water was a shock. She plummeted into the depths before floating back to the surface, gulping for air that was not there, her body numbed and unable to move. It was so fucking cold! The necklace in her pocket no longer allowed her its strange warmth and the rushing water swiftly swept her away. The water surged faster. Sudden light blinded her. Sunlight! Her heart leapt and then fell as fast as she had fallen —as fast as she was about to fall!

The water’s edge was fast approaching and there was only blue sky to greet her. Was there a rock she could latch onto? She flailed about, desperate to find something, anything she could possibly grab. There was nothing. The drip really was going to be the death of her. She whimpered and closed her eyes, bracing herself for the inevitable. The water roared through her ears, so deafening that it blocked the sound of her own shriek as she went over the edge.

It was as an eternity as she flew free through the air. She was going to die. It had been less than two days in this strange new land, and death was already waiting to greet her. Draven had called her ‘well-blooded’. Whatever the fuck that meant. It didn’t sound like her, though. She was a city girl who mostly eschewed the daylight, only stepping outside whenever it was absolutely necessary, or if she was going to the beach. Yet, here she was, flying off of a waterfall after falling into a spider cave, after rummaging through scrub in search of some damned lights. That was not her and this was the end.

Splash.

Her lungs tightened as she hit the water with force. She gasped for breath but it wouldn’t enter the constrictions that bound her chest. Stop, panicking —she couldn’t! She coughed and spluttered and tried to take another breath. A tiny portion of oxygen entered her body. It wasn’t enough, but it was a start. Something snaked around her legs, as slimy as her mother’s overcooked custard, and she screamed, at last allowing air to flow into her body. Kicking her feet wildly beneath the surface, she tried to repel whatever-it-was from grabbing her and pulling her down. Her head submerged before she forced herself back up to the surface and gulped for another breath. What if whatever-it-was was like a shark, where the more you kick the more they are attracted to your distress? Fuck! What should she do? The red cabin was about half a kilometre away, sitting peacefully on the side of the river, bathing in the sun-rays like a slice of heaven awaiting her approach. Land —she needed to get the fuck out of this water and get onto land!

The last time she had swam was when she was a child, but apparently it was one of those skills that you never lost. Either that, or desperation was guiding her instincts. Fine by her. The creature wrapped around her legs again. “Piss off!” she yelled, kicking her legs out one more time. A surge of satisfaction rushed through her as something solid and slimy met the sole of her foot. Take that! Fucking river beast, whatever-you-are.

She grasped the edge of the riverbank, grateful that it was not flimsy and was stable enough to hold her weight, and pulled herself up from the water, hurriedly wiggling her body onto the soft grass. The ground had never felt so good. Raising herself up on trembling arms, she peered over her shoulder, and fell flat back onto her stomach. What looked like a scaly horse’s head emerged from the water, its erect ears a tangled mess of bright blue vines and leaves, and it stared at her with six pearlescent eyes that blinked rhythmically, one at a time. It released a forlorn moan as deep and heart-striking as a mourning war-widow, before it descended back into the depths, watching her the entire time it submerged and barely leaving a ripple as it vanished.

Her heart raced. The aqua water ran clear; there were no shadows beneath the surface and no trace of the creature remained. What the hell was that thing? Wait —the necklace! Her hands flew to her sides. She touched the cool silver, crinkled safely at the bottom of her pocket, and released a sigh. Why did it matter anyway? The damned thing had something to do with that giant sphere in the bizarre room filled with ghastly statuesque creature things; that damned room that had collapsed inexplicably beneath her feet and had almost killed her!

“At least you’re out of the cave,” she muttered between sharp breaths.

Heavy fatigue swarmed her limbs —she had never been so tired in her entire life. Resting her head on the ground, there was nothing she wanted more than to close her eyes, to sleep, to allow her tired body some rest after all it had to endure over the past couple of days. Sleep was a luxury she had not yet experienced since being here. She had stumbled through the scrub, out of the forest, and into a sleepless madness.

No. Not yet. She forced her eyes to stay open. Fucked if she was staying out here with god-knows-what-creatures lurking all over the place. Her legs rebelled beneath her weight, but she managed to climb upright, and teetered unsteadily towards the cabin. It was so close yet so far. Five hundred metres, give or take a couple. Easy peasy. Then she would collapse into one of those rocking chairs by the fireplace and not move for a whole week.

The remnants of her tattered dress were glued to her skin, her hair was a tangled, dripping mass that hung in front of her face like dreadlocked seaweed, and there was no strength in her arms to sweep the matted strands out of her eyes. Any energy she had was reserved for stumbling back into Glouweln.

Her legs were so tired. Each step was as though there were heavy iron blocks strapped to her ankles, weighing her down into the ground. A fresh breeze that spoke of ice and snow swept over her sodden skin, near freezing her solid as she progressed. There was maybe fifty metres to go. She would persevere; she needed to.

The stairs were just ahead. Her strength was gone. She was here but her legs would no longer move. Her body ached and all she wanted to do was cry her exhaustion away, but the tears would not come. Could she lie down here? Her body slumped, falling inelegantly over the stairs. This was strangely comfortable. Yes, she could lie down here; in fact, she would sleep here. Sleep was a blessing that she truly deserved.

Her eyes closed. Oh, this felt so good. To finally close her eyes and rest her heavy body. Warm arms gently picked her up and carried her inside. She made a small whimper that she heard deep behind the curtains of her faded thoughts, but did not stir. Grotesque creatures half monkey and half gargoyle grinned through the scattered illusions of her dreams, their teeth shining bright behind eternal flames, and their lifeless eyes were as black and round as the obsidian sphere that weighed down her pocket and spun circles through her soul. Strong winds whipped up in violent bursts, and the large black wings of the anthropomorphic bird shrouded all else, beating as forcefully as the so-called ‘great protector’ that had stared at her in the elf’s gardens. Its beak opened wide and a long word —a name— hissed from the creature’s mouth.

“Serenithyl.”

 

(An Unfortunate Adventure header made by me! Courtesy of an image from Pixabay, and images from Vidar Nordli-Mathisen, Johny Goerend, Alan Labisch, Erol Ahmed on Unsplash!)