Why a cavern would have within it a wooden stairway I had no idea, but I welcomed the cover and slid underneath its first landing to hide; from what I couldn’t be sure. My memory was fogged as was the air about me, the damp crept into the seams of my clothing giving form to what was barely visible.
I can’t say how long I crouched there, shivering,
staring into the dim haze, thinking nothing beyond the urge to run; but
run where? And from what?
I tried, God knows I tried to make
sense of what was happening. I could recall so little. I surmised at
last that I was not a fearful man, only pushed to this type of panic by
things unknown, monsters as others would call them, the undead, the
mutant creatures that hide in dark places waiting for those such as I to
stumble into their lairs. So it must have been some sort of unholy
fiend that had my scent; one that so frightened me I’d wiped it from my
conscious and had simply reacted by instinct. Flee.
I could hear
my ragged breathing, and hoped that it wasn’t truly as loud as it
seemed. The more I tried to control the silence the less I managed until
I was near hyperventilating. There was a hum, at about 60 hertz I
figured. That I’d be able to identify it by the length of its wave
nearly drove me upright, there was something I was missing, something
buried deep within my mind that could solve the riddle of why I would be
cowering in a grotto, waiting for death to sidle up next to my
Suddenly a light appeared, a focused beam that
rapidly approached and then faded away accompanied by the sounds of
heavy footsteps on concrete, the jangle of keys, the opening of a chain
link fence gate, and finally a voice from a walkie talkie, telling
Officer Jackson that his backup was on the way as requested.
felt as if I struggled for hours to refocus, but it was likely only a
few seconds before I could see that I’d been lying in bed, half asleep,
staring into the bureau mirror which while primarily blackened by
darkness did reflect a stepped picture frame on its northern edge. I
shot to attention and slipped my feet to the floor. I’d been uncovered
and what had been a steamy night had turned chilly, the fog so thick it
rolled through the bedroom’s open window. As I stood to close it, the
cop walked by.
“The perp did exit my yard I hope” I said softly so as to not surprise a man with a gun.
“My partner got him sir. Sorry about the interruption, you can go back to sleep now.”
grunted and slid the window shut, then sat on the edge of the bed for a
few minutes before deciding that being awake at 3AM was preferable to
sleeping with my eyes open, creating horror anxiety out of slightly
thickened air and the black hole of silvered glass. I slipped on my robe
and padded to the kitchen to make coffee. Whatever was patiently
waiting for me in that dark cave would have to find something else to
terrorize for a while. I was going to be elsewhere.