Today’s entry will be a little different. It’s a short story I wrote about a year ago, and figured it would be a great piece to publish for Halloween. I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
One cold, autumn evening, I stumbled across a cave. Usually I’m not brave enough to explore dark and damp places, but there was something about this place – something almost audible whispering….“enter.” No, not in a haunting, creepy way. It was more of an inviting call – it spoke to my soul’s deepest yearnings, as if the thing I’ve been searching for my entire life was down in the cave. How could I resist exploring? How could I do anything but to explore this cave?
I walked a few feet inside and found an unlit torch. I took my lighter out, lit the torch, and to my surprise, I found a trail of gold coins leading further into the cave. I followed the trail, picking up two out of the three, but leaving the third just in case I couldn’t find my way out. I followed the cave for what seemed like a mile, but may have only been a few hundred feet. My only way of measuring was the amount of coins in my side pouch, and I wasn’t about to count them in the middle of the cave. No, it really didn’t matter. Almost as soon as I decided against counting the coins, the trail stopped. Still, something told me to keep going. Keep going. My very satisfaction, nay, my guarantee of any further happiness for the rest of my life depended on my trek forward.
As I walked further down, I began to realize I was hungry. When was the last time I had eaten? I really didn’t know – I just wanted to eat. I would eat anything at that point. Just my luck, I found a box of Twinkies. Here, in this ancient cave – I found a most delicious, yet most innutritious food. I scarfed the box down, Twinkie after twinkie, leaving a trail of wrappers as I walked further down the path. I wanted more! I needed more! As luck would have it, I found another box of Twinkies. Again, I ate, and wanted more, leaving a trail of wrappers behind. A third box appeared at my path, and I realized I should save some in case I got lost. I left myself half the box. I still wanted more, but survival over desire….
Just then, I could have sworn I saw someone. I ran towards what appeared to be a beautiful woman. She ran off, and as I ran after her, she suddenly appeared nude. And perfect. I had to find her and gaze upon her beauty. I huffed my chest to make myself look more muscular to her – maybe she’d like that. I ran after her, for awhile, and then – and then I remembered I was in a deep and dark cave. If I kept pursuing her, I might get lost and never find my way out. I quickly looked behind me and noticed my own foot prints in the dirt, but the dirt was ending. I would have to stop before long, or else find another way out.
I sat on a nearby rock, and I realized how tired I was. Wanting to do nothing but sleep. No, not even sleep. Wanting to do nothing. Just sit there until I fossilize. Just…..wait. I need to keep moving. If I don’t keep moving, I’m going to die down here. Maybe I should just close my eyes a bit…maybe a quick nap in this cave. No…I must get up. It was evening already, and I’ve miles to go before I sleep. It took every ounce of strength I had to drag my body from that rock. But I finally got up. Perhaps I should head back to the cave entrance and come back another day. No…I must explore further….I can’t explain it logically, but my gut says go deeper inside the cave.
But as soon as I got up, a rat ran up my foot and bit my leg. I was wearing shorts, and my leg started bleeding. I chased the little bastard. He’s gonna pay with his life! I’m going to catch him, skin him alive, and then use his skull as an ashtray. I don’t smoke, but I’m taking it up just to make sure his ass gets burned time and time again by my cigarette butt! Ooo, it’s gonna be rat stew for dinner tonight! It’s going to be chicken ala rat! It’s going to be rat sushi! It’s going to be…my mind froze, as I realized how much idiotic dribble was coming from my lips. It was just a rat. Sure, I want to ring it’s stupid neck, but my quest is more important. I must find what lies in this cave. I must figure out how to find the secrets of this cave. I must go onwards.
I found myself in a big, open expanse. In the center of the expanse was a man in an expensive suit. Next to him was the woman I had seen earlier. He had bags of gold coins, and even a box of Twinkies. The hunger pains in my stomach returned as I saw them. And my desire for the woman as I saw her. The rat that bit me ran up to the man. The man in the suit held open his hand for the rat to climb up, and padded it’s nose.
There you are, you little beast.
With that, the man snapped the rat’s neck and turned to me…
Oh, sorry, you wanted to do that, didn’t you?
I did, I really did – and not just out of banal revenge – not just because that same rat bastard bit me earlier. I wanted to snap that rat’s neck because the man in the suit did it. I wanted everything the man in the suit had. I wanted the money, the woman, the suit, even the Twinkies. I don’t even like Twinkies, but I wanted the Twinkies. But that same feeling of survival I had experienced earlier came over me….knowing I had to get out of the cave at some point. My body was shaking as I fought my envy, but I had to get out. I burst into tears and ran for the path out of the cave, but just before I got to the expanse’s entrance, an iron gate slammed in front of me. I turned around to see the man was no longer a suave, debonair playboy, but rather a cold, withered man – a skeleton covered in skin.
Plead for your life….what’s so special about you….. the skeleton hissed at me.
I gulped, and noticed he was sitting on a throne of bones. In fact, the entire expanse was littered with bones. All human. I needed out. Maybe he would think I was special…..maybe that’s why he asked. Maybe I am more special than his previous victims.
I’m a very important man, sir! I….I’m more important than anyone’s who’s ever come here! I’m more confident, more savvy, and I’m even clever enough to see through all your little traps. Every single one. I’ve given into common sense over my every temptation in this cave. Six temptations, and I’m so great I…..
Six temptations. Six. My Biblical upbringing came screaming into my mind – There’s supposed to be seven temptations! Seven deadly sins! Quickly, I processed, what is the seventh. The man sat there glaring while stroking a previous victim’s skull like it was a cat. Gently, he sat there and glared…..
Go on, tell me why you’re more special than all my other victims. My hundreds of other victims. Each one of them, I’ve killed. Each one of them I’ve lead here. Some of them were easier than others, but they’ve all found their way here and that is where they stay. You, you are no different. I shall cast your bones to the nearest pile to be jumbled with dozens of others – all laying there – dead. Even if someone found you, they would know nothing of you….all you’ll be is a skeleton in a mass grave. No name, nothing more than an archeological curio.
That’s not true! I’m special! I’m special! I’m better then…
No, I’m not special, I began to sob.
Ooooo, but you are. No one has ever made it past the six challenges. No one has ever come face to face with the real me. Why, I’m not going to put your bones in a random pile – I’m going to place your skull on top of my throne – the most prominent place in my cave.
I’m no more special than any of these. Just kill me and get it over with. Let me die in peace. Let me….
The man’s eyes filled with rage.
NOOOOOO!!!!!! You HAVE to be special!
I realized I was in the seventh trap. It all made sense. There might be a way to survive….
I’m not special…
The man’s head nearly exploded. His pale skin becoming red with more blood than could possibly be in his skeleton like body. His breath, panting. Like a dog on a hot day – or even like a dragon…The moaned, grunted, and screamed “You – you have to be special!”
The man clutched his chest and fell over. He was dead and I had won. I walked up to the throne to examine the body – just dust in a black cloak. I saw a lever made of bones – it was the switch to open the gate. I threw the lever and left the expanse.
I realized my rage for the rat might had saved me, as I had left a trail of blood from the bite as I chased the beast. Then I reached my footprints in the dirt, and then the Twinkie wrappers. Finally I found the trail of gold coins – in five minutes time, I walked out of the cave, into daylight. I was free. I was…..
And yet, I heard that same audible voice, summoning back into the cave. I, I had to see what else the cave held. What wondered I might have missed the first time. I wandered back inside, and found every coin I had taken was replaced….I began to follow the trail of coins once more, this time taking three out of four coins.