Caves and Magic Ver. 1

 Caves and Magic Ver. 1

This is what I get for following Arthur, I thought, stumbling down the slick cave entrance my friend had entered just moments before. “Hey, don't go too far in!” I shouted, already imagining headlines being written about us if we got lost. Arthur had been doing this kind of thing since we were kids and it certainly wouldn't be the first time we ended up in the local news for it. He had a knack for finding weird places to explore, though if it weren't for me I doubt he'd have a great track record of successfully exploring. Regardless of how used to his explorations I'd gotten though, I couldn't help but be a little concerned when I didn't hear his reply echo back to me.

Eventually, I had wandered into the deeper parts of the cave and the light from the entrance just barely let me see where I was going. I knew it wasn't like Arthur to mess with me like in these kinds of places, but a small part of me couldn't help but hope that's what was happening. With every stalagmite I passed, I imagined Arthur popping out and screaming, "Boo!" When the last remnants of daylight dimmed to darkness though, my last shred of hope seemed to go with it. I was sure something had happened to my friend.

    With thoughts of all the horrible things that could have happened to Arthur filling my head, I shakily pulled out my phone to use as a light and kept marching forward. Eventually the cave narrowed to the point that I could reach out with both hands and touch the sides of it. Clusters of stalactites and stalagmites started becoming more common too, until it got to the point that I was basically climbing between them.

After slipping around a particularly low hanging group of stalactites, I suddenly found myself in a small alcove with no way forward. It couldn’t have been bigger than a broom closet, and there definitely wasn't room for Arthur to be in there with me. Thinking that I was missing something, I looked around the stalagmites in front of me. They were clumped up against the wall and had fused together in a way that almost looked like steps, so I stepped on their lower ridges to see if they had separated from the wall at some point and were hiding an exit. Thanks to the extra height, I managed to find even more cave wall, which unfortunately had no openings.

Did he manage to get lost on some kind of side path? Or, did he somehow get out while I was wandering around like a dunce looking for him? Either way, when we get out of here we're gonna have a talk about these "cool" spots he finds. I grumbled to myself, turning to head back to the entrance. Suddenly though, my foot slipped on the stalagmite and shot out in front of me. I fell backwards almost too fast and somehow managed to fall right into a crevice that I would have sworn wasn't there just a second ago.

I hit the cave floor hard enough that the pain somehow travelled all the way up my back and into my head. When I could finally open my eyes through the pain, I almost panicked, because I thought I'd gone blind. When I rubbed my eyes with both hands though, I realized that I'd dropped my phone when I fell. So, naturally, I started splashing my hands in the shallow puddles around me, not daring to move from where I’d fallen until I found my phone. A few ungraceful seconds later, and my right hand finally fell on the soft plasticky material of my phone. Breathing a sigh of relief, I flipped it around to turn on the light, but what I’d grabbed wasn’t actually my phone at all.

Whatever I’d grabbed felt like just like my phone case at first, but when I couldn't find the screen, I soon realized I'd been mistaken. So, naturally afraid that I’d grabbed some kind of weird cave fungus, I threw it as hard as I could away from me. Unfortunately, that meant that it hit the nearby wall with a speed that would make a pro baseball pitcher proud, causing it to fly back and smack into my face. Fairly freaked out at this point, I jumped up and started wildly wiping the moisture it had left behind from my hands and face. When I blinked my eyes clear though, I realized that the cave now had a distinct green glow, as if someone had broken a pack of glowsticks.

    Looking down, I could see that the light was coming from the strange object that had bounced off my face. No wonder I thought this thing was my phone, I mused. It’s basically just a block of rubber. Still apprehensive, I ended up bending over and grabbing the light so that I could look around. I was pretty amazed when I realized I hadn't just fallen into another small alcove, but a cavern that seemed almost unnatural. The rock was a dark black color that reflected the green glow in my hand back at me, almost as if the entire place had been polished to a mirror finish. In fact, the walls were so smooth that I nearly missed the small pond in the center of the room.

    After looking around for a bit, I tried to find where I had come in from by following the walls with my hand. The walls felt like marble, but were so smooth that I couldn’t put much pressure on them for fear of slipping. I circled the almost perfectly round cavern, searching for a path that could lead me further into the cave. Just like the alcove from before though, there was no Arthur and no way forward. I was starting to panic again too, as not only couldn't I find Arthur, but I couldn't find where I'd come in from either. Just as I was on the brink of breaking down, the small pond in the center of the room caught my attention. Looking at it gave me a terrible feeling, as if a small part of me knew to stay away from the mysterious water. I ignored that feeling though, as there really wasn't anything else I could do.

Inspecting the pool of water, I tried to see if there was anything beneath the perfectly still surface. When I couldn't see deeper than a few feet, I was relieved. I was more afraid that I'd find Arthur staring back up at me than anything. I wasn't convinced there was nothing in the pond though, so I got on my hands and knees, bringing my face right to the surface with the light held tightly above my head. This close, I was just able to make out something resting on the bottom of the pond. Before I could investigate it any further though, the hand that I'd been bracing against the edge of the pond suddenly slipped, sending the world into a slow-motion tumble.

As the cavern spun around me I couldn't help but think, Not again! As both I and my light plunged into the bitingly cold water. I quickly spluttered my way back to the surface, but instead of climbing out, like a normal person, I was frozen in place. My light had broken into tiny particles in the water, essentially turning into a giant, glowing bath bomb. Then, just as I started to recover from my confusion, something seemed to grab my leg, pulling me deeper into the, now glowing, pond.

The force was so strong that I only managed a short, “Help-” before I was sucked under. Thrashing about, I tried my best to resist and get back to the surface, but it was pointless. Thinking I was going to have to fight off a subterranean shark or something, I clenched my fist and finally looked down at what was pulling me. It was nothing. Nothing was pulling me deeper, and yet deeper I was being pulled. Before my brain could rationalize this though, probably with some realistic nonsense about undercurrents, I found myself face to face with the object I had gleamed from the surface. An antique mirror that, instead of reflecting me, had the terrifying visage of an old woman who seemed to be smiling at me.     "Thanks for waking me up dear." She said. "Now, for your reward, I'll be taking you back home with me." Before I could even shake my head no, her boney hands reached through the mirror and grabbed my own. "Don't worry, it's way more interesting over there than it could ever be here!" She cackled, pulling me through the mirror with inhuman strength. As I stared at her crooked smile and shining eyes as she pulled me into a mirror I finally snapped. And by snapped, I mean that I actually just became so overwhelmed that I passed out.

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