The Cave

The following is an excerpt from my current work in progress. I hope you enjoy.


Tristan struck a match and lit one of the torches placed on the wall of the cave. It cast a surprising amount of light. He turned and beckoned for Cara to follow.

“Levi said it will take us a day just to hike down and locate the door.”

“Do you have any idea where exactly we should be looking?” asked Cara.

“No, but he said I would know where to go without even knowing I knew it.”

“Levi said that?”

“Well, pretty much, yeah. The point is all we have to do is hike into the cave and trust that I’m picking the right path.”

Cara had no reason to doubt it was true. “We better get going then, hopefully we can find a place to build a fire tonight.”

“How will we know its night? We’re in a cave.” Tristan smiled to himself. He enjoyed spending time with Cara. She was the only one who understood his jokes. She cuffed him in the back of the head. “That’s how.”

The damp footing demanded concentration which left little time for conversation. A feeling like butterflies began to develop in Tristan’s stomach as they continued to trek deeper into the dank cave. Tristan took the lead stopping periodically to offer assistance to Cara. She didn’t need the help but wasn’t about to pass up a chance to hold his hand. They continued on for several hours before stopping to rest.

“Are you feeling anything?” asked Cara. Tristan gave her a coy smile. “I mean about the book. Do you know if we’re getting closer?”

“No, but we are definitely headed in the right direction. We should drink some water, then continue on. Unless you need to stop for a while.”

Cara took a few sips from her canteen then put her pack back on, signaling her readiness. They continued on in silence with Tristan in the lead once more. About an hour later they stopped again.

“What is it?”

“All of a sudden this doesn’t feel right.” Tristan spun around in a circle surveying the narrow confines of the cave. “I think we should head back a little bit and see if we missed a turn off or passage.”

Cara pressed against the wall so Tristan could pass in front of her and screamed as several skeletal arms shot from the rock and grabbed her arms and legs. Before Tristan could react a similar pair ensnared him causing him to drop the torch.

“Cara!” Tristan screamed as the torch fizzled. He struggled against the arms as another pair grabbed his legs.

“I’m here. I can’t move. I don’t think they are trying to kill us.”

“I don’t think so either. Stop fighting and see what happens.” Tristan took his own advice. The hands continued to grasp him firmly, but they didn’t squeeze as tight.

“I think this is part of the process of getting the book.” Said Cara.

“Levi said it would take us a whole day just to find the door to the room that holds the book. He didn’t say anything about protection spells.”

“What if something is wrong? The hands don’t have to hurt us to kill us. If we can’t get free, then eventually we’ll starve to death.”

“But I’m the guardian of the stupid book. Protection spells and traps shouldn’t even affect me.”

“How do you know you’re the guardian?”


“I mean, how do you know? Your mother was guardian before you, which puts you in line to become the next guardian after she dies right?”

“She is dead, remember. She was killed right in front of me. My father and I buried her before heading out to Laredo.”

“I know that. What I mean is, you know you are guardian because your mother told you about it. Our parents never had to fight to protect the books, so their training took place over a long period of time. Who knows what ceremonies and spells they went through? You and I never had the luxury of all their knowledge. We’re playing it by ear.”

“I’m not following you.”

“Well, I follow you, Tristan Waters, Son of Catherine Waters, guardian of the Book of Seven.”

The disembodied arms released them and retreated back into the rock. Tristan bent to where he last saw the torch, fished in his pocket for another match and re-lit the torch. He looked up at Cara. The orange torch light made her skin glow as she beamed down at him.

“Cara Brayborn, guardian of the Book of Eight, you are a genius.” He stood and before he knew what he was doing kissed her on the cheek. Even in the dim light of the cave he could tell she was blushing. “I’ve picked up the trail again. It’s this way.”

Cara followed behind Tristan; a little more closely than before. There were so many things she would have liked to talk about, but for the life of her she couldn’t bring herself to speak.

“Here’s the door.” There was no hint of question. It was an emphatic statement. “Don’t look like much of a door, but I suppose that’s part of the test.”

“If Levi’s estimation is anywhere close to correct, and knowing him it’s dead on, we’ve been walking for the better part of the day. Perhaps we should get some sleep.”

“I agree.” Tristan found a small notch in the wall next to the door. It looked like it was there to hold the torch so he tested his theory. The torch slid in easily and the door opened. “Well, hell. So much for sleep. I don’t trust this door to stay open for long, we better use it while we can.” He reached out, took her hand and together they stepped through.

The Collector

Robert dragged the chair across the kitchen floor and admonished himself for sleeping late. He had to hurry. His mother could awaken any moment to put a stop to his plan. His thoughts raced back to yesterday’s conversation.

“No Robert, you’ll just have to wait till it falls out on its own. I’ll not have you ruin an entire box of cereal with your hands.”

“I’ve washed my hands; they’re clean.”

“No, now that’s the end of it.”


“No buts! Now hand me the box.”

A loud dragging brought him back to the present as it echoed through the house. He cursed himself for not paying attention. He couldn’t blow this by being careless. He had to pull this off now or face another day’s wait. Everything pointed to the prize being at the very bottom of the box. Waiting wasn’t an option; he needed it today. He had to know if he would be the first in his class to collect the rarest prize.

Robert’s fingers barely reached the box as he stood on tip-toes atop the rickety kitchen chair. He paused to listen for his mum. The snores had stopped which meant she was probably in the bathroom. He had less than a minute to retrieve the prize. He ran to the table and smiled at his brilliance. No time to open the box slowly, he had to do it before she stopped him.

The bathroom door opened. In seconds she would be within eye sight of the kitchen table, she’d see him for sure. It was now or never. He tipped the entire box of cereal over.

“Robert! What are you doing?”

“I just wanted the prize.”

“Well now you’ve ruined the entire-” She stopped when she saw what he had done. “Well, Robert, that’s a fine solution, using my mixing bowl to hold all the cereal. Well done.”

Robert smiled and carefully took the prize packet from the top of the pile. He knew he had to clean up before she would allow him to open the brown paper packet. The slow careful pour of from the mixing bowl into the box seemed to take forever.

At last he was able to examine his prize. He picked the packet up and rolled it around in his fingers trying to make out the general shape. It didn’t seem to feel like the others. His heart fluttered as he tore into the packet.


All the waiting and planning had paid off. Robert raced from the kitchen to his room, burst through the door and threw himself into his chair. He gazed lovingly at his prized collection of wildlife statuettes meticulously arranged on the shelf by his window. His eyes fell instinctively to the empty spot. He imagined himself museum curator as he placed his new acquisition amongst his collection. Panda, Kodiak, Polar and now Grisly; the first in school to have all the bears. Nothing to do now but wait for Monday morning and announce his discovery to the world.

This week’s story was inspired by the [fiction]Friday prompt at WriteAnything. “While digging in a cereal box for the toy surprise, a child makes a grisly discovery”. I hope you had fun reading it.