My head throbbed, goose bumps needled my flesh. Why the hell was I so uncomfortable? Oh, yeah, I was stuck in a damn cave. I swallowed a moan as my sixth sense sounded and alarm, someone had joined me in the cave. My heart skipped a few beats while I debated on whether or not I should continue playing possum. No, I needed to deal with this head on. I forced my eyes open, my heart stopped, I blinked, then pinched myself. What was that thing?
All of a sudden memories came flooding back at me full force. I crouched in the bushes, gun drawn. Before I got off a shot he pounced, a blur, faster than I’d given him credit for. I vaguely remembered the pain shoot through my skull before he knocked me out. I’d lost my backpack, my gun, and my flashlight too.
I cringed, kept myself from rubbing the bump on my head.
On the positive side Max and Chase would be looking for me, or at least they will be, once the storm blew over. Was the storm over? I wish I knew. Now, all I had to do was stay alive until they found me, or I found them.
Until then, I only had a knife to defend myself with. Could I defend myself with just a knife? Would I have to?
I grimaced at the thing while studying it. Male, more human than animal, but definitely mutated. A chuckle bubbled up into my throat. I held it in. The last thing I needed was him to attack me because of my nerves.
He reminded me of someone trying to pull off dressing like a big, white, snow clown. Clowns were right up there with cockroaches, except clowns were freaky scary, roaches were freaky gross. I refrained from shaking my head, I’d lost my mind. A snow clown, now that was ridiculous.
A big, mean, snow clown sounded better. About 6’2, his hair, face, and body were as white as the snow. His clothes, if you could call them that, were skin tight. I took a closer look, scratch cloths, the white, sparkled sheen flowing over his body was an outer layer of skin.
I now understood why I never caught a real glimpse of him. He’d camouflaged himself well, according to nature. I bet if he needed to he would molt, or whatever he did, into the color of the cave.
His eyelashes were crazy long, sparkled white, and covered eyes that bulged out of his head. He had two slits in the sides of his head. Ears? I watched him watching me. His eyes moved in an eerie, circular, motion. One eye settled on me, the other scanned the rest of the cave.
His nose was small and angular, with two small slits in them for breathing. I pictured small razor sharp teeth underneath his thin lips. I glanced down at his hands. On both, five fingers fused together into a group of two and a group of three, giving them a tong-like appearance. Nasty claws spiked out of each finger. His bare feet were identical to his hands. I pictured the bruises on my ankles; too similar to be coincidental. He glared unspoken hatred at me.
I wondered again if my knife would be enough to take him out.
I’d never seen anything quite like him, and hoped I never would again. I didn’t pick up any violence in him at this moment, just hate and curiosity. Not one muscle moved in my body. I waited patently to see if he intended to make the first move. When nothing happened I sat up straighter, attempting to get semi comfortable. My back was killing me, and my bones ached from leaning up against the wall.
In slow motion I unbent one leg and stretched it out before bending it back up. I didn’t want my knife to be too far out of reach. I did the same with my other leg, both of my arms, my neck, and my back, keeping my eye on the psycho-mutant-creature the whole time. He’d taken an alert stance while I stretched. We remained staring at each other for so long I thought I would die of stiffness and boredom. Suddenly he turned on his heel and walked through door number one, towards the exit.
My heart caught in my throat. Was he leaving again? Please let him leave! I exhaled long, slow, breaths, waiting for what seemed like an eternity before I got up. I did a full stretch on my aching muscles, and stuck my knife up my sleeve. For whatever reason he wanted me here he certainly didn’t seem interested in feeding me, or hurting me, at this point anyway. I picked up my bark and slowly tiptoed through the tunnel. I didn’t need my torch to see light outside. Maybe my new friend dropped off the face of the earth, and I would be able to escape.
As I walked through the tunnel my momentum began to slow down. How long had I been gone? I didn’t know if I was two or three days into this fiasco, because I had no idea how long I’d been unconscious. My stomach behaved as though it had been a week. I shuddered at the thought. That would mean that Max and Chase weren’t coming or something bad may have happened to them. What if I gave them too many sleeping pills? I shook my head, I’d only added a couple to their drinks.
Bringing myself back from the worst case scenario I concentrated on the positive. I had water. I reached the bush, happy I hadn’t been jumped, and peeked out. Still snowing. I collected as much snow as possible, plus a couple of leaves, and headed back to the fire thinking about Max. As many times as I wished he’d vanish, I really needed his help now.
Ignoring the hunger pains, I melted the snow, drank it, then made several more trips back to the bush. I brushed my mega fuzzy teeth the best I could with the leaves while dreaming of a nice hot bath in my Jacuzzi. By the time I made my last trip to the entrance the snow had subsided into flurries, but the sun sat low on the horizon. I sighed; another night stuck in the cave.
I whipped my cell phone out of my pocket and pushed the power button. Nothing happened. I pushed on the power button again for a couple of seconds longer. Still nothing. I checked to make sure the battery was still in my phone, it was. Damn! I must have forgotten to charge it. I glared at the overcast clouds. No, I specifically remembered plugging it in. Hell, the charger probably wasn’t plugged into the wall. Or the phone may have been on, while I lay unconscious, searching for a signal. That would drain the battery quickly. I heaved a long sigh. Whatever happened I was minus a phone. My mind blurred from hunger, my head throbbed, I was sore, exhausted, and my escape plan had been thwarted today.
Frustrated, I plopped the stupid thing back into my pocket, instead of trowing it at the wall. I separated the branches of the bush. Nothing looked familiar, but if my vision still worked correctly, and I hoped I wasn’t hallucinating, smoke puffed up from a chimney in the distance. I smiled. A house. Darkness settled into the sky, leaving now wasn’t an option, but that was the direction I’d be heading in come dawn. I returned to my spot in the cave, sat with my back against the wall, and lit a smoke.
I didn’t understand why he wanted me, but I could come up with several reasons. The one thing I was certain, my life was in danger. Anger coursed through my veins. And since anger was a lot better than despair I grabbed hold of the emotion, lit another smoke, and stewed until finally I was emotionally drained enough to sleep.