Nex Ut Totus Quisnam Hic, Part 2

Billy went home still not believing in his good luck. He was finally going to be popular. He had memorized the maps. He knew every cavern, tunnel, and wall. He knew where to find the engravings and what they all would say. They would have to wait for him. They couldn’t do it by themselves. He went straight to bed so he’d be well rested for tomorrow night’s excursion.

Saturday was rainy and gloomy. The perfect day to head to the cave. He dumped his books onto his bed and stuffed in the only book he needed. He grabbed a flashlight, several lengths of rope, three bottles of water, a couple sandwiches and some candy bars.

For Billy, the day couldn’t go any faster. With his parents currently out of town there’d be no one to ask him where he was going. No one to explain anything to. He passed the day watching MTV and straightening up the house.

The, darkness fell. Billy slung his backpack over one shoulder, hopped on his bike and headed for the cave.

David, Amy, and Eddy were all waiting by the entrance when he showed up. “Let’s go.” Flashlight in hand he led the group into the cave. They all turned on their flashlights and peered at their surroundings.

“It’s beautiful in here.” Amy said.

“Whatever you say. It’s fucking creepy.” David replied.

“Where are you leading us?” Eddy asked.

“To the heart of the cave. In the journal, Old Man Welford described a chamber that was shaped like a human heart. He talked about the many passages that lead into and out of the chamber.” Billy’s flashlight surveyed the ground in front of them. “Watch your step. Right now we’re going to cross and natural bridge. You might not want to look down.”

“Why’s that?” Amy asked.

“It’s a sheer drop eighty feet into an underground spring. It’s shallow, but has a nasty current.”

David stopped to look over the edge at the water below. “Jesus Christ! I should not have looked.”

They crossed the bridge with no problems and they continued to the heart of the cave. When they stepped inside, they were amazed at the height of the cavern.

Spear-like stalactites hung down from the ceiling like daggers above their exposed heads.

Amy started to speak when a low and child-like wailing interrupted her.

“What the hell is that?” David asked.

“That would be the being that dwells in these caves.” Eddy said. He sat down and pulled out a sandwich to munch on while they rested. He looked at the wall behind him. “What do these engravings say?”

Billy referred to the pages that talked about the heart of the cavern. “It says to choose your paths wisely. The path to safety is winding and long. The path to the beast is but a mere slip away. If the beast will not have you, the cavern’s will.”

“I feel so much more confident now.” Amy said. “So where do these paths lead?”

“One leads to an underground lake, the second to the nest, and the third one, he never visited.” Billy said.

They heard a loud rumbling and then a crash. It seemed to come from the entrance of the cave. “You guys stay here and I’ll go see what that was.”

The trio watched Billy as he jogged off into the darkness of the cave.

“Maybe it’s just my nerves, but something seems not quite right here.” Amy said.

“It feels like we’re being watched.” Eddy said.

Billy trotted back to his friends with somber look on his face. “The bridge fell through. We have to find another way out of here.”

“WHAT?!?!?” David asked. “What do you mean we have to find another way?”

“Exactly what I said. We can’t go back the way we came. We have to find another way.” Billy explained.

“I heard what you said, but what do you mean by find? You mean he didn’t document any other way out of here?” David asked.

“He didn’t mention any. He fled from the cave after he saw the beast. He never went down that last tunnel.”

All eyes turned toward the tunnel. What awaited them there? An escape? Or would they be trapped in the cave forever?