My lantern went out long ago. At first I was frightened by the blackness and it was difficult to feel my way around in it. I’ve gotten used to that now and the dark dampness of the cave no longer bothers me – what bothers me is the cold wetness in my gloves and boots slowly turning to numbness. I know that soon I won’t be able to go on any longer.
I’ve the first feeling approaching hope in the days since the cave-in. Here and there I’ve seen faint bits of light let in through holes in the ceiling, so many hundreds of metres above me, but this time it’s different. I know this light so far up above in the distance is a way out. This light shines out horizontally rather than down. The rockpile slopes up gradually toward it and I know it’s my way out, my salvation.
The climb seems to go on forever and the wet soreness in my bones aches even more as I fumble on the smooth, rounded stones. Slowly, I am reaching the top and the utter blackness of the cave depths gives way to a gray, hazy light. For the first time in days I can see my hands in front of my face. I can see the rockpile too.
I pick up one of the smooth rounded stones and hold it close to my face. As my eyes adjust to this extra light, I find myself staring into two black pits – the eyes of a skull.
From the top of the rockpile I hear an inhuman roar.