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C11 - Out of the darkness and into the frying pan

Updated: Feb 3, 2021

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--Chapter 11

As Jen fell, she felt like she had been falling forever; time seemed to be warping and changing. She had stopped screaming some time ago. How long had it been, Jen thought, maybe fifteen minutes? Or perhaps it has been thirty minutes since realizing it was pointless. The hole she had fallen through had faded in the distance above her within a matter of seconds. And she had been falling since then for what seemed like a long time.

Without warning Jen's ears popped, then Thud and an "ugh" escaped her as she slammed back first into what felt like sand. Her landing knocked the breath right out of her. Gasping for air due to the sudden meeting with the sand, Jen attempted to get her breath back. When she was younger, Jen had fallen from a tall jungle gym at the park and had had the breath knocked out of her. Remembering what her mom had told her at the time. She held her breath for a second then slowly took shallow breaths deeper after each breath tell she was breathing normally again.

Rolling over onto her stomach, her bare breasts pressed down into the chilly, moist sand, Jan planted her face in the sand and rested there. Breathed slowly in and out for a few minutes. She noted that the air was slightly damp; with her hand, she grasped some of the sand and could feel that the sand was somewhat moist and stuck to her palm—the coolness of the air. Plus, the cool sand against her many, many barely healed wounds felt soothing and refreshing. Jen lay there and let the cold air wash over her and relax her aching body.

Partially recovered a few minutes later, she raised her head and opened her eyes. Only then did she realize she couldn't see anything. Jen said to herself out loud, "What! The Fuck!" Jen pushed herself up off the sand; she groped in the darkness. Her elbow hit something; it was hard, solid, cold, and had sharp jaggies all over. Pain shot up and down her arm, and it was apparent that she just scraped her elbow. Grabbing at her arm, she cried out in pain. Leaning up against what was clearly a wall, like everything else here, it was damp. After a moment, Jen started to feel around. Randomly picking a direction, she began to move forward slowly. One hand out in front of her and the other on the wall to her right. The moist sand squished up between her toes as she took each slow step forward. In just a few steps, she found another wall the same as the first.

The passageway could not have been more than eight feet wide, holding on to this wall she focused on, "What to do, God damn it, what to do." Jen mumbled abstractly. Her mind wandered; horrible ideas flashed one after another through her mind, assaulting her senses. Jen put her hands up to her face and held her head. There was sand still on her hands. But for that matter, she had sand all over her at this point. It was sticking to her like wet rice. Leaning her right shoulder on the wall next to her. Then she felt it, a very slight breeze, could it be? Yes! The air is moving. Jen put her right index finger in her mouth to wet her finger, forgetting she had sand all over her. She spat and wiped her lips a few times, then held her wet finger up and out to the middle of the passageway as far as she could without leaving the security of the wall.

And just like that, she confirmed it there is air moving, and it was going forward, the way Jen just happened to be facing. With no real other options to speak of, she began walking, inching her way along the wall in the direction that the air was moving. Walking along while being sure to stay close to the wall, brushing off the sand from her face, arms, breasts, stomach, what little of her back she could reach as well as her shoulders. It seemed like that sand was stuck to her everywhere she had exposed skin and some that she was not sure how it even got in there. Jen cursed and simply said SAND!!!! GRRRR!

Jen went on like this for some time; she had no idea how long she had been walking, but it seemed like a very long time, and her legs were starting to hurt. She was breathing hard by this time as the sand was very loose in spots she would sink up to her calves in sticky sand. Not to mention the odd soccer sized rock planted here and there in the passageway. It had wound this way and that way; had gone up and down. At times the decline of the corridor was so steep she had to slide her way down. And other times, it was so steep that more than once, she had had to stop and take a break then continue to flail in the sand.

She had noticed that the wall and the sand both had become much less moist recently, though. And the sand was not sticking to her feet much anymore, but all the while, it had stayed pitch-black. So black that even holding her had an inch away from her face, she still could not see it.

Sometime later, panting from the exertion, Jen froze in place, holding her breath. She strained to hear. Did she hear something? Yes! A noise was coming from in front of her—lots of noises, lots of different noises. The fear started to creep in from all sides. The walls felt like they were closing in on her. She could not breathe again, gasping for air Jen's knees turned to jello even as her whole being screamed out. "RUN!" Jen steadied herself, closing her eyes and clearing her mind. Taking a couple of deep breaths and listened again. She could not make out what it was, but it was coming from down this passageway, and it was not very far off. I have to keep going, Jen thought. I can't turn back now. I've been walking for ages. Resolved to move on, she started down the passageway again. Much slower now, eyes wide and looking for anything in the inky blackness, even the slightest hint.

Within a matter of moments, she rounded a corner and stopped short, and then took a quick step back. Peaking around the corner, she could see a glow from up ahead; her heart leaped as the blackness had started to get to her. The sounds from down the corridor were louder now, and she slowly moved on. Crouching over, she crept forward bit by bit, trying to be as silent as she could. Inching her way up to the next corner and kneeling just behind where the light was flickering. The shadows danced on the opposite wall like monsters readying to jump out and attack. As Jen pressed her back up against the jagged stone wall, she stared at the shadows, wondering if it was worth the risk. But then, where else was she going to go? Jen looked back the way that she had come. Back down there? She thought. Under her breath, she exclaimed, "Damn, Well, That's Not Happening!".

Inching forward on one knee and pushing with the other, bit by bit rounding the corner, she moved forward till she had a nice view of the chamber around the corner. She just stared, dumbfounded by what she was seeing.

The chamber was enormous, compared to the passageway she had been following for however long she had been in it. The ceiling in the room ahead had to be three stories tall, at least, maybe four. The roof was slightly rounded and was closer to the floor around the edges and higher in the middle. There was a hole probably six-foot-wide in the middle of the chamber ceiling, though it was hard to tell from here. The light streaming in through it was the brightest, whitest light she had ever seen. The light coming in was directed down towards the sandy ground; Illuminating a ten or fifteen-foot-wide circle on the sand below. In the center of the ring of light was a huge bonfire, and around the bonfire, there were figures, humanoid looking as they were standing on two legs. But then again, it was hard to make them out from here. Round and Round, they went around the fire. Bowing and scraping, dancing, jumping and hopping, spinning, bobbing and weaving all in unison as though they were all of one mind. All the while, what could only be described as chanting in hissing bassy voices, it struck Jen as extraordinarily creepy. It had her thinking about going back down into the blackness.

Looking past them off to the right. Jen could see small what looked like mud huts up against the far wall, All the way around the chamber walls. Almost every mud shelter had some form of a small fire in front of it. More figures sat around here and there, interacting with each other.

Thinking for a moment, Jen felt there was no other choice; she could not go back down the way she had come, so forward would have to do, Damn the consequences, she was NOT going back down into that darkness. Jen Slowly stood and stepped out, then took a second step, then the third moving slowly through the doorway. Standing a few steps out past where the passageway ended, Jen thought. "There I did it, and it's Ok! The world did not end."

Jen could hear noises coming from both the odd chanting over by the bond fire. As well as the random sounds coming from across the way by the huts. Then they all stopped slowly. The sounds died out till it was utterly silent—all of them but the sound of the crackling fire. Jens Heart Skipped a beat, and slowly she turned her head to look at the figures that had been dancing and chanting; they all now stood still facing her. They were staring in her direction, fixed, nonmoving, like stone; they stood there and just stared. The hair on the back of Jen's neck stood up as they all in unison started to move slowly in her direction, one step at a time, slowly, methodically, step by step.

A skittering, scratching noise presented itself to her ears at that moment. She could not pinpoint exactly where it was coming from; it almost sounded like it was coming from the row of huts' direction but, no, more up on the wall just to her right. She started to turn in that direction but then was walloped from behind. Her entire upper body was pushed up and forward at an angle into the air. She could feel some type of blades sliding through her from behind as she flew; recovering in mid-air, she landed on her feet. Jen choked, coughed, and a cloud of blood spewed forth; a red mist hung in the air for a few seconds. Jen could not breathe for a moment and noted that from her vantage point, her initial cough had changed the pure white light that was streaming in from the ceiling of the cavern. To almost entirely red, for an instant before the fine mist of blood slowly fell away out of the air. Jen could now breathe again after recovering from the initial shock of being attacked from behind.

The line of creatures was closing in. Jen slowly looked down at her bare chest, seeing nothing she looked lower at her stomach and noted three sharp barbed spikes sticking through her right below her sternum slightly offset to the left. Jen could feel the rage building, and she grinned, blood dripping from her mouth. There was a pink glow forming around the barbed spikes sticking through her. Slowly looking up, her crazed grin widens. A look of horror crosses the faces of the unquestionably non-human faces in front of her. Jen's grin was lit up from inside her mouth as she raised her right fist deliberately slowly and put it in front of her face. She turned on her fist blade. It appeared with a POP and a whir; as her rage grew, her eyes began to glow entirely red. The horror on the faces of these creatures in front of her grew bit by bit. A reddish-orange light started to peak out around the tips of the sharp spikes poking through her stomach. The barbed points one by one dropped to the sand, glowing red hot. As each chunk of metal met the sand, a bit of steam erupted with a hiss. Metal poured from the wounds splattering and splashing into the sand, sending more steam wafting into the air.

The creature behind her lifted the once three-pronged trident up and looked at the remaining stumps still glowing red hot in pure amazement and shock.

Jen twisted around lightning fast, faster than the creature could even blink. Her blade cut a swath through the air, leaving a blurred pink trail behind it as it swung aimed at the creature's neck. Another of these animal things was standing close by, "a female," judging by how her body was proportioned. Dove forward and pushed the ill-fated slow-moving lizard man thing out of the way. Swish, sssunk, plop, with that, the head of the defending female lizard things head hit the ground and rolled past Jen towards the line of creatures coming to rest mere feet away from them. Face up staring at the ceiling, a look of horror plastered across her face. Jen was happy to hear the intake of breath at the sight it had caused; with the numbers they had, she guessed she could get a few. But if they all came on at once, there was no way she would be able to take them all; best to scare them off now. Turning away from the saved creature, Jen faced the wall of angry lizard people. Trying to look as menacing as she could, she was ready to kill any who attacked her. She waited to see who would make the first move.


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