Here’s Day 1! I did mean to write more, but I didn’t end up :(. Today, that I wrote 1338 words, and am on a total of 1338 words! Here it is. (Tomorrow’s will continue on directly).
Two dull thumps echoed off the dark walls of the cave as Stikky crashed down on the rocky floor, Leddy landing beside him a moment later.
Groaning, Stikky got up and stretched his back, wincing as a jolt of pain ran down his spine. Reaching down, he waited until Leddy had grabbed his outstretched hand—barely visible in the dim light—and yanked his friend up.
Turning, he and Leddy looked up the hole they had fallen down, straining their eyes until they saw the faint rays of sunlight that had made their way between the leaves of their hiding place and down the vertical tunnel.
“Well, there’s no way we’re getting back up there,” Stikky mused, then turned and looked around the cave. “I hope there’s a way out somewhere down here…”
Peering forward into the darkness, Stikky grabbed onto the dim shape of a stalactite that hung from the roof and looked further down the tunnel.
“The quicker we go,” Leddy said optimistically. “The quicker we’ll get out of here!” Pushing past Stikky, he set off down the underground passage at a brisk trot, stopping only to dodge the occasional stalactite that hung in his path.
“Wait for me!” Stikky exclaimed, and hurried after him.
Just as the two drew level, the tunnel began to widen, allowing them to walk side by side. The bottom of the subterranean passage began to drop, and they soon found themselves going downhill.
Leddy grew worried. “Won’t the air down here be getting worse?” he commented, a hint of nervousness leaking out of his thoughts.
“It’ not too bad at the moment, I think,” Stikky replied, avoiding a stalagmite that stood in his path. “But if we don’t start going uphill soonish, or at least stop going down, I think we’ll need to go back.”
They carried on in silence for a while, the darkness almost closing in around them again and again, but each time being chased away by some unknown source.
Leddy was puzzled. “Why is it still light down here?” he pondered, scratching his head. “I would’ve thought it’d be pitch black at this level, why isn’t it?”
Stikky pointed to a group of rocks scattered on the walls and roof, that were glowing a slight yellow. The light was dim, but it was enough.
“I think these rocks are some kind of phosphorus,” he explained, bending down to get a better look at them. “Some types are poisonous though, so we’d better not touch them, just in case they are.”
“Who do you think carved these tunnels?” Leddy asked a little later, after banging his head on a low-hanging piece of rock that hung from the roof.
“I think these were actually made by water,” Stikky said thoughtfully, running his hand along the smooth surface of the cave wall. “See how smooth it is?” he added, indicating with his head. “That’s because of water erosion that’s happened here. In fact, if I’m not mistaken, I think we’ll be coming across an underground lake or something soon; that’ll be where the water is at the moment…”
Just then, as Stikky had predicted, the tunnel widened, the roof sloped upwards, almost vertically, and the two stickmen found themselves in an enormous cave, with stalagmites growing up from the ceiling, stalacmites hanging from the roof, and large stone pillars where two had joined. A large, ominous lake of dark, black water spanned the floor of the cavern, reaching from one side to the other.
“I’m guessing we’re going to have to cross this?” Leddy asked, dipping his foot into the water to test its temperature. He drew it back sharply, a shiver running through him as he did so.
Stikky bent down and dipped a finger in. “Brrrr!” he shivered, drawing back just as his friend had done. “That is freezing!”
“I say,” Leddy almost shouted. “Look, over there!”
Turning, Stikky looked out across the dark lake, and saw, on the other side of the cavern, that there was a light.
“What is it?” Stikky asked, scratching his head as he stared across the dark body of water at the dim speck of light on the other side.
“It’s some kind of light, obviously,” Leddy responded, folding his arms across his chest.
Stikky rolled his eyes. “That’s not what I meant,” he retorted. “It’s pretty clear it’s a light, but what I’m trying to say is what kind of light is it? It’s definitely not phosphorus; it’s far brighter than that, and it’s a pale blue—not yellow—so what is it?”
“So…” Leddy pondered. “If we’re going to try and get across there, how are we going to? We’d need some kind of boat, or at least a log or raft, and I don’t suppose there’d be anything like that around here…”
His voice faltered to a stop as Stikky grinned, then turned and pointed out an old, wooden rowing boat that was resting on the rocky shore.
As the two hurried up to it, Leddy examined the boat. “This thing looks pretty old…” he stated, examining the side of the boat. “Are there any oars?” He asked Stikky, who was looking inside for leaks.
Stikky nodded, and pulled out two long, wooden oars, both equally as old as the boat.
“Well, are we going then?” Leddy asked, grabbing the paddles from Stikky and placing them back in the boat.
Together they pushed the ancient craft into the shallows of the lake and hurriedly jumped in, somehow managing to avoid getting wet.
Grabbing an oar each, they tumbled into position and began paddling away in a steady, practiced rhythm.
They were about halfway across the lake, with virtually no light, when the boat suddenly rocked, sending rippled running in all directions.
Stikky lifted his paddle as they stopped rowing, while giving his friend a puzzling look. Leddy shook his head in return, and peered over the side of the boat into the murky water around them.
More ripples were sent across the lake as the boat rocked again.
“This’d better not be another shark!” Leddy exclaimed, placing his oar in the bottom of the boat. “Because if it is…”
A faint glow of blue, fluorescent light suddenly appeared far down in the dark, ominous depths of the water, faintly lighting up both of their surprised faces.
Without any warning, a large, pale coloured tentacle covered with patches of glowing blue shot out of the water and latched onto the boat, causing it to tip on an angle.
Staring at the tentacle in horror, Stikky whipped out his sword and was about to cut the pulsing arm in two when another tentacle burst out of the water and wrapped around his body, pinning his arm to his side.
Leaping up as Stikky gave a yell, Leddy drew his sword and dispatched the arm, freeing his friend in an instant.
With his arms no longer pinned to his sides, Stikky leaned forward and sliced through the first tentacle, sending more waves in all directions as the ar relaxed and the boat suddenly straightened.
“What was-” Leddy began in alarm, but got no further.
A deep, bellow of pain, more like a vibration than a groan, rent the air around the boat, sending shivers down the spines of the two stickmen.
A moment later, eight more tentacles burst out of the water, two longer than the rest, but all with blue, glowing spots dotted here and there on them.
As Stikky and Leddy prepared to fend off the attacking tentacles, an enormous object broke the surface of the murky water, and the two friends gasped as they looked straight into the eyes of a gigantic squid.
Thrashing the water violently, the enormous sea monster latched onto the boat with its two biggest arms, its tooth-filled suction cups beginning to shred the wood.
Tearing his gaze away from the massive, fluorescent eyes that stared at him unnervingly, Stikky turned to look nervously at the cracks that were beginning to spread throughout the boat.
To be continued – Tomorrow!