A tumultuous roar of thunder rattled the cave. Clatters of debris of the cave were prominent.
“The cave is falling apart!” I shouted.
We sprinted to grab Anne and our bags.
“Leave our bags behind, its too heavy, take what is needed only.” I commanded.
Each of us grabbed a pocket knife, a jar of salt and a packet of dried fruits.
“CLUNK!” A boulder crashed unto the entrance of the cave.
“Shit.” I uttered under my breath while we carried Anne.
“Look!” Mike pointed at the small hole at the corner of the boulder.
My survival instinct kicked in, a surge of strength urged my body to move faster. Rocks were still tumbling down from the cave which was going to collapse in seconds. We managed to slipped through the small hole and got out of the cave. The rain was still pounding the ground, lightning streaked through the sky leaving traces of white creaks.
“There goes our ‘safe haven’…”
“Did you hear that, its like the scratching…” Mike stood petrified on the ground and biting his fingers, “Mickey! What is wrong…”
“Its… Them…” His voice was trembling in fear.
A faint jazzy tune of trumpets crescendo in the forest, silencing the sound of the rain and thunder. I wanted to grab Anne but she disappeared into thin air.
“Where’s Annie?” no response from the Mike who was still shrugged in fear.
“Come. Let’s get our asses out of here.” I jolted him.
The eerie music was augmented with a giddy voice singing in the background.
Stumbling all around, stumbling all around
Stumbling all around, so funny…
I pulled Mike and searched for a way out but we were chasing our own tails. Wherever we headed, we still ended up in front of the cave.
Stumbling here and there, stumbling everywhere
And I must declare…
“The… trees… are singing…” Mike jabbered.
I stepped right on her toes
And when she bumped my nose
Anne was right beneath our feet. We stumbled. The ground was like quicksand, sucking us into the ground. Struggled but it was useless. We succumbed to our fate, this was where our corpse would rot, no trails of our lives left in the forest.
I fell and when I rose…
Our hands were twined with roots and branches, our foot were buried underground, leaving our body and our head exposed.
I felt ashamed…
The voice became disorientated, reverting into an uncanny tune as if the song was being played in reverse. The music completely blurred my thoughts. A distinct and daunting black figure was appearing in front of us. The jitterings of Mike was clearly heard. When the black figure was fully taken form. His blood thirsty gaze locked unto Mike.
“Life… or death…?” the black figure hissed.
“Let. Me. GO!” Mike struggled.
The black figure penetrated straight through his body with great velocity. Mike let out a painful cry. “Just… Let me…” Mike was sobbing.
The black figure repeated what he did just now but with a more vicious speed. “Snap!” the branches were badly damaged.
Mike’s eyes were emitting colours which was synonymous to Anne. Think! John! I commanded myself. My knife and the jar of salt was still intact with me. If I suffer two blows from that black figure I may have a chance to fight him.
“Lemme ask you once more…” His malicious tone was spine chilling, “Life or death…”
The black figure was about to land the coup de grace on Mike, Here’s go nothing. “HEY!” I called out in desperation. Although the black figure did not have any eyes, I felt that he was looking at me. “STOP YOU MOTHE…”
The black figure plunged into my body. All of my organs were burning as if someone has lighted them on fire. Some blood were regurgitated, my vision was blurry.
“Life… or death…?”
“Life…” I coughed.
The black figure instantaneous appeared in front of me, his dark fingers lifted up my chin. Why does this feel so familiar… Two circular and colourful eyes stared into my eyes. It’s her… I need to do something….
“Lemme ask you once more… life or death?”
Its familiar but malevolent gaze was fixated on my eyes which radiated a dying will to live.
“I.Want.” As the black figure was startled by my eyes, I broke free my right hand and unscathed my knife which accidentally scraped my skin, dipped the knife into the jar of salt, hid it behind my back, trying to disguise my hand as if it was not broken free of the branch.
“LIFE!” I was prepared to execute the escape plan which I formulated when the black figure was distracted.
“Swish…” The black figure swiftly skimmed over the ground and penetrated right through my body once more. A sudden surge of strength from my fortitude made me jabbed the black figure from the back. I pushed the black figure away immediately after ‘exorcising’ it.
“Thump.” Mike dropped unto the ground as the branches deformed. The dark clouds started to dissociate, light of victory bathed the forest, the dark substance which shrouded and possessed Anne dissipated into thin air, leaving us a sense of security.
“Johnny!” Anne called me, “What happe…”
I hugged her and tears of joy started to roll down my cheeks, “we… are… alive…”
“You lifted my curse, right?”
“Think so… Just so… I’m glad… all of us survived.”
“Let’s get outta here. Sorry to drag you guys into this shitstorm.”
“Look.” I pointed at the dawning sky, “there is always a better tomorrow, a brighter dawn.” I clenched my hand into a fist, “just grab hold of it, then we will be safe.”
She kissed me on the cheek and whispered into my ear, Thanks, Johnny!