#BlogBattle “Float” – It’s All Fun and Games
Genre: Suspense/Contemporary Drama
A spark of something orange flashed before my eyes, and I flinched back. A sulfur sort of smell burned my nostrils, but I couldn’t see anything after the flash. It was totally dark, and the cold damp of the sandy floor under my bare feet and the slippery stone of the wall to my back were the only solid things in my invisible world.
“Watch it, Helix. You almost lit my eyebrows on fire.” I wanted to say more but held myself in check. No matter how awful the dark was I was to blame for our being in it.
“Sorry, Adenine. I didn’t realize how close to you I was.”
The apology in Helix’s voice was sincere and made me feel worse for snipping at him. He struck another match, and this one stayed lit. We watched the flame float in a strange dance that lasted all of ten seconds before the struggling glow petered out leaving us in a dark that I was sure was darker than the dark had been before.
“I’ve only got one match left. What should we do, Addy?”
“Well, first off, don’t panic.”
“I’m not panicking.”
“Don’t sound so offended. You were practically on the verge of tears a second ago, Helix.”
“Was not,” Helix, my ten-year-old brother, replied in his most pouty five-year-old voice, the one that always grated on my nerves. It got worse the older we got, too.
“Stop acting like a baby, and help me search for the way out of here.”
I knew Helix was crouching just in front of me, so I reached out and felt for his hand. It took me a second, but once I had a hold of him it was like he had me in a death-grip. I can’t say it was good or bad because I might have been holding his hand just as tight.
We scooted along the wall in the direction I was pretty sure we’d come from, but it would be almost impossible for either of us to admit when we didn’t know something. That’s the thing about Helix and me, we compete over everything, which is exactly how we ended up in this dungeon of a cave.
I slid one foot along in front of the other, scooting so as not to accidentally step into a yawning abyss. I watch way too many movies was the thought drifting through my head, a thought much less frightening than the reality of our predicament, and yet it was impossible to know what lay ahead.
“Adenine, what if we’re trapped in here . . . forever?”
Helix’s irritating question hung in the stillness of the air, it floated around us like a cloud of stink and made me want to thunk him a good one, but instead I took a deep breath; I breathed in the truth of it and nodded my head even though he couldn’t see me.
“Don’t worry, Helix. We’ll get out of here. I promise.”
“Don’t promise!” Helix said, his vehemence out of place but spurred by his obvious fear. “You know what Dad says about promising things you can’t guarantee.”
“You sound just like him,” I said with a mixture of annoyance and longing. Dad would know what to do. He would be able to promise and mean it. “I won’t promise, but I will do my very, very, very best. Okay, buddy?”
“I want Mom.”
“Me too,” I mumbled but kept trudging along the wall.
Slowly, imperceptibly the consuming darkness began to change, but it was only when the smell of salty sea air filled my nose that I noticed it. There was a gray quality to the blackness and upon the realization my heart skipped a beat. I wanted to run forward, to drag Helix away from the chilling depths, but I still couldn’t see, I could only feel the changes–smell them like a distant dream.
We moved on in silence, but hope sprung up in my chest as the texture of the wall a foot from my face began to take indistinct shape, and a welcome breeze wafted across my cheeks.
“We’re almost out, Helix,” I said, unable to contain my relief as I tugged on his hand.
Soon we could both make out the contours of the tunnel and the rocks littering the path and we ran, we ran for the pinpoint of light in the distance. Helix laughed and we grinned at each other as we neared the opening. The bright light that seemed to float in a halo of dark grew and grew the farther along the path we ran until it was a gaping maw before us.
But once we reached the entrance we skidded to a halt. Shielding our eyes from the blinding light we looked in all directions. A sinking feeling dragged my stomach down. We hadn’t gone back the way we’d come.
“It’s a long way to the water, Adenine.”
“No duh.” I huffed and sunk my rear end to the hard dirt and sand. I dangled my feet over the cliff edge and watched the lone, puffy cloud float across the azure sky.
Helix gripped the cave wall and leaned out to look up. While he examined the opening of the white chalk cliff face I sat moping over our predicament. We were trapped. At the time the tunnels under the castles had seemed the perfect spot to race my little brother, but after that giddy scream of delight had brought the ceiling down after us I thought we were in real trouble. Now I knew we were in deep, deep trouble.
“Hey, Addy! There’s a rope out here,” Helix said and leaned farther out against the cliff face.
“Helix!” I yelled as I stood and grabbed for his waist. “You’re going to fall, dummy!”
“I’ve almost got it,” he said, his voice straining like his fingers as they tickled at the side of the rope. “al-most . . . got it!”
The next thing I knew he was swinging away from the opening like a monkey on a vine, and all I could think was thank goodness for little brothers!