the cave

She trembled, “Maybe we should turn around?”

His headlamp cleaved a path of light out of the darkness as he turned to face her.  “Don’t be ridiculous, there’s nothing down here to be frightened of.”

They found the cave on the third day of their summer backpacking adventure.  After setting up camp for the night they explored the rocky expanse of cliff that jutted out of the nearby lake.  They liked to take pictures of their campsites from different vantage points, they liked to see things that very few people ever get to see.  Sure, plenty of other backpackers would camp where they camped, but would they go ranging away from the carved trails too?  Would they stand at that exact rock and take in the expanse of the lake and the valley beyond?

Some might, but far fewer.  They relished those moments standing where few have stood before and few would ever stand again.  Of everything else they did on the summer trips it was those sights they remembered most vividly.

When he saw the cave entrance it was another opportunity to do something that the vast majority of people would never do and he squeezed through the opening without hesitation.  She followed closed behind because it was exciting and because she didn’t want to get left behind.

The further into the mountain they went, though, the more nervous she became.  The rocks at their feet were slick with moisture and a fall could be deadly among the jagged edges and close quarters.  When the smell of decay reached her nose she stopped her forward progress and asked him to stop as well.  She pleaded with him to turn around, but he was too caught up in the moment.

His head lamp swiveled back to split the darkness ahead of them.  The walls seemed to collapse in on her.  She couldn’t breath.  She couldn’t move.  His light bounced up and down with his forward progress and it grew dimmer as the distance between them increased.

Two things happened simultaneously, she heard a sloshing noise that didn’t match up to his movements and the light quickly swung to one side.  She saw movement in that light and she fled before she could even put a word to what she had seen.  She didn’t need to know color, size, shape, species…  Something was alive with them in the cave.  Her body found flight and she scrambled through the darkness to find the exit.

As she broke free of the cave, into the warm afternoon glow of the high Sierra, she heard him scream, and voice inside her said, “You were right to trust your fear.”


Word Count: 444

Written in response to this week’s Inspiration Monday writing challenge:


The Rules

There are none. Read the prompts, get inspired, write something. No word count minimum or maximum. You don’t have to include the exact prompt in your piece, and you can interpret the prompt(s) any way you like.


No really; I need rules!

Okay; write 200-500 words on the prompt of your choice. You may either use the prompt as the title of your piece or work it into the body of your piece. You must complete it before 6 pm CST on the Monday following this post.

The Prompts:


12 thoughts on “the cave

  1. this piece would be much stronger, more terrifying if you cut out that section about how they found the cave and how they liked being in different spots than anyone else. It pulled me out of the story a bit. Focus on the cave itself and ramp up the fear 🙂

    • Thanks for the feedback!
      The problem with my writing style is that I usually just let the words shape where the story goes. So, I can start with one idea and end someplace else entirely. This wouldn’t be a problem if I would then go back and edit the beginning… but, I’m no good at editing my own writing.

  2. “Nothing down here to be frightened of”??? Even without mysterious man-eating creatures, there’d be plenty to be afraid of! Caves are super easy to get lost in!

    Nice and scary one. : ) Feels like the beginning of an episode of Doctor Who or something.

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