The Cavern – Part 12

Trembling I realised I was once again panting, and stood to break the seal on our little bubble. The water was down to just over half way but it was still a mighty river thundering past. Cracking the seals was nerve racking, they structures were still untested and no one had been really sure if they were supposed to be reusable – the hiss of air was welcome but again with it came the bubbling of water, just a tiny amount but there was already a puddle on the floor and again I began to fear that the pressure of the water would push the structure back on us, crushing all before the water swept us away.

I bit my lip in concentration, something I had not done for years, the tang of blood made everything seem sharper for a moment as my body reacted to pain and what it supposed to be a threat. I waited until my nerves seemed to ping and then I resealed it. I was thirsty – this was a new issue, I looked at those sedated on the floor and tried to calculate how long we had been in our feted little existence. I strode over to the supplies to see what we actually had, most of us had bought a canteen of water or a thermos of stim, we had not been on an expedition so there was no extra water.

I jingled my own flask and frowned, it seemed ridiculous or somehow poetic that here we were trapped by water and it was dehydration that now set to kill us. I sipped at my tepid water, my throat was starting to hurt with swollowing. I gazed out into the dark murk of liquid and wondered if there were still tanks of fresh water out there or if the deluge had smashed them, I thought on food and hygein matters and how we were now to get out of the cavern. What state was the equipment in? Lastly I began to assess the weapons we had at our disposal – we didn’t was my conclusion, what we did have were tools.

I gestered the medic over, ‘we need to let them wake up but only a few at a time.’ She nodded, there were 15 of us, the work parties had been far larger than needed as mainly they had been for show. Food was another thing in short supply. I needed the effect of the sedative to have worn off before we ventured out into the realm of the undead. I hoped it wouldn’t be too bad – surely most of the corspses would have been smashed to pieces? Or alternatively washed very far away.

There were scant rations but I did not feel hungry at all. We sorted the tools, spades, pix axes, hammers and chisels. I had brought spare handles for the spades and we even had brooms so when the first of the team began to awaken we gave them a little fluids each and pain meds and as they began to take in once more what had happened, I set them too making weapons.

It was a while before one woman Meglak asked why we were making weapons, the oddness of the activity having penetrated her shock, ‘are we going to follow the water out of the cavern and kill the Nesu?’ she asked bittily.

‘Don’t be daft,’ snapped one of the others, ‘any survivors out there will be after the same supplies as us! That’s why we are making weapons.’

‘No! We should be teaming up with others not planning to kill them,’ a small male with permanently pale purples replied pushing his own workings away as if they suddenly disgusted him. I noticed his eyes had not stopped streaming, though I was not sure if it was sedative fatigue or grief.

‘Some people will have gone crazy and will be trying to kill people,’ said a husky youngling. There was a murmur of disbelief but people were not looking at each other.

I took another sip of my nearly depleted water.

‘It’s worse than that,’ I said gently and perhaps too quietly.

They all looked up at me and I could see the fear tremor in their eyes, childhood nightmares die hard, and now I knew they were real and they were indeed hard to kill and now I had to tell this desperate, scare little band of people that the fairy tales were true – at least the bad ones!

‘You know the rite?’ they nodded. ‘It is to stop the Undead from emerging..’ I faltered, what else could I say really, the Medic looked ashen, I think she disapproved of me telling them but it wasn’t exactly something we could keep secret anymore was it?

‘By the Everliving!’ cursed at least one of them. ‘No! NO nononononono,’ the pale man said backing away from me as if I was the source of the plague. ‘Not so, not so.’

‘I’m afraid it is,’ I said sternly as if they were all silly children, I hated the way it made me sound like my mother, not because I didn’t want to sound like her anymore but because it sent a pulse of pain through me at the realisation that I would never hear her again, I found the prospect of survivors laughable. I couldn’t cling to that hope.

‘Euthanas me!’ screamed the man who had worried so about his kids, I stared blankly at him, but then he was suddenly on his feet and pinning the medic against the wall. ‘Euthenas me!’ he screamed at her. She looked at me with panic and I was for a moment paralised, I couldn’t take his pain and at the same time could see he was dangerous.

My lecturer was there in an instant by his side, ‘you wish to join your family?’ he whispered. The man nodded and loosened his grip on the medic. ‘But they are out there, we need to find them and perform the rite, then… then you can go with them.’

The man slumped and began to sob. I looked away, knowing that soon I would have to break the seal again, a body that was not limp struggled by fighting the thigh high currents and loosing it’s battle. I shivered.

Posted: Friday, January 10th, 2014 @ 10:30 am
Categories: Series, The Cavern.
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