The Legend of CAVEBOY- and the Rules of the Rhyme - Chap 6
CAVEBOY isn’t going to stop. He won’t stop. He’s going to keep messing with us and picking us off one by one until we’re all dead. We have to get out.
Sprinting single file over the rocky, overhanging bridge, I shoot a glance down and regret it immediately. My stomach lurches as I realize just how high up we are… the salt water below is dark and violent, rushing and roaring mercilessly far beneath.
But if the water got in here, then that means there’s a way out.
Five enters the tunnel at the far side and stumbles to an immediate stop, swearing angrily. He turns back to us. “It’s blocked! The way is fucking blocked!”
I push past him, staring at the tumbled rocks that block our way, and I don’t even hesitate. I lurch forwards and grab onto one of the rocks, grasping, pulling it towards me with all my might, heaving it from its spot and towards the stony ground.
Small stones that make up the wall are dislodged and tumble down along with it, but the sound the larger makes as rock collides with rock is cringingly loud.
I turn to look behind me as Four and Five start to madly scrabble at the fallen stones, pushing and pulling them out of the way as best they can.
CAVEBOY is hunched over Six’s body.
But he turns too.
And we make eye contact.
Fuck you, you horrible creature. Go to hell.
“Keep digging” I say to the others, in a voice as cold as the surrounding stone.
I walk away from the tunnel, and step forwards onto the bridge.
My girlfriend shouts after me. “What are you doing!? Come back!”
“Just MOVE THE ROCKS AND GET THE FUCK OUT”, I shout back, clenching my fists and standing my ground, holding my flashlight tight and ready to use it as a weapon as CAVEBOY half-walks, half-crawls to the edge, stepping tentatively onto the bridge.
He comes another step closer.
And he stops.
He looks me in the eye. He looks at me with those deep, dark, shadowed pits, and he groans, reaching out a hand towards me, glowing blue mushrooms spiralling out from the narrow cracks in the bridge beneath to feed into the skin of his hand and arm.
Unblinkingly I slowly shake my head, staring him down. I can hear my girlfriend screaming from behind me. I hear the scrabbling and thudding of rock being broken away from the blockage.
“What do you want, caveboy?” I mutter to the abomination through clenched teeth, sweating, shaking with tension.
He stops. Stock still like earlier, like a statue, until his neck cracks horribly to the right. I jump in alarm, but still, I hold my ground.
CAVEBOY’s jaw grinds, and he retches, he makes a terrible choking sound, and then a quieter one.
Like a whimper.
And then, he speaks.
“…LEGEND”, he croaks.
My eyes widen and a renewed burst of adrenaline flows like river rapids through my body. I do not reply. I just stare at CAVEBOY, staring in horror and confusion.
‘Legend?’ Is he… What is he saying? What does he mean?
I watch as CAVEBOY takes a step back. He reaches down and from the edge of the drop, grabs a clump of the glowing blue mushrooms. He looks up again, retakes that step forward, and he reaches out. He holds his hand out towards me, palm up, showing me the collected fungus.
…Offering them to me, maybe?
I’m light-headed. I have to keep my focus to avoid stumbling, even where I stand, stumbling and risking a fall to the rushing water below.
“We have to leave this place, caveboy”. I whisper. It’s all I can manage. “You have to let us go. We don’t belong down here in the dark”.
He places the mushrooms by my feet, and his eyes flash bright blue.
And he lurches forwards.
I scream out to the others, tell them to GO, and I raise the flashlight high, ready to smack it against CAVEBOY’s jaw, but I am too slow, far, far too slow. Caught off guard he charges me, but he does not strike. He pushes past me and the bridge is narrow, there is nowhere to go.
I stumble, and I slip over the edge.
The flashlight tumbles from my grip as I spin, and I manage to grab hold of the rock of the bridge’s edge, bringing myself to a sudden and jolting stop, hanging. I grunt in pain, dangling from the side of the bridge with my feet kicking in air, as the flashlight falls to become lost in the churning water below.
I struggle, swearing with effort as I try to clamber back onto the bridge, but it’s taking all my effort to simply hang in place.
CAVEBOY staggers towards the others, and they’re so close. They’re so close to breaking through the rock, I can see it.
But they’re too late.
Both of them push back, punching and shouting, throwing rocks, but they cannot stop him. CAVEBOY grabs a hold of my girlfriend’s hair, and turns, dragging her back across the bridge.
“No”, I grunt from my position, straining as I try with all my might to clamber back up onto the rock, “NO!”
She’s panicking now, on her back as she’s dragged past me across the bridge to my right, back over to the other side, she makes eye contact with me as she struggles and screams.
CAVEBOY slams her up against the wall and grabs hold of her neck.
“JAMES!” She screams at me.
“FUCK, BRI-” I begin, shouting back at her, but a hand forcefully covers my mouth and stifles my words. It’s Five, I feel him grab my collar, my arm; he grits his teeth as he hauls me back up onto the bridge and back onto the rock.
And CAVEBOY snaps my girlfriend’s neck.
Brianna. Her name is Brianna. And he hunches over her, and starts to tear her apart.
I can’t even comprehend what I’m seeing. It feels like I’m in a dream. A nightmare. But I’m vaguely aware of Five dragging me. Of pushing through the last of the rock blockage, of pulling me through tunnel after tunnel, closer and closer to the source of the rushing water, the sound getting louder, the walls getting damper, the fungus thinning and disappearing, and the smell of the salt getting stronger.
And we stumble at last into a smallish cave. There are no more tunnels here. Just a narrow shelf of rock, and below us, water. Not flowing, just rippling.
The sound of the sea is loud.
And Five sits us down, and he tells me his plan. I’m not really listening. He tells me we’re going to wait, so that’s what I do.
What we both do.
We wait. For several long hours we wait. Tensed. Not quite in silence, but close enough.
I cry, for a while; the sobs wracking my aching body.
And the water below us recedes. Slowly, but surely, it goes down.
Wet, rock platforms become visible.
The water recedes further.
And a passageway appears below.
Five jumps down into it, and I follow, the water coming up to our knees. We crouch and follow the passageway through. It’s not particularly deep or long. Ten feet or so.
And it leads us out and up into a larger cave.
A cave with natural light.
A cave that opens up to the sea, the receding tide, and the pale gray glow of the morning sky.
Matt puts his hand on my shoulder.
That’s Five’s name; Matt.
And we wade through the icy water. Over the rock. Then over the gray pebbles and the sand. Up we climb, slowly but surely up the side of the cliff, following rugged pathways where we can.
We make it back up onto the land. And we go the fuck home.
They never found the bodies. Or CAVEBOY.
A whole operation was launched. I’m sure you can picture it. Police tape. Cars, cameras, search parties, floodlights and forensic scientists.
We told them everything. The whole damned story. They held us for a while. Interviewed us, again and again and again. But we could give them nothing, not really. So eventually they just had to let us go.
They never found half the stuff that Matt and I told them about. They never found the drawings on the wall, the secret stairs or the broken skeleton. I think they found the rules though, carved into the rock as they were:
‘No names, No laughter, No silver or gold,
No coming back after, No tales untold’.
…And they found the mushrooms too. The glowing blue fungus. Took some samples. Quite dangerous things, apparently. The spores alone, they say, can induce nasty hallucinations.
Especially in cramped and enclosed spaces.
They wanted us to go back down with them. To show them where to go, which passages to take.
I told them to go to hell.
I think now they’re planning to just block the Hole off for good.
First thing I did when I got back that first morning, I unplugged Brianna’s phone, still on charge in my room. And I searched through it. Can’t say what brought on the urge, but the urge was there. I was still in a daze really, I think, but I searched the fuck out of it, and you know what I found? A long, long series of interesting messages. Very interesting messages indeed.
Turns out Brianna was cheating on me with number Two. Caleb, being his real name.
She had been for some time. The evidence could not have been clearer.
“No tales untold…”
…You think you know a person.
As for Two himself, he disappeared just like Colin McCreed. Vanished off the face of the planet. Fucked off to someplace else, I should think.
Because if I ever see him again, I’m going to kill him.
…It was me that Brianna called out for, though. At the end. She called out for me, not for him.
I don’t know. Feels like that means something, I guess.
I don’t really know how to feel.
Five and I haven’t spoken much since. Or, Matt and I, I should say; but I know the guy’s in therapy now. I’ll probably be following him in there soon enough.
I keep replaying that night by the Hole over and over again in my head. The seven of us, all stood there around it in the wind and rain, buzzing with nervous energy, with anxious but excited anticipation.
One was a stupid cunt. Jeremy. Selfish too. I never should have allowed myself to get wrapped up in his bullshit.
But I can’t place the blame entirely on him.
‘We’ll be the legends’, he had said. ‘The new legends’.
And what can I say. The stories have already spread, faster and further than those of Colin McCreed ever did, I should think.
Jeremy was right. He was absolutely right. We’re the legends now.