Worse Than Ghosts and Demons
I hate the cave. I hate the day Hayden and I decided to explore the fucking shithole, and because we went there, I am fearing for my life.
Two nights ago, Hayden called me over to his house. Coincidentally, our parents were out of town and would not be back until the following morning; evidently, they had decided we were mature enough to be left on our own.
I, being the normal-ass teenager I am, decided to go to his house and play with him on his Xbox until about eleven. “Hey dude,” I piped up. “Playing this shit for like 3 hours already is kinda getting repetitive.” He stared at me dumbfounded. “What, dude, you wanna play Roblox?” We laughed until I made our fatal mistake.
Hungering for an old-fashioned adventure, I said, “Let’s go back to the cave we used to explore when we were kids.” My friend thought about it and shuddered. “Dunno man, wasn’t there some sort of fallout in that cave like 3 years ago?” I remembered indeed.
The local news had told all about it. I still remember the anchorman at the scene on the morning news stating that it had become a hazardous area and no children were to play in or near it henceforth. In a few weeks, that cave was all but forgotten.
Hayden shrugged. “Fuck it dude, this one time.” We set to work with contained excitement, loading our backpack with batteries, two flashlights, and Hayden’s machete. Then, when we felt we were ready, we set off into the night.
We walked almost to the edge of our community. There, the dense but familiar foliage stood, beckoning to us as the wind blew it back and forth. “You ready?” I turned to him. He nodded without looking at me, and I could tell he was a bit apprehensive. We brushed past the greenery and jumped the imposing metal fence with ease; we had been athletic since we were in diapers.
We approached the cave with an uneasy silence, the buzzing of crickets causing the only noise in the vicinity. After walking a bit more, we saw the entrance of the cave; it had numerous boulders blocking the way. At once, we knew these obstacles were no match for us, and we lithely slipped past them. I turned on my flashlight and shone it ahead of us. “Hayden, you see this?” I remarked. There was a path. A path that led into the darker recesses of the cave. Now, since there was a fallout, I was astounded to see open space, but that was not what intrigued me. The path looked unnatural, as if it was made by human hands.
I instantly knew we were in deep shit, but regardless, we continued. We were careful not to make any sound, and when we got farther into the cave, a faint light could be seen. After we traced it to its source, we found a lantern embedded in the wall. Looking ahead, we saw more. Our curiosity got the best of us, and, well, we journeyed on.
I scanned the ground with my light while Hayden looked ahead. Suddenly, something grabbed my shoulder and gave me a heart attack. Frantically looking around, I saw it was Hayden. He was mumbling something wide-eyed and sweaty. I looked at ahead and saw an opened gate leading into a metal room. I tried to get a better look, but I could not see anyone in the room.
This was where I lost my shit. I told Hayden this was the line, but no, he wanted to get this on camera. I reluctantly joined him as we strolled through the room. There were some vats with a dark green pungent liquid floating inside them. Over us, there seemed to be glass containers or different stone objects. Ok, I thought. How interesting. We quietly explored the place while Hayden recorded everything with his phone. Soon, we reached the end of the room, where an ominous stairwell stood reaching downwards.
We descended the stairs, as I looked behind us every few seconds to make sure we were no one was watching us. When we stepped to the lower floor, it looked like a laboratory. There very more vats of the mystery liquid and peculiar stone tools. To the left and right of us, there were several books that looked so old and leathery I almost thought they were bound in human skin. We decided to not touch them.
Ahead, I could see a balcony made of glass. As we neared it, a medley of voices came from underneath the balcony. Soon, we were crouched looking through the glass and trying to see the source of the voices. They got clearer and more discernible, but it seemed like they were in a strange language, one I had never heard before.
Below us, there was an altar, and upon it, there was the statue of a creature that looked like the boogeyman. It looked like a demon, a ghost. I couldn’t really put my finger on what the thing exactly was, but in front of it, there was a weird sigil drawn in the ground with the murky liquid. To the right, a rumble sounded, causing dust to settle. We ducked down and slowly looked at the commotion. Men and women in lab coats were carrying the strange stone tools as well as an opaque metal cage that seemed to move on its own.
They situated themselves on the area and began sorting the tools. At once, a group of armed men came through the same gate. By the look, I assumed it to be the military. They stood near the back of the room and pointed their weapons at the altar. By now, the scientists were almost done with the tools, and one of them opened the metal cage before grabbing whatever was inside. They brought out a timid-looking man who frantically looked around him.
“Help!” he cried. “Fuck’n help me!” The people around him stood emotionless. “But Garrett, it was part of your contract,” one of the scientists said. Before Garrett could say another word, the whole team started stabbing him with the stone tools. As they did, blood pooled on the floor; some puddled on the sigil. The open cruelty and acceptance of these people was simply appalling. To see that a fellow human could do this made me want to retch.
As they did this, the statue began to glow. Its whole form glowed until it illuminated the entire cave. Wait¸ I thought. This isn’t natural! Hayden and I stood mesmerized by the ghastly sight. I snapped out of it and told him to keep recording. He started recording as the statue dissolved into ash, and in its place stood a humanoid form. It had the form of a human, but it was around seven feet tall. It was completely black, for lack of a better word. All the light seemed to dissipate around this thing.
As we held our breath, one of the men in the lab coat called out, “We have made you a sacrifice! Do as you promised!” The thing stood in its position and though it had no mouth, it responded in a voice that was heard throughout the cave, you are right. I shall give what you requested. The creature disappeared within thin air.
“HEY!” One of the soldiers cried. “TWO KIDS UP THERE!” Fuck. Fuckity fucking shit. They had found us! We ran for it. All below us, the men scrambled to get a shot at us, but we were out of the room. We ran back the way we came, and we saw the rocky terrain of the cave again. An alarm sounded, and the gate began to close. “RUN!” I yelled to Hayden.
We made a beeline for the entrance of the cave and slipped through just as it rumbled shut. We did not say a word to each other for the rest of the night. We just went to our houses and stayed there for the rest of the night. To say I was relieved my parents would be coming back home soon would have been an understatement.
The sound of quiet chatter woke me up from my slumber. The sounds seemed to come from downstairs. I shook off the blankets and slowly tiptoed to the edge of my bedroom, trying to make out words and phrases. Then, I opened the door a crack and crawled to the railing. An unfamiliar man in a jacket was talking to my parents, and they both looked worried.
I strained to hear the words, but to no avail did I manage to piece together the conversation, though I heard safety and mysterious a few times. I silently crept back into my room and looked at the clock; it read 6:03 AM. At 7:00 sharp, I casually woke up and headed for my morning routine of eating breakfast and glancing at the news on my phone.
As I was about to say “Good morning” to my parents, I noticed their solemn stares. Immediately, I knew something about that night had made its way here. “Hayden was killed last night, son. Shot in the head while he was sleeping.” My father stared at me with a faltering voice. “They don’t know who did it, but they are investigating,” my mother continued. “Also, whoever it was took his phone.”
I wanted to vomit. The realization hit me like… I ran out of emotion. I knew what had happened to him. That was all I needed to know. The night in the cave, the military troops and scientists stationed at the center of the ritual had spotted him and most likely deduced he would be a squealer, and they sent one of their own to eliminate him. To wipe him from the face of the earth and with it his recorded proof. They probably did all this to make sure their secret stayed a secret.
So here I am right now, typing this up to warn you guys. I know that whomever came for Hayden will be coming for me. I’ve accepted it. Don’t mess with shit you aren’t supposed to mess with. It’s only a matter of time until they arrive. Maybe today night or tomorrow night if I’m lucky, I will be found with a bullet hole in my head the next morning, with no leads on who did it. Because remember folks, sometimes, there are worse monsters than ghosts and demons, and they walk among us.