Dark Hunger

Prompt Day #186: Write from the point-of-view of starving woman

 

Dark Hunger

 

It was such a stupid, rookie move. The classic trap design and she climbed right into it. The battery on her flashlight was getting dim and she could only make out the aperture she’d wriggled through because its opening was just a shade blacker than the surrounding walls.

Lexi had been spelunking since she was a teen. Her father taught her everything she knew. Wouldn’t he be disappointed to find out that she’d pushed herself through a tapered entrance that she couldn’t manage to get back through because there were no walls around it to funnel her as there’d been on the way in? Every bit of her was bruised and sore. She tried at least once a day in the beginning but now there was nothing else to do but try to squeeze through.

Time stood still here, so she could only guess at how long she’d been down here. She’d broke her watch early on trying to get back. She took stock of everything she knew so far. She knew she was in a large cavern with several small crevices where water flowed into the small pool in the center. She knew the pool contained a couple small white fish and once she saw a small eyeless newt. She knew she’d eaten the last of her protein bars probably a few days ago. The water in the pool was fresh but gave her terrible diarrhea. She drank it anyways, she had no choice.

Now, Lexi knew she had two goals. First and most importantly, she needed to figure a way out but until then, she had to find a source of food. Without a light source, catching a fish was out of the question. She could only hope one might swim into her palms as she dipped for water.

There were long slimy ropes hanging from the ceiling, they had those bioluminescent organisms in them. She had no idea what they were, but there weren’t many, not enough to light anything up so, while they were a pretty distraction at first, they no longer held any interest for her.

A sharp pain twisted in her guts. She imagined them all shriveled and dried like empty sausage casings. She visualized food squeezing out of her stomach and into the intestines which began to plump back up. She thought she could trick her brain into believing she’d just eaten but those thoughts only made the pains worse. Lexi doubled over. She never liked those survivor shows because she told herself she would never be so desperate that she would eat a grub or worse, a spider. But now she imagined they probably tasted like shrimp and if there was a log full of chubby larvae, she’d be sucking them down one after another.

The twinkling ropes seemed to be moving, was there something alive in them? She wondered if she broke off a stalactite, could she sweep them down off the ceiling. Her strength was gone. She tried to break it with both hands and then she kicked it. Nothing. She sat down and cried. Her face felt boney beneath her palms. She was so thin. Maybe she could fit through the hole now.

She started with both arms up and through like putting on a shirt. She was working her head and shoulders in next when something cool and wet slithered over her right hand. She jumped, pulling her hand back instinctively. Then, quickly, reaching, fumbling after it, then it was there in her hand. She didn’t even think, she put it in her mouth and swallowed.

It came back up but slowly. There was nothing in her stomach to help force it out. No water pressure, just muscles squeezing, working it back up and out. The worst part was that it wasn’t dead. It was clawing at the sides of her throat frantically. She spat it out and stomped on it immediately. Falling to her knees, she picked up the flattened shreds and swallowed them down again. This time, they stayed there.

The problem was now she was ravenous. Almost mad with hunger. She wanted to run at the walls and claw them. She wanted to throw herself into the pool and suck it all down until every fish in there is in her belly. And if any of that was impossible, then she would impale herself on the stalactites and be done.

Something brushed by her hair just then. She heard the flap of wings. A bat. There was a bat in here. She followed the sound around the cavern and then the small twinkle lights went crazy. The bat was caught in the glowing slime! She had to get a piece of rock so she could knock it down. That would be enough protein to hold her over. It wouldn’t be much longer before she would be thin enough to slither through the hole.

She couldn’t break the rock, it was impossible. But maybe if she climbed on top of one, she just might reach that bat. It was still struggling. She could smell its adrenaline and it smelled like chicken wings. She climbed, slipping, sliding, wrenching an ankle and then finally gaining footing. She balanced on the peak of the formation and reached over to the squirming mammal still tangled in the bioluminescent slime chains. Lexi teetered and began to fall when she felt cold slimy spaghetti thin tentacles wrap around her hand. Her feet slid off the rock and she was dangling by her hand.

The noodle knot tightened around her hand and she felt herself being pulled upward towards the ceiling of the cavern. A crevice appeared and opened wide. The monstrosity pulled the prey into its mouth with the oral appendage lit brightly to attract a multitude of small cave creatures. The ancient evil ate so infrequently that even a creature of nothing but bone and sinew was worth the wait.

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