Haven Shorts – Chapter 11 – Episode 16 – A Stranger Magic
Chapter 11 – Episode 16
Sam slipped again, falling back into the water with one arm raised, suspending the candle lantern only inches away from being snuffed out.
Travis stopped and circled back, grabbing Sam by the arm. His foot slipped and he fell back into the freezing water again.
The enormous wave of splashing spiders moved closer, like a school of piranhas advancing on its prey. Bats screamed and shrieked around their heads, colliding with the two boys. Sam and Travis frantically waved them off and scrambled to their feet. Hurriedly, they sloshed through the water, moving as fast as they could. Their feet felt ten pounds heavier wading through the pond. As they drew close to the water’s edge, they grabbed the nearby stalagmites to better balance themselves.
Travis had taken the lantern, and was doing his best to keep the last candle from going out completely.
They moved as quickly as they could back over the rocks and around the stalagmites, but the trekking was slower and more cumbersome this time around. There were bats to deal with now and wet shoes that continued to slip on the rocky terrain. Sam was the first to reach the tunnel they had come through. He looked back at Travis and saw a large black and green mass on the ground behind him, gaining on him. The spiders were only a few feet away from them now.
Their speed was impressive, jumping into the air and squealing as they swarmed over the rocky landscape. They moved as a unit, a combined arachnid force chasing their prey.
Sam ran as fast as his legs could go. Travis was not far behind. Their gangly shadows stretched across the tunnel walls, disappearing and reappearing as the candle lantern bounced in Travis’s hand.
“Come on, Travis, we’re almost there!” Sam yelled.
The first ledge was right in front of them. Sam leaped up onto it as darkness engulfed the tunnel. A loud crash of breaking glass rang out, followed by an ominous thud. Travis had run straight into the wall of the first ledge and had broken the lantern.
“Travis, are you okay?” Sam yelled.
He stood on the ledge and looked back down into the sea of darkness, frantically searching. All Sam could hear were crunching sounds as Travis’s shoes moved back and forth over the glass and gravel.
“Ugh … I’m okay!” Travis yelled as he stood up, reaching for the first ledge.
Sam felt Travis’s hand brush his own, and he quickly moved to the right, giving Travis room to get up. The bats had fallen back now, and were only flying past them every now and again, but the eerie insect sound of the spiders was growing closer.
“Faster, Travis, they’re almost on us!”
Travis’s body was still hanging halfway off the ledge. He swung his knee as high as he could, trying desperately to reach the edge. Sam grabbed the back of Travis’s shirt and pulled him up next to him.
Sam could hear the loud hissing and squealing of the spiders below, and it sent cold chills up his spine. Every hair on his neck was standing at attention; his body quivered in disgust at the thought of a hundred hairy spider legs climbing over his body.
Sam looked up through the round hole of the entrance to the caves, just as the moonlight broke through the silver clouds. It cast a faint silhouette of oak trees on the preceding level. Hundreds of bats burst from the tunnel behind them and flew out of the cave. They scattered into the night, causing the moonlight to flicker.
Both Sam and Travis reached for the top of the entrance, but Travis looked back down. The spiders were quickly scaling over the edge behind them.
Illuminated by the moonlight, Travis could now see the group of spiders making their way forward and gathering around Sam’s feet. In seconds they had swarmed his ankles, and were moving up his legs.
“Sam they’re on you!” Travis cried out.
Sam felt them moving up his calves. The light pads of the spiders’ feet tapped sporadically as they made their way toward his knees. He jumped as high as he could, hurling himself upward toward the entrance of the cave, but he fell short, hitting the edge of the rock with his ribs. He dangled there for a brief moment with his body halfway out of the entrance. The impact had left him breathless, as if all the air in his lungs had been sucked out by a giant vacuum cleaner. A sharp pain was shooting across his rib cage. With nothing to hold on to he slowly began to slide back into the hole. He reached for the tall tufts of weeds in front of him, and grabbed two large fistfuls, and pulled with all his might, slowing his descent. Gasping, he hoisted his right leg over the edge and heaved his body onto the soft ground. He rolled through the grass as fast as he could, sending spiders flying in every direction.
Travis followed close behind him, but he also got stuck halfway out and could not get his leg over the edge of the opening. His hands began to slip; he reached for the surrounding weeds, but they tore from the ground as he grasped them. Spiders were crawling up his legs and up the back of his shirt now. Stuck in the same spot as Sam had been, Travis slipped back into cave entrance.
“Sam! Help me!” he cried out.
Sam shot his hand over the edge and grabbed the back of Travis’s shirt, pulling him upward and sending spiders flying into the air. The two boys both fell back on the ground. Travis’s legs were covered with spiders. He landed on the ground with a loud thud and began to shake himself frantically.
Sam and Travis rolled on the ground for what seemed like forever, until every spider was either gone or smashed to death by the violent thrashing.
Sam and Travis lay on their backs, breathing hard and staring up into the dense canopy of tree branches.
They could smell the familiar mixture of bark and weeds in the moist air around them. The blackbirds nesting above them crowed erratically, and the moonlight that had once seeped through the treetops had vanished behind the clouds. The screeching sound from the spiders and bats had stopped, and nothing seemed to be following them out of the cave entrance.
“You alright?” Sam asked, trying to straighten himself out.
“Yeah, I’m okay. You?” Travis replied between deep gulps of air.
“I’m okay, but let’s get out of here before the rest of them make it up here,” Sam said.
“I’m right with you!”
Sam stood quickly, holding his ribs. His arms and elbows were scraped and cut. Travis didn’t look much better. Both boys were still soaking wet and covered in grass, dirt, spider guts, and bat droppings. Sam helped Travis to his feet and they both turned and ran as fast as they could past the oak trees, tall weeds, and into the open area of the quarry, all the while constantly checking behind them for spiders and bats.
Good news! We are ramping up for BOOK 2 in the Haven Series: Revenge of the Viper. So in celebration and to say thank you for all your support we are giving away Book 1 A Stranger Magic for FREE!
If you already have a copy, get a new one! Each version (PRINT and DIGITAL) have been reformatted. You will love the new look. Also when you buy the PRINT copy of Haven: A Stranger Magic at Amazon.com you still get the DIGITAL copy in a bundle package for FREE.
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Enjoy the journey!
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