A Whole New World – Chapter 4
As we ducked inside The Cave, I felt sharp claws slice across my back. Searing pain, like the claws were dipped in fire. I saw Millie run behind a rock as I fell to the ground, and I turned to surrender myself to this creature that would surely now have me for its dinner……
I opened my eyes, and there, pacing angrily outside the cave, was Marbas. He was the strangest sight I had ever seen. The creature before me appeared to be a lion. But also seemed to shimmer & shift before my eyes. As if it would simply disappear at any second. Also, his eyes. They seemed to burn crimson. In the dim moonlight, the eyes were the only part of him that were totally visible. Totally there. I had never seen anything like it. I crawled farther inside, and called for Millie. She peeked around the rock she had been hiding behind, and when she saw it was safe, came to me. She walked behind me to look at the horrible scratches Marbas had managed to leave just before i was able to duck inside the cave. I had somehow momentarily forgotten all about them. My most pressing question at the moment was how the hell we were still alive. Why he was still out there. So I ask.
The witches cast protection spells on all the caves and dwellings they come across in their travels. So that people like you, or creatures such as myself, may find a safe haven in which to rest during the dark hours. I was hoping this was one of them. That’s enough about that. How do you feel?
Well. “Now that you mention it, my back feels like its on fire. What the hell did that thing do to me? What do you see?” I carefully lifted my shirt so she could investigate.
Huge gashes. 4 of them. They are bleeding. And they seem to be swelling more every second. Your back is red and feverish.
I touched the back of my hand to my forehead, and thought I did feel a little warm. And I was beginning to feel faint. And weaker by the second.
You should rest. We’ll go deeper into the cave, away from him.
She looked toward the cave opening, and the massive, slobbering, shape-shifting creature still pacing there. I pulled my shirt back down carefully, and pulled it tight into a knot in the front. Trying to slow the bleeding, and preserve some of my strength. I made it to my feet, swayed a little, and caught myself.
Are you going to be okay? Can you walk?
“I’m fine. I think. Just a little light-headed. Probably from the fever. Lets go.” We ventured slowly ever deeper into the darkness.
The Cave was damp and cold. There was a musty, coppery smell that was unmistakable. I kept my hand on the moist, cold wall to steady myself as we moved through pure darkness. I moved my feet slowly, carefully, as not to trip over a rock, or any other obstacle hidden in the dark. If I went down at this point, I may not get back up. At least for a while. With every step I felt weaker. After what seemed like hours to my now near delirious mind…
Here. We’ll stop here for the night. You can rest, and hopefully be well enough to travel when the sun is up.
“I am feeling a little woozy” I was actually feeling really light-headed now. Like I might pass out any second. I sat down hard on the cold dirt floor, and Millie came to my side.
You stay right here. I’m going to scout deeper into the cave. Occasionally the witches leave things behind. There may be something to help with your fever. Or your wounds. Something to at least cover them with.
Before I could respond, I heard her go pattering off into darkness. I had to sit with my knees pulled up to my chest, my arms wrapped around my legs, back arched. It was the only way I could even slightly relieve the pain. It was also opening the wounds further. I could tell by the warm, fresh trickle of blood that ran down my lower back. I silently hoped Millie found something. I felt weak. Drained. The pain was intense. I knew I wouldn’t be able to travel. We would no doubt spend another night in this cave. If only I had been one step faster, I think to myself as I drift slowly into a fitful, restless sleep. I dreamed almost immediately. Of waking up in this new, beautiful place.
Of the feeling of being surrounded by love. Of the friendly visitor who had shown me how to open my eyes and see what was around me. Of meeting my sweet Millie. That is where the pleasantries of my dreams ended. The darkness I had awoken to had fallen over me again. Although sounds once again were muffled, I could hear a faint growling. It was difficult to tell how close. I just couldn’t pull it all the way in. In the darkness, just off in the distance, I thought I could see eyes. Red eyes.
Millie? No. Too big. I had no idea where I was, so I tried to remain as still and silent as possible. And focus. Open my mind. As I was told. Nothing happened. I squeezed my eyes shut for a moment, hoping that when I opened them, I would be back on the cold, damp dirt floor of the Cave.
Even that was better than this. I wanted to call out. For Millie. For anyone. I didnt dare. What if something was watching me? Then I remembered. My visitor told me to call on her anytime. Does this count? I hoped so. And I hoped I could reach her. Or someone. Anyone. I closed my eyes. Concentrated hard. She hadn’t told me her name, so only one word came to mind. Sister. So I pushed as hard as I could from within myself. Screamed inside my mind. Within seconds, that feeling of love, safety, security. All around me. And this time, I could see her….