When I was but a wee babe online, I stumbled upon the infamous Ted’s Caving Page (which I would not recommend visiting without an ad blocker). It was one of the first pieces of web-based horror fiction I’d ever encountered, and at the time I wasn’t entirely sure that it was fiction. I didn’t know how to verify things, what terms to search to ease the part of me that was turning this single experience into a deep-seated fear.
I’ve never been in a cave. I probably won’t ever go into a cave, because the moment I step through its mouth (and that we call it a mouth is telling—like we’re stepping into the jaws of some creature to be willingly swallowed) is the moment I start panicking and have to leave immediately. But I find them fascinating anyway; maybe more so, because I really don’t know what’s hiding inside.
Anyway, here’s a drabble.
(a.) from Latin lucent—”shining”
Glowing, giving off light.
There’s a quiet that only exists deep below the earth. Above, there’s sounds of life; birds, humans, the wind rustling through leaves. Below, you may hear the occasional burp of the earth releasing gas, the dusty scrabbling of a rock finally losing its battle with gravity.
That is, until the cavern opens up in front of her, a yawning maw that should be dark, but glows with an eerie green light. She flicks off her headlamp, a gasp escaping from her parted lips. Hundreds of bioluminescent fungi crowd the cavern, and she feels them turn toward her, chastising the outburst.