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The Beast of the Cave

When I was young, and adventure routine, With excitement and newness still unforeseen I was eager to spread my wings to the world And seek more adventures as those wings unfurled Within my long travels I happened to meet Two other men, with friendships replete One was named Beckett, the other one Flynn And better friends there never have been. We’d been together, ‘t was our sixth year, And still our adventures made us cohere To every madness – to every rave … Until we decided to enter: The Cave. With our ropes and lanterns and other such gear It was into The Cave we then disappeared. The light from our lanterns speared into the dark We spoke very little - made no remark. We found a small dry spot and then we assessed This was a place we could stop now to rest. I set down my lantern, and took off my hat, When Beckett said: “Hey. Did you just hear that?” I moved not a muscle, and my ears went to strain. All I could hear were cave droplets, like rain. Then … from The Cave’s bowels came a loud din I continued to listen – then heard it again. We looked at each other, but said not a word Confused and startled by what we’d just heard It wasn’t a moan, it wasn’t a gasp But more rather like a guttural rasp Then from The Cave’s deepened black hole Came again sounds from a source with no soul The sound was menacing, and one I despise, I watched the fear grow within my friends’ eyes. Instinctively then, we three moved as one In that instant – our re-ascent had begun I had been last in the line coming down But first in line in this turnaround. The lamp on my hat pierced through the black And I looked for our markers to lead us back To save our strength, nothing was said Again - that loud sound which filled me with dread. Somewhere behind me, then snarls I heard Loud and vicious, run together and blurred Close … so close … the Beast was so near Adrenalin rushed through me to react to my fear ‘T was then I was hit by an overpowering stench My stomach turned and my bowels went to clench The odor blew past me, and I knew t’was the breath Of the Beast of The Cave – its’ stench of Death. I was near running, but down on all fours Sweat was streaming from all of my pores. Then I heard those terrible screams The ones I keep hearing in all of my dreams It was Beckett I knew in his shocked agony Midst the snarled snapping of jaws I can’t see I heard bones cracking and squishing of flesh And my fear within gave new strength afresh My fingers were raw from grabbing the rock But on moving forward my mind had its’ lock My stomach still queasy from the stench of the beast I knew it was finishing its’ beastly feast I screamed: “Flynn! Catch up to me!” But took not the time to look back and see For the beasts’ crashing against The Cave’s face Told me it neared – and was upping its’ pace In less than an instant, Flynn was there too, His face in my hat-light was of a strange hue And as he helped me get back to my feet … Flynn turned around – t’was the Beast there to meet. The stench overwhelming, but the sight was much worse There standing before us: The beastly curse Of layered scales in shades of dark gray The rest of its body concealed in umbrae But its’ eyes … its’ eyes … I’ll never forget Rheumatoid yellow, and deeply inset Its’ reptilian lids blinked just one time ‘Fore its’ lips peeled back - revealing the slime, Glistening yellow over dagger-like teeth Then oozed from its’ mouth to fall there beneath. The beast reared up, we then saw its’ claws Sharp and deadly within its forepaws Towering above us, no sound the beast made On beams of our lights had his gaze stayed. Unexpectedly Flynn then turned to face me … With less blinding light, the beast could again see Why Flynn had turned I never will know For the beast bit him in two, at his torso And I was looking at Flynn – direct in his face When the beasts’ bite his life did erase. I screamed, and instantly away did I run Away from the beast, and dead companion Through the price of Flynn’s life, more time had been bought To reach The Cave’s entrance – the goal which I sought I heard its’ clawed talons scraping the wall And prayed I’d not again stumble and fall Then, up ahead, a small opening I viewed And I saw my chance, to hope there exude Twelve feet … six feet … then it was three But the beast and its’ stench was there behind me I dove through the rock-opening, scraping my head But better that injury than ending up dead I was elated, and about to rejoice I then heard a scream – it was my own voice! In my leg erupted intense blinding pain Looking down I saw the bloodstain My leg, through the opening, still was stuck out There was but split-seconds,’fore I’d lose it no doubt I pulled my leg back, and in but a flash My shoe was removed by a clawed talon slash I crawled back from the opening, then I could see My wound was deep, from ankle to knee Then suddenly through the opening came A clawed talon whose aim was to maim I quickly withdrew out of its’ reach As claws shot through the openings’ breech The opening too small for continued rampage And the beast began then to voice its’ outrage Its deafening roars assaulted my ears Echoed Cave chambers and to my mind did adhere I began attending unto my grave wound Knowing I now was no longer marooned. Another two hours ‘fore I crawled out The Cave And many more days ‘fore I’d shed the shockwave Of what had transpired, and what I had seen But my damaged leg was lost to gangrene. Now sleep evades me, for my horrible dreams Show beams of light, and unearthly screams Of Beckett and Flynn and The Cave we were in I know tonight, I’ll re-live it again. So, now you’ve the story, you’ve heard the deed I swear is the truth I’ve herein decreed And Beckett and Flynn are enslaved in their grave And I lost my leg to … The Beast of The Cave.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2014

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