(Page 1 of 3)
The inside of the shack held just enough room for them to stand uncomfortably shoulder-to-shoulder. A single small lantern burned away most of the shadows exposing a shed housing different tools and needed knickknacks for automobile repair and salvage. His mother bent over and heaved a chain (not much unlike the chain that held the entrance to Reds Junkyard closed) to the side revealing a small trap door on the dust and grime covered floor. She flipped the door open and Jeremy recoiled as an appalling odor spewed from the hole accompanied by a score of fat black flies. They buzzed briefly around the inside of the shack before retreating to the fresh fleshy mound to bury their young. His mother had provided them with a perfect breeding ground.
A ladder descended from the trap door into more darkness. Sticking the sword back into the pouch with only the handle uncovered she began her descent. She stopped as if she had forgotten something.
"Jeremy?" she said.
"I love you." She replied then slipped away, down into the hole, into the darkness, into the unknown. She didn't even give him a chance to respond but she knew how he felt. He grabbed the lantern. Though he was sure that there was more to be learned, he had not yet acquired his mothers uncanny ability to navigate in the dark. He stepped onto the ladder and shined the light below him. He could barely see his mother in the distance as she effortlessly made her way down. Holding the lantern in his hand he carefully began his tricky climb down the ladder.
When Jeremy reached the bottom he was sweating profusely, his arms aching and weary from the descent. His mother was already standing guard, her devilish sword pointing out in front of her. She looked at the lantern shining feebly in Jeremy's hand and smiled, she was proud that her son took comfort in the light; so many people took comfort in darkness these days. He reached his hand towards his mother longing for the comfort of her touch but before their fingers could connect the space around them flooded with bluish white light.
Confused, the lantern fell from his hand and Jeremy instinctively spun around looking for the ladder but it had vanished. The light revealed that they were standing on a small circular rock platform suspended over an abyss. The light emanated from several torches that lined each side of a narrow flight of uneven stairs leading down from the platform. The long wooden torches were fixed firmly into the stone stairway, their bright bluish white flames released a choking stream of blackish smoke and more then enough illumination to show their path. The forgotten lantern rolled off of the side of the platform, cart wheeled several times then fell out of sight. There was no resounding echo to ensure that it had reached a solid destination.
"Stay close to me." His mother whispered but her voice echoed as if she were speaking through a microphone. Something screamed in agony, a long breathtaking reply that chilled Jeremy's spine.