A Chasm Dark

The resonance of her tread smacked against the hard stone of the black chamber, she knew it was stone by the scuff of her heel along its grit, she knew she was encompassed by it by the clop that echoed in the pitch, bouncing about that watery cavern. Long drooping drips slid down unseen stalagmites before dropping into free fall, landing in small pools with a light blop made louder by the grotto’s cathedral halls. It was in one of these pools she lost her footing, with a panicked skid she slipped and fell onto her knees, dipping one of them in the icy water, it’s freezing embrace soaked through the silk of her gown, drenching her skin; forcing a shiver. Her cut hands lay on the sharp, cold stone, its surface jagged and edged, she found herself climbing a slick-washed slope but to where she did not know, with her gaze lost to the penumbra she wrapped herself in her petticoat and got to her feet. Climbing a little more she could hear the din of cacophonous bats, far off in the gloom, flapping about in distant tunnels and passageways beyond her reach, she could smell the putrid scent of their mummified leavings that likely caked the cave walls, the pungent muggy rot that dominated the thick air was overpowering, making her pinch her nose as her eyes watered. Tripping over what she thought was a stick she stumbled against a wall, expecting to be pressed against mucky layers of bat clay she jumped with a start having touched something hard yet fragile. Brushing it gently with her hand it felt as if the wall had goosebumps made of eggshell. Taking another step forward she knocked something over with her laced foot, crouching down she felt in the pitch for the small object, finding it she attempted to identify it with her trembling hands. She knew what it was in an instant, the contours of its cheekbones, the pits of its sockets, the shape of its cap and the foul collection of rotten teeth. Dropping the skull she listened to it shatter in the unending tenebrosity of that cursed oubliette.

“What is this place?!” she shrieked to the abyss.

“My home…” it replied. “And now it is thine”

 

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