We found the cave by accident, I tripped over it. I ran down the hill after Max and I heard him yell "watch out!" A little too late. I went tumbling down the rest of the way and came to a stop at the bottom with a loud thud! "Ow, I twisted my ankle!" I call out. Max takes his time down the rest of the way and I may have been a little too snappy with him, if he had fallen too and got an injury then we are both useless and could be stuck out here
He got to the bottom and helped me up. "We found the cave" I said, pointing behind him. He turned and stared "there she is in all her creepy glory" Max turned his attention back to me and slipped one arm under my armpits "ready?" He asked. I blew out a quick breath and said "yeah let's do this" and he lifted me upright and held on while I tested my weight on my ankle.  It was sore but was holding up "I can walk this off" I said and he just nodded, turning his attention to the cave. Following his gaze, I asked "think Luke is already in there?" Max looked at me a second "oh no doubt, I also think that asshole lied to us and knew this was here all along, I feel like this is a trap" I had to agree, the creepy shivers the cave gave me told me to trust my instincts and go back. 
"What do we do?" I asked, not taking my eyes off the entrance. 

"Do you hear something?" I was starting to get alarmed. Max had his hand on my arm and was pulling me backward "it's coming from inside the cave and it's getting louder, we need to hide quick!" He was talking fast now, I turned and quickly followed him to the tall grass where we laid down, watching the cave entrance.  After a few minutes, Luke emerged wide eyed and out of breath, he bent at the waist with his hands on his knees for a few minutes, finally he stood upright and yelled "Gabby! Max! Where did you guys go?" I moved to get up but Max patted my arm and mouthed "not yet" so we waited. Luke started getting agitated and pacing, he seemed at the verge of panic when he called our names again, his voice squeaking this time. Max nodded and whispered "follow my lead" and we emerged from the grass. 

"Man where did you go? We came up over the hill and you disappeared!" Max called out to him. Luke visibly relaxed "there you are" he jogged up to meet us. "Sorry I was kind of on auto pilot, not used to working with other people...but it is definitely in there and you have got to see this!" He waved for us to follow him "dude you just ran out screaming and you want us to go in there with you?" Max was sounding irritated. "I dropped a trail of gasoline up to where it's sleeping, we can just end this but I thought you would want to see it" Luke sounded disappointed actually, which confused me. Max looked at me and said "let's light this thing up and get out of here" he dug a lighter out of his pants pocket "Luke, where is the gas can you had in there?" Max asked "it's near the entrance, I'll get it" and he jogged off toward the cave. Max was clicking his lighter when he looked at me and said "I don't trust him, he is definitely up to something" I was thinking the same. When Luke was returning with the gas can, Max produced a glass bottle from his inside coat pocket and started pouring the little bit of gas left in the can into the bottle, he must have sensed me looking at him because he said "I found the bottle in the hunting shack yesterday and figured it could come in handy. Luke, I need part of your shirt" Luke nodded and ripped his flannel shirt, Max soaked it in the gasoline, he finished making his Molotov Cocktail and looked up "we only have one of these right now so if we miss and piss it off, we could be its next meal." His voice was flat, void of any emotion. I was starting to get scared. 

"We need to go inside then" I said. "Luke and I will go, Gabs is the lookout for anything suspicious" Max turned and winked at me. Max picked up two flame throwers from the pile on the ground and handed one to Luke. "We will be back" Max said and they disappeared into the cave. 

They were only inside for no more than 15 minutes, it felt like hours, the knot in my stomach was moving in. Why he wouldn't let me go with I didn't understand, we should stick together, I was irritated. 

 It was dead quiet, I was too antsy to sit and wait so I had been pacing to calm my nerves. Then there was a loud bang inside the cave, now I am officially freaked out. A few moments later, I hear running, then more loud bangs. I lay on the cold ground, covered by brush, I watched as the guys came barreling out of the cave entrance, and nothing happened. "Max? What happened to your bomb?" Luke was catching his breath again. Max stared at the cave entrance through squinted eyes and grumbled "I don't know" he scratched his stubble on his cheek and started looking around "Gabs? Please tell me you are still around here" he voice started to choke and he couldn't get words out anymore. I quietly got up and stood next to one of the outside trees. "Hey.." I called softly "I'm right here, I expected an explosion after you guys came out so I took cover. Did you see it?" I asked. He pulled me into a bear hug and said "yeah I saw it, it looked almost human but it has wings and antlers, it's skin is wrinkly and almost transparent" he choked again. "You forgot to throw your bomb?" I asked. He shook his head "it woke up and grabbed the bottle mid air and put the rag out." He sounded exhausted. 

I picked up a flame thrower, messed with it for a bit until flames came shooting out the long barrel, the kickback pushed me backward a little way. "That was awesome!" I exclaimed excitedly. "Just be careful with that" Luke mumbled. I had an idea. I took the flame thrower and headed toward the entrance of the cave. Max stopped me "what do you think you're doing?" He sounded angry "I'm going to kill it, I want off this island and I want to sleep in a bed" I argued. He paused and said finally "fine but I'm coming with, wait for me to get a thrower too" I shrugged why not?  
He came back with the weapon on his back and muttered "follow me and stick close to me" I nodded in agreement and followed him into the cave.
About 6 feet in, it got dark, like we were closed in, I could turn around and see where we came in but it was like the light would only go so far before you couldn't see in front of you. Max flipped on a big flashlight "c'mon" he said and kept walking. 
We took a couple turns and came to a room, it was fairly decent size and empty, Max swung his flashlight to the middle of the room and there, up close to the ceiling was this large cocooned man-like creature. It had antlers like they had said and it wrapped itself in its wings and appeared to be sleeping. "Gross!" I whispered. "Told you. Wanna end this?" I pulled my weapon off my back and said "hell yeah" 

So we moved to the middle of the room, when the thing screeched like what I had heard earlier, I jumped at the sudden loud noise. It took off through the corridors, still screeching. "At least Luke gets a heads up with that noise" I said "we have to get back and make sure he's ok" we hurried back to the entrance, and there was Luke standing over the creature. "Got him!" He exclaimed excitedly. The three of us stood around it staring at its ugly transparent skin and bat like wings, it gave me the chills so I walked away. The guys were slowly moving toward the gasoline, they were going to cremate the thing. 

I moved over to the edge of the tall grass and sat down, hugging my knees to my chest, I watched. I watched in slow motion as they poured gasoline on the monster, and it reeled one last time and reached for Luke. He jumped back and Max quickly lit a match. We listened to the screaming for a few minutes before it stopped, i still hear it loud and clear in my dreams, Max does too. 
All three of us stood around it at the antlers and ashes piled in the grass. It was actually over, I could breathe again. 

"Lets go find a hotel and sleep for a week" Max said "I'm game" I said and we looked over to Luke, who was still staring at the remains, he seemed distracted. "Let's get him something to eat first he's getting spacey" Matt said and I nodded. "Lets go guys, this place gives me the creeps" I said. Luke slowly walked over to us "if it's all the same, I would like to go into my bunker and crawl in bed" he said "ok, go get some sleep" Max slapped his back and he gave me a hug before heading back to his hole in the ground. "What's with him?" I asked. Max shrugged "who knows, let him be, he'll come around" we headed back to the little paddle boat and headed back to shore. 

What we didn't see, the blood dripping down Luke's arm. He was trying to dress the wound in his bunker and trying not to panic. He could hear the monster in his head, convincing him he needed to finish what had been started. He got up, grabbed a full whiskey bottle and tried to drown out those voices. 

Published by Liz Zemlicka