I’m Gonna Dig Myself a Hole
I shrieked and dropped my lantern, and it rolled over that brume all the way to the Old Man’s feet. I knew it was him. Something about the insides of his eye sockets looked familiar, or maybe it was his gumless grin. Same two decayed teeth in there, a little worse for wear.
Instead, I slid on the cave floor when I turned to run, and I fell and hit my head. Light pinwheeled through my eyes, and I couldn’t see anything when it abated.
I could hear the Old Man, though. Breathing. His breath whipped through his ribs and whistled through the triangle in his skull where his nose should’ve been.
Clearly, I have made an abominable batch of moonshine, because I am hallucinating.
While my hands and feet scrabbled to gain purchase on the floor, the Old Man who really wasn’t there cackled and kicked my lantern along the floor.
“Might want to take that with you, if you’re gonna find your way out of here. Since I never did.”
I stared into the holes where his eyes should’ve been and tried to imagine the yellowed orbs that had been there when I knew him above. “How did you find this place, anyway?”
“Now, that is a secret, young man. Best not shared. But, there are other things I can show you. If you’re interested.”
He drummed his bony fingers along the wall, and my light flamed higher. Brighter. “I promise you, Son. The light will last as long as your need to see.”