ROW80-4 - check in 10/24 - Outlining
ROW80-4 - check in 10/28 - Closer

Rebirth

This week's challenge from Terrible Minds was to choose five ingredients from a list and make a story - 1000 words max. Here, then, were the ten potential ingredients:
  • A Mysterious Rabbit
  • An Unborn Child
  • A Missing Corpse
  • A Broken Music Box
  • An Ancient Curse
  • A Half-Burned Notebook
  • A Sudden Storm
  • An Indestructible Tree
  • A Venomous Creature
  • An Impossible Doorway
My choices were:
  • A Sudden Storm
  • An Ancient Curse
  • A Half-Burned Notebook
  • An Unborn Child
  • An Impossible Doorway

Story is 762 words.

Rebirth

He'd been on his final trip into the hills when the storm hit. He'd studied the legends, read the original texts, bribed his way past museum officials for access to every clue. He'd spent months searching the hills, as he was sure the secret lay buried there, somewhere. A week of heavy rains had kept him away, but he'd needed one last look before his permits expired. He'd hiked all morning, pushing the guides further, ignoring the gathering clouds, until they'd been caught suddenly in a downpour. They'd split up under the sudden rain, heading for opposite sides of the ravine. He'd been ducking under an overhang when he stumbled, fell into some bushes, then tumbled right through them, into darkness.

He fumbled for his flashlight, then shone its light around the small room. It seemed undisturbed, with a thick layer of dust on the floor. Strange markings covered all the walls in faded red paint – nothing in the writing of the ancients though, just symbols, crosses, circles, pentagrams. The air felt warm and moist for a cave. The walls seemed almost alive with their tracery of red lines. His pulse quickened, this must be it, the Cave of Life, lost for ages, found by him. At one end of the room was a raised platform, with a small notebook on it. He hurried over, then brushed the dust off carefully and opened the cover. It was a leather bound volume, half-burned, but only on the inside, as if a fire had started from within.

He carefully examined the remaining pages, deciphering what was left of the text. It talked of journeys , of exploration, of second chances, of a long life. There was also something about a curse for any that had not gone through a proper initiation first. He searched for that, but most of the following pages were gone, burnt. There seemed to be some sort of promise of immortality, but that also seemed to be related somehow to the curse, which spoke also of an eternal cycle of only death and rebirth somehow. Would the secret stay hidden? He flipped idly past the burnt pages, then found one page left at the end, surprisingly clean, bare except for a series of five words. As he traced them with his finger, speaking each word out loud, the air around him began to tingle with electricity.

There was a bright flash. He was still in the room, but all his things - clothes, knapsack, flashlight – had disappeared. It wasn't dark, though, as the red walls had begun to glow on their own.

He looked toward the doorway, but it somehow seemed much smaller now, barely big enough for a rabbit to bolt through. Even as he watched, it shrank to almost nothing.

It definitely felt warmer, he was sweating with the heat. He turned back to grab the book, but it and the platform were gone. The walls seemed closer now, he had to almost stoop. They continued to close in, oozing a warm liquid around him. They squeezed tighter, warm, pulsating on their own, surrounding him with some sort of liquid. Just as he realized he couldn't breath, the walls tightened like a snake around him, squeezing the last air from his lungs. He could feel a rib crack. The cave's grip relaxed for a moment, then squeezed again, even harder. More pain in his ribs, and this time also his shoulder. His feet could were touching the cave opening now, still impossibly small. The cave relaxed, then squeezed again, as if trying to expel him through the doorway. Over and over it repeated, with more pain each time in arms and legs, bones and joints, until he lost count and passed out from the pain.

The cold air on his feet revived him, as did the hands grasping his ankles. They pulled, painfully, until he slid through the opening. He could hear one of the guides on a cellphone, talking to a rescue team. He tried to to move, but every bone in his body felt cracked, every joint dislocated. He would have screamed with the pain, if he'd had the air to do so. He found he couldn't even draw a breath. As his vision started to fade, he wondered if they would at least find the book.

There was a bright flash. He was still in the room, but all his things - clothes, knapsack, flashlight – had disappeared. It wasn't dark, though, as the red walls had begun to glow on their own.

 

 

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