I clomped over the uneven ground, following the two in front of me. The early evening air misted into my mouth, and left my face wet, as I huffed along behind them. It wasn’t raining exactly, but the threat of moisture hung heavy in the air, and it made walking a ghostly experience in the twilight. It also kept my forehead liberally dusted with sweat, tickling down the sides of my face, neck and sides like spirits teasing me with feather light touches.
We were going to the Bishop Mine, called by two rowdy high school boys. I know it was just a stupid radio show challenge, but I was dreading this. I hung back, clinging to my wheezing as an excuse to dawdle, burdened by recording equipment like the pack horse this job made me.
It was bad enough going to this place, but getting looks from the model pretty twosome walking just ahead, and slowly leaving me in their misty wake, was annoying. John’s glances were tinged equally with laughter and disgust. I don’t know why you would bother to put someone with his model good looks on the radio, but I guess it was still showbiz, and beauty opened doors. He was the jock of the company to my nerd, and although I could lap him easily in the brain department, he spent a lot of time doing athletic feats of stupidity to show his manly prowess.
Lilly was another matter, equal to John in the looks department, similar enough to make them a kind of beautiful matching set, she held the power of this group, made the decisions, and kept John on a leash, whacking him on his too eager nose when he got out of line, which was his perpetual goal in life. She threw knowing looks over her shoulder because she knew I was dawdling on purpose. And she knew why.
We at last came to the right spot on the rocky mountainside, although it was more like a hump on a large and stony hill, scattered with grass, and knocked on the wooden door. The voice in the back of my head whispered are there hobbitses in there? Then the door opened to the reveal a cherubic face, back shadowed by glowing candlelight, and he gave an uncherubic whoop of victory and flung the door wide, revealing the shadowy cavern within.
“Congratulations!” John took over, needing to be the center of attention, immediately. “You won the spoooookiest location around!” He held his hands up in front of him like claws and shambled into the little interior room, and we followed him. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. It made walking into an area perfumed with wet earth a little easier, but a tightness that wasn’t my asthma started to build in my chest the moment I walked through the opening into the earth.
Although the cherubic one was cocky and overdoing it in the excitement department, his companion was wild eyed and terrified. A small dog, some kind of tiny rangy looking mutt, huddled around his ankle protectively and stared at us with haunted eyes. It’s tail beat a single wag and came to a halt as we walked through the door, apparently we were found lacking.
“Here you go!” John boomed, his voice echoing down the cavernous space to our right. “$100 bucks of hard cold cash for the winners!” He pulled a paper from his pocket and brandished a pen. “Sign your receipt and it’s yours! Give it to the big guy when you’re done.” He gestured vaguely in my direction.
It must have been a relief, to be unburded by the one thing he had to carry. I waggled my fingers at them and then turned to start setting up the equipment.
“You’re really going to stay here?” The haunted boy asked, “The whole night?”
“Of course!” John laughed “I ain’t afraid of no ghost!”
The boy and his dog just stared at him. The other boy hurriedly signed the paper and ran it over to me, and I handed him the money.
“Thanks man!” He shouted, just a little too loudly in my face, and I caught the scent of booze on his breath. “Lets go Luke!” He laughed manically and ran out the door.
Luke stood where he was for a moment, still staring, and mechanically walked to the door. He turned back to us, searching our eyes like he might find something there, and finally said “Be careful.” Then turned and walked out into the misty moonlight, his little dog trotting along behind him. Neither gave us a backward glance.
…to be continued?
Yeah, I know….where the heck did that come from? Thanks prompt! My first short story (and maybe more? 🙂 ) post!
- Blog post 25/52 – 27 to go…
- Writing in the screenplay – Too early yet, but I’ll do it before the end of the day!
- Drawing – Ditto above.
- Feet writing & drawing – Ditto above.
Until later, gators!