Melissa - Page 159


You fall through the opening for several seconds and land on a soft pad of slimy cave moss. Your ankle screams in pain under the weight of your falling body, it quickly fades. Nothing is broken. You get to your feet and scan your surroundings. The chamber you are in his a large dome speckled with small stalagmites and clumps of moss. A tiny stream trickles by to your right and you can make out a swarm of cave fish darting back and forth. In front of you, a tunnel extends beyond the reach of your vision.

That's when you realize it... You can see. It isn't some newly discovered super power to see in the dark. A gentle light flickers from the distant tunnel and partially illuminates the cavern. Someone else is down here. Or something....

The light dances off the stone and the strong aroma of cooked meat finds its way back to your senses. "I'm hungry," you mumble aloud, clutching your stomach. You position your back to the cavern wall and start creeping down the tunnel. It is your only way out and judging by the smell, a southern-style barbecue joint lies at the end of the passage.

The light and the smell both grow stronger with every step you take. You reach the end of the tunnel and wait, listening for whatever lies beyond. You can hear the crackle of meat over a fire. Your stomach rumbles against and a slight hint of nausea inches up the back of your throat. I can't wait here forever.

You stretch your sore ankle and calm your churning stomach. With a burst of courage, you turn the corner of the tunnel and instantly spot the source of the smoked meat smell. In the center of a large cavern, a fire burns brightly beneath a wooden spit.

Roasting on that spit is a neatly arranged row of naked human children. Their skin bubbles and cracks as the spit turns.

The man - or whatever it can be called - turning the spit looks up at you through a mask covered in dark feathers. "Fuck!" you scream, running back the way you came. The masked person screeches and charges at you, easily catching you in the narrow confines of the tunnel.

It grabs your legs, slamming you hard into the ground. Something on your face breaks as you hit the limestone floor. You can't tell if it is your nose split open or your skull. It hurts like hell and bleeds uncontrollable.

You scream and try to kick, but the masked creature is far stronger than you. It drags you back toward the roasting chamber. You claw at the ground, desperate to escape, but the rough floor gives you no purchase. There's nothing you can do.

You manage to rotate your body so you're face up and able to wipe the blood from your eyes. The creature is wearing all black; you can't tell if it actually has jet black feathers or if the feathers are part of the thing's attire. It takes you to the edge of the fire and drops you with a thud. 

That's when you notice the dozen or so other feathered beings standing around the large cavern. No escape now, you realize. This is the end.

The bird-masked people crowd around you and one of them plucks a leg from a roasting baby. The leg drips aromatic grease and blood all over the cavern floor. You can tell just by glancing at it that the meat isn't fully cooked. The sight of it makes you sick.

You shake your head, trying to ward off the flood of nausea, and puke all over yourself. Acid fills your mouth and the creature shoves the singed leg into your mouth. The taste of burnt infant overwhelms your senses.

The bird creatures look at you expectantly.

What do you do?

To stare the bird creatures in the eye and take a big bite of baby leg, turn to page 354.

To spit the leg out and try to make a run for it, turn to page 301.