The crunch of splitting wood echoed through the cavern. Breaking glass crashed down a stairwell. Heads shot up, wide eyes pierced the dim light toward the deliberate tromping of footfalls down the stairs. Deep, heinous laughter rumbled through racing hearts.
“Your protector isn’t here.” The whisper danced through the cave like a black ballerino.
The collective gasp of the townspeople muffled the sound of laughter momentarily. Emma grasp Michael’s hand, stabbing rigid nails through his soft palms. Michael’s courage wavered, gluing his eyes to the darkness and simultaneously turning his knees to jelly.
Like a tsunami of fear, the light from the glow worms extinguished, and the lichen on the walls died away. Sulfur choked the air; coughing ensued.
Micheal felt the heavy, hot breath on his neck before the sharp sting of talons gripped his shoulder. “You’re new, ” a snaked tongue whispered into his ear.