I’ll not take your time, beyond what the need,
To relate to you a story and deed
As there’s no one else to plea this decree …
For just I survived, don’t you see.
I’m an old man, with a mind full of mist
But details of that night in my mind still exist
As vivid and clear, both sharp and exact
No, no mist there – all of it’s fact!
When I was young, and adventure routine,
With excitement and newness still unforeseen
I was eager to spread my wings to the world
And seek more adventures as those wings unfurled
Within my long travels I happened to meet
Two other men, with friendships replete
One was named Beckett, the other one Flynn
And better friends there never have been.
Beckett was tall – an athletic type
While Flynn, the scholar, more of pinstripe
Pinstripe or athlete – it mattered not
It was our essence together and that which it wrought.
Engaged were we in all daring do
High on the mountains, and under seas, too,
We crossed dry deserts, and jungles of green
And other adventures there in between.
We’d been together, t’was our sixth year,
And still our adventures made us cohere
To every madness – to every rave …
Until we decided to enter The Cave.
We discussed the encounter and planning for weeks
And assembled equipment – some new, some antiques
Until at last the day it arrived …
And our excitement? It still there survived.
The map we used, was bought from a guide
Who told my friend, Flynn: “Don’t go inside”
When he had learned of our journey’s intent:
To enter The Cave, and begin our descent.
The guides’ words, had given us pause
We had thought: What was his reason or cause?
But … dismissed were his words of advice
We had each other … and that would suffice.
With ropes and lantern-hats and other such gear
It was into The Cave we then disappeared.
The light from our lanterns speared into the dark
We spoke very little - made no remark.
Onward, downward, in blackness we went
Placing out markers for our later ascent
The sounds of our footsteps, and scraping of walls
Reverberated ‘round us – as echoed recalls
In about six hours, or maybe ‘twas more
We encountered water upon The Cave floor
And there all around were beautiful shapes
Never were seen such gorgeous landscapes
Stalactites, stalagmites and mineral mounds
And dripping water with its’ “plopping” sounds
Pinks, violets and shades of green hues
And small salamanders made their debuts
We found a small dry spot and then we assessed
This was a place we could stop now to rest.
I turned up my lantern, and took off my hat,
When Beckett said: “Hey. Did you just hear that?”
I moved not a muscle, and my ears went to strain.
All I could hear were the droplets, like rain.
Then from The Cave’s bowels came a loud din
I continued to listen – then heard it again.
We looked at each other, but said not a word
Confused and startled by what we’d just heard
It wasn’t a moan, it wasn’t a gasp
But more rather like a guttural rasp
One thing was certain, it wasn’t of stone
That could create sounds while standing alone
T’was our discussion, from which to derive:
The source of the sound was something … alive.
Then from The Cave’s deepened black hole
Came again sounds from a source with no soul
The sound was menacing, and one I despise,
I watched the fear grow within my friends’ eyes.
Instinctively, we three then moved as one
In that instant – our re-ascent had begun
I had been last in the line coming down
Now I’d be the first to reach the “above-ground”.
Quickly my feet in the lead, lead the way
Flynn, right behind had nothing to say
My friend Beckett, brought up the rear
And in that position had the greatest to fear
The lamp on my hat pierced through the black
And I looked for our markers to lead us back
To save our strength, nothing was said
Again - the loud sound that filled me with dread.
The sound became louder and closer it be
And I moved faster through the black before me
I could hear Flynn’s breathing, so close behind
I tried to concentrate on the markers to find
Somewhere behind me, then snarls I heard
Loud and vicious, run together and blurred
Close … so close … the beast was so near
Adrenalin rushed through me to react to my fear
T’was then I was hit with an overpowering stench
The smell caused my stomach to turn and to wrench
The odor blew past me, and I knew t’was the breath
Of the Beast of The Cave – its’ oder of death.
I was near running, but down on all fours
Sweat was streaming from all of my pores.
Then I heard those terrible screams
The ones I keep hearing in all of my dreams
It was Beckett I knew in his shocked agony
Midst the snarled snapping of jaws I can’t see
I heard bones cracking and squishing of flesh
And the fear within me gave new strength afresh
My fingers were raw from grabbing the rock
But on moving forward my mind had its’ lock
My stomach still queasy from the stench of the beast
I knew it was finishing its’ beastly feast
I knew, too, t’was only a matter of time
When the beast would return - I had to climb!
I heard Flynn say: “IT’S COMING AGAIN!”
Again was a surge of my fear deep within.
I heard once more the beast from behind
And fought the panic taking over my mind
Something heavy struck against The Cave’s walls
The kind of sounds that ghastly appalls:
A scraping of talons of heavy clawed feet
Caused my heart to double its’ beat
I had the feeling that Flynn lagged behind
I screamed my urgings loud and maligned:
“Flynn! Flynn! Catch up to me!”
But took not the time to look back and see
For the beasts’ crashing against The Cave’s face
Told me it neared – and was re-gaining the race
My knee hit a rock, and my balance was lost!
I fell to the ground, and then feared the cost
In losing the time in scrambling free
Again sheer panic stabbed into me.
In less than an instant, Flynn was there too,
His face in my light was of a strange hue
And as he helped me get back to my feet …
Flynn turned around – t’was The Beast there to meet.
The stench overwhelming, but the sight was much worse
There standing before us: The beastly curse
Of overlapping scales in shades of dark gray
The rest of its’ body concealed in umbrae
But its’ eyes … its’ eyes … I’ll never forget
Rheumatoid yellow, and deeply inset
Its’ reptilian lids blinked just one time
‘Fore its’ lips peeled back - revealing the slime
Glistening yellow over dagger-like teeth
Then oozed from its’ mouth to fall there beneath.
The beast reared up, then we saw its’ claws
Sharp and deadly within its’ forepaws
Towering above us, no sound the beast made
On beams of our light had his gaze stayed.
Unexpectedly Flynn then turned and faced me
… With less blinding light, the beast could again see
Why Flynn had turned I never will know
For the beast bit him in two, at his torso
And I was looking at Flynn – direct in his face
When the beasts’ bite his life did erase.
I screamed, and instantly away did I run
Away from the beast, and dead companion
Through the price of Flynn’s life, more time had been bought
To reach The Cave’s entrance – the goal that I sought
Running wildly, several times did I fall
Toppling did not my mission forestall
The beast I knew still somewhere behind
Drove me on forward with my frantic mind
I heard its’ clawed talons scraping the wall
And prayed I’d not again stumble and fall
Then, up ahead, a small opening I viewed
And I saw my chance, with hope there exude
Twelve feet … six feet … then it was three
But the beast and its’ stench was there behind me
I dove through the rock opening, scraping my head
But better that injury than ending up dead
I was elated, and about to rejoice
I then heard a scream – it was my own voice!
In my leg erupted intense blinding pain
Looking down I saw the bloodstain
My leg, through the opening, still was stuck out
There was but split-seconds, before I’d lose it no doubt
I pulled my leg back, and in but a flash
My shoe was removed by a clawed talon slash
I crawled back from the opening, then I could see
My wound was deep, from ankle to knee
Then suddenly through the opening came
A clawed talon whose aim was to maim
I quickly withdrew out of its’ reach
As claws shot through the openings’ breech
The opening too small, for continued rampage
And the beast began then to voice its’ outrage
It’s deafening roars assaulted my ears
Echoed Cave chambers and in my mind did adhere
I began attending unto my grave wound
Knowing I now was no longer marooned.
T’was another hour ‘fore I crawled out The Cave
But many days ‘fore I’d shed the shockwave
Of what had transpired, and what I had seen
And my damaged leg was lost to gangrene.
Now sleep evades me, for my horrible dreams
Show beams of light, and unearthly screams
Of Beckett and Flynn and The Cave we were in
I know tonight, I’ll re-live it again.
So, now you’ve the story, you’ve heard the deed
I swear is the truth I’ve herein decreed
And Beckett and Flynn are enslaved in their grave
And I lost my leg to the Beast of The Cave.