A Beckoning

Mark waved from across the boat and Eliza could just see his smiling eyes behind the thick glass of the goggles. They timed their fingers together; three, two, one, SPLASH.  The newlyweds were in the water.  They touched their masks together, a symbolic gesture to their usual nose shake and dived, slowly, deep into the darkness.

Their torches showed only mud and murk at first but eventually the cave mouth came into view and Eliza’s heart raced.  She was about to discover a corner of Earth never yet explored by any other human.  The anticipation brought tears to her eyes but when she made to wipe them off her fingers hit the glass cover.  Eliza giggled.

Mark entered first.  He attached the rope to a boulder at the opening, looked back at his wife and mimed, Okay? Eliza nodded vigorously.

The rope, bright yellow, stretched behind them through chambers and narrow corridors of blues, greens and aquamarines.  They swam through spiky stalactites and pointed stalagmites crisscrossing their path like vicious teeth.

At one point Mark mimed, Wait.

Eliza floated motionlessly while Mark strapped the cord on his belt more tightly.  As she waited, a metallic glint inside a narrow opening behind her husband caught Eliza’s light.  Mark was still fixated on his rope and certain that he’d follow her light soon, Eliza dove in.

After a short search the little beam brought into being a brass diver’s suit; the kind they used in another century.  Trembling yet drawn, Eliza touched the massive head.  It fell off raising a cloud of mud and revealed a collar bone still attached to the shoulders.  Eliza gasped, inhaling a mouthful of oxygen and pirouetted towards the opening.   But through the murk the opening was no longer visible.  She tossed and turned, frantically padding the confined rocks in search of a gap. The more she moved the murkier the cave became.  Her screams were silent and Mark never saw her light.

The challenge set by Trifecta this week was to write a maximum of 333 word story using the word MOUTH

1a : the natural opening through which food passes into the body of an animal and which in vertebrates is typically bounded externally by the lips and internally by the pharynx and encloses the tongue, gums, and teeth
b : grimace <made a mouth>
c : an individual requiring food <had too many mouths to feed>
2a : voice, speech <finally gave mouth to her feelings>
b : mouthpiece
3: something that resembles a mouth especially in affording entrance or exit: as

  a : the place where a stream enters a larger body of water

Trifecta Winner Icon - 300dpi1st Feb, 2012: I discovered that this story placed first in this week’s Trifecta challenge.  I was at work when I visited the page and since I couldn’t jump and scream – as I would have done had I been at home – I instead offered coffee to everyone in the office.  But then I was so excited that I mixed all my colleagues’ preferences and most ended up with plain black when they wanted cream and sugar.  Oh well! 

Thank you very much Trifecta, I really appreciate this!

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49 comments on “A Beckoning

  1. deanabo says:

    oh my! The suspense!

  2. tedstrutz says:

    I was starting to hold my breath at the end. Such a sweet beginning too. What a bloodthirsty lot this week… so far some is getting killed in each one I’ve read.

  3. I was totally not expecting it to go in that direction. Bravo on a masterfully morbid tale 🙂

  4. muZer says:

    Oh boy! that was quite a twist.. Poor soul.. Quite a gripping story..:-)

  5. Sandra says:

    This is why you’d never catch me doing this for fun… you really had me on the edge of my seat there after such a romantic start.

  6. kymminbarcelona says:

    Disappointed and dead. Very creepy.

  7. nicely written, love the details. I too did about a mouth of a cave. Several of us did, interesting!

  8. you’ve left me gripping the edge of my seat, scolding, “Be still, Eliza! Let everything settle.”

    • Sandra says:

      True. Not that you’ll ever find me in a situation such as this but Discovery Channel always tells me; “Don’t panic, be still and let the mud settle.”

  9. jwilliams057 says:

    This is about two of my greatest fears, or maybe three, enclosed spaces and being trapped, and then combining those with being underwater adds a whole other level of anxiety. I could never, ever, never be a cave diver.

  10. I agree with Ted, what a blood thirsty lot this week! I too loved the contrast between the sweet (almost saccharine) beginning and the brutal ending. Some mouths close behind you!

  11. barbara says:

    oh noooooooooooooooooooooo

    will there be more? 🙂

  12. Annabelle says:

    Yikes. I don’t think I could bring myself to cave dive for just that reason; seems so dangerous!

    • Sandra says:

      It’s probably the danger that entices some people to do it, thrill seeking and all that. I’m happy to just watch Planet Earth and marvel at the beauty from my sofa!

  13. Draug419 says:

    I would freak the f*** out just like she did haha : D This is chilling!

    • Sandra says:

      One word: “Claustrophobia”, you won’t even find me in a pair of googles, let alone down there! So I can’t really say what I’ll do cos if I were her I’d still be sitting in the boat waiting for my partner to return.

  14. lumdog says:

    This is a great thriller in so few words. So well written. Great job!

  15. atrm61 says:

    A gripping tale indeed!Moral of the story-do not venture alone into uncharted territory & do obey instructions;-)Loved this 🙂

  16. jannatwrites says:

    This is terrifying! This just reaffirms the fact we should never explore alone…maybe with two of them there panic wouldn’t set it.

  17. steph says:

    Congrats, Sandra on 1st place! This is wonderfully written, thrilling and claustrophobic!

  18. The sweet romance of the opening really set me up for the shock of the end. Well done.

    New to Trifecta.

  19. lexy3587 says:

    ugh… It takes me a while to get over the claustrophobia of snorkelling… scubadiving, especiallylike this – that’d be tough. you described it perfectly, so full of tension!

  20. I’m a diver and this is always a danger. Really well done. Somehow I knew it would be tragic from the outset. good job!

  21. donettas says:

    This was wonderful. I could picture the bones when the helmet fell at her touch. I would definitely panic too!! Congratulations on winning. Well deserved!!

  22. This was a spectacular read! Congratulations on the Trifecta win.

  23. whiteladyinthehood says:

    I thought it was GREAT!

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