A pool of drool warmed Anthony’s cheek, but he didn’t move. Ahead stood an outline of a girl. She’d been there and gone every other time he blinked. The muscles in his eyes twitched and closed his eyelid. Did I open it fast enough? But the girl was gone once more. Anthony groaned and pushed himself off the floor, though it took a few attempts before his legs stayed in place.
“What the hell is this place?”
The words echoed off the cavern walls. The hole in the ceiling Anthony fell through remained indiscernible from the rest of the stone and ice. A soft green light gave enough illumination for Anthony to inspect his surroundings. Nothing on the walls showed what grabbed Anthony’s ankle as he fell. I swear something kept me from falling thirty feet to my death. For all I know, Atlas saved my life. Anthony chuckled to himself, but stopped at his realization. The girl appeared once more out of the corner of his eye.
“Don’t leave. Who are you? Where are we?”
But the girl didn’t respond, and as soon as Anthony turned, she disappeared.
A scuff of shoes and the scuttle of loose gravel pulled Anthony’s attention toward a new opening. The girl stumbled into his view. Her hair covered her face, but she slammed her fists against the nearest wall. A strange metal gong-like sound rippled through the cave, but ended too soon. The girl straightened, faced Anthony, and clasped her hands in front of her
“Excuse me, I don’t mean to be rude, but I’d rather you not use language like that around me,” the girl said.
“I didn’t mean, sorry, but who are you?”
Anthony stepped toward the girl, but she held her hands up. Her face didn’t change, but her eyes darted to her right. Anthony stepped back and scanned the cavern. There were no other signs of life. An echoed meow reached the cavern, followed by another.
“Atlas,” Anthony said.
The room felt warmer, and Anthony didn’t comprehend his blackened fingertips and tip of his nose. Another meow and Anthony ignored the girl’s gestures for him to stop.
“If I tell you my name, will you stop moving forward?” The girl asked.
The girl took a few deep breaths and clenched her fists.
“My name is Elida. Atlas, is that your name, or the cat’s name?”
Anthony smiled. Elida, that’s a unique name. Once I get out of here, I should start a unique name blog.
“Are you okay?”
“I, sorry, Atlas is my cat. You can call me Anthony. Did you see him, by the way?”
The girl shook her head. The silence that followed reminded Anthony of the disgusting jacket and pants. Then a new stench pummeled Anthony’s nose. Decay. Anthony threw up and stripped off the clothes. Ignore the black nastiness. Anthony rolled on the ground and rubbed on the walls to get the remains off his body. Elida watched with a cocked head.
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