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“There were thirteen of us, and, well, Freddy- he was our tour guide. Two of ‘em were teens, two were kids, four were men, and four were women. And then there was me. What most would consider a survivor. One of the lucky ones. But I would’ve been better off dead. One of the fatalities was my friend, Marv. And then there was Donovan. Goddamn it! My brother! Dead! A f***ing statistic!
“I’m one of very few survivors. How many others were there? Jamie, Lucile, Christopher, and me, Alec. And the dead? Holly, Donovan, Marv, Sammy, Jon, Kerry, Big Joe, Amy, and Alice. All of them dead.
“It started out great. Me, Marv, Donovan, and Jamie, Marv’s son, were vacationing in Florida when we went to explore the cave. We looked up caves that did tours with small tourist groups. We found Freddy’s company, got dressed, and drove down to the cave. Two of the women turned out to be a gay couple, the two teens were dating, one woman was there by herself, one man was there alone, and the other was with his wife. The final woman, Lucy, was there alone.
“We were about halfway through out tour when the roof of the cave or whatever you call it caved in. A huge chunk of rock hit Freddy square in the chest. Then it was us thirteen, the original survivors. We were lost, scared, and possibly trapped. We all kind of got this weird feeling, like we were being watched, like we weren’t alone. And that feeling, that instinct was completely right. There was something else there. We couldn’t see it or anything. But we sure as hell weren’t alone.
“We were trying to retrace out steps and find the way we came in, or at least find an alternate way out when it all went wrong. There was a scream. It came from Alice Schwartz, one of the girls from the gay couple. Her partner, Samantha Garrison- she asked us to just call her Sammy- was in the ground. Her eyes were bright red, and some kind of disgusting crap was spewing from her mouth. It wasn’t vomit, that was for sure. Marv said he thought it looked like ectoplasm. I was never much of a superstitious person, so I just dismissed what he said. But he was right. I bet that’s what it was- ectoplasm.
“Anyway, blood started spilling from her eyes. It was truly a demented thing to witness. She was screeching so loud it made me cringe. Her body was arched, and she appeared to be levitating off the ground. Finally, the noise stopped. She stopped spewing blood and ectoplasm and other crap. And her body just dropped limply back to the damp cave floor with a muffled thud. All of this happened instantaneously. Christopher O’Riley, the man who came alone, said he was a doctor. He bent down next to Garrison’s body and placed two fingers on her wrist. He stood up and announced she was dead.
‘I’m sorry,’ O’Riley said flatly. But what more was there to say? Alice crumpled to the ground in a sniveling mess. She turned a deaf ear to all efforts to ease her pain. We were all standing around in a jumbled circle when there was another scream. O’Riley was on the ground now. He was sickeningly pale, and moaning in pain. Some kind of instinct made Joe Turving drop to the ground and cradle Chris’s body. He continued moaning, claiming his stomach hurt and his head was throbbing. I bent over him, too, and placed the back of my hand over his forehead. I yanked it back quickly, surprised by how warm he was. He pushed all of us away from him and crawled over to a corner or the room. With one arm he clutched his stomach, and with the other he steadied himself. Then he vomited.
“We decided he was too sick to move around, so we just sat, huddled in a circle. Turving let out a gasp, then fell backwards. The same ectoplasm stuff oozed out of his mouth, the blood spilled from his eyes, his back arched in a semicircle. Then he, too, fell to the ground with a light thud. Weak from his illness, O’Riley managed to crawl over to Turving’s limp body and pronounce him dead. It was then things really started to go down hill and spiral out of control.
“A few hours went by before anything happened. O’Riley was still sick, but he was getting better. All seemed to be going well when a similar phenomenon to Turving and Garrison’s fate occurred in Kerry Fennson, then in her boyfriend, Jon Riverfield. Each of them let out a scream, then started spewing fluids and levitating a few inches off the ground. No more then an hour after that, the same fate crept up on Alice.
“Still reeling from her husband’s death, Holly Turving spoke up and said we should keep moving. O’Riley agreed, and we set off towards the front entrance. Determined that rescuers would soon realize we were missing and come save us, we kept our movement at a slow pace. We were descending a flight of stairs when Holly collapsed. Then that same ectoplasm spewed from her mouth. All eyes turned to O’Riley, who simply nodded, then kept on walking. After completing the stairs, we stopped again, this time only briefly, because Marv collapsed. Jamie let out a cry of disbelief, and I wrapped my arms around him, trying to ease his pain. When all this happened, Jamie was only seven years old. We unanimously decided to keep moving, and I scooped Jamie up and carried him until we stopped again, nearly an hour later. Before we stopped again, we had to climb up a set of stairs. Donovan slipped in a puddle of water, and fell backwards. His lifeless body left a trail of blood as it skidded down the steps. This time, I felt tears well up in my eyes, and I allowed one to trickle down my nose.
“The last to die was Alice. She bit the dust a few hours before Lucy Herrington,
O’Riley, Jamie, and I found a way out. The light a the end of the tunnel, you could say. We had just lugged our tired bodies up another stairwell when we saw something that stood out from the rest of the cave- a door! O’Riley was the first to notice it, and he sprinted ahead, throwing his entire body’s weight against it. The door creaked open, and behind it was the gift shop. We fell to the cement floor in a tired heap, overjoyed to be alive.
“I ended up dating and marrying Lucy, who is now Lucy Grayson. We adopted Jamie, and now live together in Denver, Colorado. I have a job as an EMT, and I’m living a pretty good life. But the memory of that day still haunts me. All of the survivors gave testimony as to what happened, and a few scientists suspect there was a demon there with us- that was the thing possessing and killing everyone. And I reckon they’re absolutely right. Lucy and Jamie also agree. I haven’t seen O’Riley since the accident, which was nearly six years ago. The cave has been condemned. A few of the victim’s bodies were recovered, including Marv’s. Donovan’s body was never found.”
- Alec Grayson, 2010
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