“It’s okay,” a voice echoes, “you can come out now.”
My eyes have adjusted to the dark and all I see is a white oval. “Why don’t you come in?” I ask.
“I’m not sure it’s safe. You really should get out of there.” The voice bounces off the cave walls, words hitting me in syllables.
A shape emerges in the whiteness. I think it might be one of them. “Okay,” my fingers wrap around a knife and I begin crawling. “I don’t know if this is a good idea,” I creep, hands and knees, toward the thing in the light. “They might find out where I am.”
“I won’t tell,” the thing says. And then I know.
I know what it is and what I must do. Pebbles press into my knees, bruise my shins, but I stay low. “I’m almost out,” I say.
It reaches inside, “Good.”
“Could you just…” I stop, sitting back on my heels, and aim. “Help me the rest of the way?”
“You can do it,” it laughs. “A few more steps.”
I adjust my aim. “Help me?” I repeat.
It shuffles its feet, moving to the left a few inches. I see it clearly for the first time and my stomach turns. I never get used to the sight of them. I pull my arm back, prepare to stab it, when a noise from behind startles me. I gasp and lose my balance. “Dammit!” I turn to see a rat. Just a rat, I think. But it is too late. The thing that waited outside has its hand on my ankle. I twist from its slimy grip but it drags me out into the sun, and into the arms of another I hadn’t seen. Others approach. I can’t escape them all. I know where they will take me and what they will do. I will not become one of them.
“We got her,” the first one says into a small box attached to its head with wires.
I examine the knife I carved. My art, my weapon, my savior. “You don’t,” I plunge the knife into my throat.
My attempt at #writephoto, a weekly writing prompt for poetry/flash/short stories hosted by Sue Vincent