A little while ago I wrote a short story for the L. Ron Hubbard "Writers of the Future Contest". I did not win, and I know why, my story is really more horror than Science Fiction or Fantasy. But I decided that I will post each chapter here on my blog. There are 37 very short chapters, for a total of 15,000 words, about a fifth of a modern novel. Here is the start.
The decent would be later described as perilous, ominous, creepy, foreboding, and any number of other adjectives Wilton saw as necessary to say that the venture downward was not pleasant. However, they could not be described as ill prepared for the journey. Light sources, rope, food, communications equipment, tools, camping equipment, and the Whit Hat Preparedness Kit carried into the field by the investigators at all times. Sometimes the equipment taken into the field was not completely understood until the circumstances that call for them present themselves, but it should be known that a weapon is always on the inventory list for the Kit.
“Do we really need this much stuff?" asked Maxwell. "Sure the Kit and the gear, but camping equipment? This doesn't strike you as just a bit too much?” Maxwell was young, and while he did not whine or complain, the tone in his voice made his inquiries a little abrasive to a group whose frustrations were only seeming to fester as they rappelled ever deeper into a hole that seemed to be reaching that often unwitnessed depth at which a bright sky could not be seen with a direct glance upward.
“Max, we are Investigators," said Clair. "If the opportunity presents itself for investigation and exploration, we need to be prepared.” Clair’s succinct answer seemed to answer the question well enough.
“Max, can you ask yourself this: which is the greater inconvenience? Schlepping this stuff or having to turn back and go get it?” Wilton was a little more poignant in his response, which led to the much desired state of silence emanating from Maxwell.
“Okay, let me ask this then: what was the name of the guy who fell in?” Maxwell paused waiting for the answer while Clair and Wilton looked at each other with puzzled looks on there faces which slowly transitioned to guilty looks on their faces. “Did you forget?” Maxwell followed up his question.
“Well, Max… I… it’s not that I don’t-” Wilton was cut short.
“Wil, Max, do you hear something?” Clair was getting a bad feeling, and heard a faint sound. She couldn't identify it yet, but it seemed to be approaching.
“Clair, I haven't heard anything aside from talking and the repelling rig.” Wilton was suspecting that there was in fact, no sound.
“What do you hear Clair?” Maxwell’s inability to detect the sound confirmed Wilton’s previous inclination toward anxiety.
“I don’t know," said Clair. "But if you two aren't hearing it, then the sound might not be a sound.”
“Are you getting a psychic thing?” Maxwell asked, summing up Clair’s most often ignored resume qualification.
“I think so," said Clair. "This isn't good."
“Clair, what is coming to you? What is about to happen?” Nervousness slinked its way through Wilton’s tone; his past experiences with Clair’s ability never preceded something good.
“I think we are in for a rather harrowing descent.” It was at that moment that the strange sound Clair had heard was heard by all three. It was a chorus of screams; the group’s descension cables had all given out.