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.
Fear is an interesting affliction of the soul. It has numerous effects on the senses via chemical reactions in the subject: it can boost strength, make rapid one's thought, and more often then most would like it can end constipation rapidly and without regard to one's surroundings. However, regardless of the circumstances, fear is easily abated by maintaining a level head, and so long as the world progresses in a logical fashion, so long as two and two maintain being four, fear can remain on the back burner. It is, however, rather easy to encounter in a stressful situation something so unexpected that regardless of the usually harmless connotation it usually possess its unusual appearance causes extreme instantaneous fear.
The three White Hat members had progressed for some time down the cavern (which presumably led back to the hole at some point) and aside from a desire to see a break in the consistently boring underground landscape, that contained not even a stalagmite, they saw nothing unusual and felt no fear as a result. All the while they grew ever nearer to the location wherein light was emanating and allowing the cavern around them to progressively approach the state of well-lit. Currently they remained in a portion of the underground that seemed only describable as “blue lit,” the sort of darkness that appears in cartoons, in which a character turns out a light, and the room does not so much get dark as turns blue and black.
“This place is mildly haunting," said Wilton. "But honestly, I was expecting a bit more."
“How’s that, Wil?” said Maxwell.
“When Clair and I went some five years back into a previously unknown pueblo village carved majestically into the side of a mountain, we met a man who had been living there for what he claimed was two centuries, and yet he appeared to be in his mid forties.”
“He was really that old?”
“No,” said Clair coming out her haze having heard Wilton say her name. “It turned out he was a local guide who had followed us from an Indian reservation we had stopped at. He wanted to claim squatter’s rights on the artifacts in the city.”
“My point,” Wilton continued, “is that there was something there, and someone to try and keep it from us. So far all we have discovered in this hole is more hole, clean and dry underground, and enough light to keep us from tripping over ourselves; ourselves being the only thing to trip over.” At this point Wilton had turned around a corner of the underground passage, stopped walking, and began rubbing his forehead.
“What is it, hon?” Clair stepped around to get a look, and paused. A look of pure confusion crossed her face, followed by a blank stare, a slack jawed squint, and lastly a “jibby-wha?” escaped from her lips. She wanted to ask an informed question, but her mouth didn't work quite right.
Maxwell remained the only one of the three not to turn the corner and confront whatever it was that was making them hold position. He asked politely, “Do I want to look?”