Flash Fiction: Horror Beneath the Sand

Her feet made no sound against the ground. She had never been able to figure what the floor was made of. It was probably the same sandy stuff as the walls that stretched infinitely upwards outside of her lantern light. The entire Under was filled with it.

She focused on a spot against the grainy wall, and the wrought torch stand with unlit tinder that suddenly marred the empty corridor.  That was not the hard part. She drew the dead air in through her nose and pulled at the thing here that was her. The dried torch flared. The darkness, which had been broiling behind her, fled backwards. She twisted her neck to grin at the shivering scuffling shadows. “Thought you had me didn’t you?” Around the corners of the infinite maze and in the massive dark above her it whispered its wordless hate.

As if reminding her not to taunt their enemy, something like the warmth of a gentle sun tugged against her mind. “Soon.” She promised ignoring the comforting tug of her tether back to the physical world. He couldn’t hear her through the veils or the distance, and there was no doubt she’d get an earful when she resurfaced.

A thin sound, like sand being shifted between someone’s palms came a moments before the cold prickled the top of her head. She dove, lantern extending into a long shining blade as rolled. The mass of roiling pitch hit the spot where she’d set the flickering torch. The living shadow darted out, its thousand tiny tendrils screaming softly as it reached for the golden light she’d set burning. The contention lasted a moment before it devoured the fire, sending everything but her and her fiery sword into shivering blackness.

Fear coiled itself in her stomach and she ignored it, turning instead to the slow burn of anger in her chest. She’d marked this path for the others, ground that might now be lost. The white hot blade in her hand didn’t sear her flesh, but it made the shadows shrink from its light, her light.

Her grin was a snarl when she waded into the darkness.

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