|The Story||The Authors|
Faint whiffs of sulphurous fumes greeted our spelunkers as the passed
into the first chamber. It was a long hallway like room about the
size and length of a fancy double wide trailer (but without the amenities.)
Our intrepid band slogged along a narrow trough down the center filled
with a good two inches of yellowish brackish water. At the far end
a narrow opening led onward and from which came the incessant gush,
drip, and gurgle of water. There was uncomfortable silence among
the quintet as they made their way. It'd been only an hour since
they'd left the relative comforts of Old Boar's den and the espresso
was beginning to work its diuritic magic upon all of them.|
Old Boar led the way. "Good Lawd!" he excalimed, "why I declah it smell lahk a Tex-ass bunkhawse aftuh a baked bean dinnah in heah!" and he hurredly doused the kerosene lamp. "Ah sutenly wish Ah had me a cuh-nary 'bout now. Now heads up y'all this nex' openin's a bit narrah. P'haps you Things shud go'head (bein' you's tha smalles')an' shine them lights to lead us on."
Bringing up the rear Anita began inwardly cursing her ancestors for bequeathing her large childbearing hips and counting up every piece of chocolate cake she should've/could've done without.
And somewhere, in a distant dream, Jake was hollering like a tree full of howler-monkeys...
The five explorers came to a bend in the tunnel. No sooner had the vanguard of Things rounded it than they returned, seemingly running for their lives and looking for all the world as if they'd just seen a ghost.
"Jesus, Redd Foxx, Joseph and Mary," they
stammered in unison
"Wah, y'all is jest a payah o' nambeh-pambehs," declared Boar with
a hearty guffaw. "It appeahs ah'll hafta be the one to envestergate
this heah distuhbance.." So saying, rolled up his sleeves and entered
the darkness of the next segment of tunnel.
Boar held his kerosene lantern aloft, and in the weak yellow light
by which it barely managed to illuminate the Stygian blackness of
the cave, they saw a skeleton curled up against an outcropping of
rock. Silver shackles still encircled its wrists and ankles, and
in the cave wall above it, underneath an arrow similar in design
to the ones they'd been following all along, were scratched the enigmatic
words, "URNS MASK ENEMAS."
By the time they realized that someone was coming, he was already
there aiming a submachine gun at their little impromptu picnic.
"See heah, suh. That's mightuh rude of ya'll to be pointin' that thar weapon at us whilst weuh's tryin tuh eat." said Old Boar.
"You're holding a great big gun, you know
Asked Thing One and Thing
"I don't like this,