“Something’s down here,” Vincent murmured.
My heart thumped unbearably.
It was almost impossible to see even a foot ahead of us at that point, but we pressed on, feeling along the walls as we did. They were cool and cut from stone. We were underground.
The stench and the groaning increased as we progressed, until it felt as though the ground beneath us shook. I drew my katana, concluding that whatever it was, we were going to have to fight our way through. Vincent followed my lead and readied himself as well.
Then all at once, the tunnel ended, and we were in a cavernous room which was clearly the source of both the smell and the groaning. Unfortunately, we couldn’t see a thing.
“Stay together,” Vincent whispered beside me. “Can we cast more light?”
I tried to concentrate on light, and the small circle surrounding us did in fact become more luminescent, casting a dim glow at least a few feet ahead of us. Then the room itself undimmed very slightly and our eyes were met with a giant, moving figure in the far corner of the room. It was formless and nondescript, but it writhed and squirmed, groaning as if in pain.
“What is that?” I breathed.
“We should turn around…” Vincent started to say.
There was no time. The creature moved like liquid along the walls until it was behind us, blocking the way we’d come. It was quick and noiseless as it slithered and the groaning filled the room so that it was impossible to tell where the giant form would be without looking at it.
Then the black monster rushed toward us and we were forced to defend ourselves from the onslaught of darkness. I was vaguely aware of the fact that it came at us as individual shadows, as if pieces of it broke off to attack.
The terror I’d been subject to up to that point melted into adrenaline and rage. I whipped my sword through each foe, matching their speed and fluidity. I was aware of Vincent somewhere nearby, flashing like lightning as he decimated shadows. But we made no progress. The shadows persisted until we found ourselves being pushed backward. They were pinning us in.
“We have to get at the big one,” Vincent shouted to me.
I’ll cut around left.
I knew Vincent would be able to hear my thoughts. Sure enough, he sped off to the right so that we could get around the shadows and engage the larger form behind them. The closer we got to it, the stronger and thicker the hoard. We managed to break through them and were suddenly attacking something much larger and more difficult to cut through. The black monster – whatever it was – seemed to be made out of the sludge substance we’d encountered earlier. Yet it moved impossibly fast and consistently avoided our attacks.
I started to notice the more we attacked, the more we were covered in the creature’s sediment. It began to impede my movements. Vincent was slowing down as well.
“This isn’t working. We should fall back,” I heard him say.
Turning, I realized we had forgotten the shadows behind us. They had made their way back toward us and now we were pinned from all sides.
“This isn’t good,” I said.
I heard Vincent abruptly cry out. His leg was wrapped in a black rope of slime attached to the larger mass, like a tentacle. He made an attempt to stab it, but before he could, it yanked him off his feet and dragged him toward it.
“Vincent!” I shrieked, bolting after him.
I couldn’t get to him in time. He was swallowed up in the monster and I was left alone in my nightmare.