Written for Creative Copy Challenge 187
- Advent – a coming into place, view, or being; arrival: the advent of the holiday season.
- Innocuous – not harmful or injurious; harmless
- Catacombs – an underground cemetery, especially one consisting of tunnels and rooms with recesses dug out for coffins and tombs.
- Placate – to appease or pacify, especially by concessions or conciliatory gestures
- Catatonic – a syndrome characterized by muscular rigidity and mental stupor
Jae ran through the catacombs making decisions on twists and turns based on memories. She had lived here in human form before she met Aedan. Weathering the change from the forest to this place had made them both nearly catatonic. She missed the woods and the smell of snow on mountains. With the advent of Lucia’s reign, they were no longer safe.
Jae heard Aedan in her head. “Hmmmph, I could have kept up just fine in human form!”
Jae sped into a tunnel on the left. “Relax, your virility was never in question. I knew you would follow my scent and we would make better time.”
“Are we getting close?” Aedan made one erroneous step and slid through something gelatinous. “What the??”
“These are tombs, Aedan.” The stench assaulted her delicate nose.
She could hear faint growls ahead. “Almost there.” She hoped that would placate him. She heard a crunching noise behind her and turned to look. Aedan had disappeared. Jae skidded to a stop and carefully retraced her steps. She heard Aedan whine. She looked over the edge of a jagged hole. Rotten dirt covered boards had given way as Aedan crossed.
“Aedan!” The wolf moaned.
“Aedan don’t change. Hold on, I’ll get help!” Jae took off down the tunnel toward the barking sounds. After a series of barks the pack followed her back to where Aedan lay, now very still.
“Aedan, I’m coming!” All around the tunnel sounds echoed as the fur disappeared and flesh and bone remolded itself. Jae had always been able to change quickly and she was the first to assume human form. She looked around and one of the pack ran up with rope in his mouth. She tied it around her waist as the last wolf changed. The walls were not smooth. She could see dark places that looked like side caverns. Ryall took hold of the rope and nodded at her as he passed the rest of the rope behind him. Anchored by the rest of the pack, Jae started the climb down to Aedan. He was whining again and Jae hoped that meant his wolf form was helping to heal.
Safely at the bottom of the passage, Jae knelt next to the wolf. She felt for breaks and was relieved to find none. She stroked his fur. “Aedan, come on. We made it!” Aedan opened his eyes and nosed her hand.
“Can you stand?” Jae moved away a little. Aedan struggled to his feet, whining.
“Is he okay?” Ryall and the rest of the pack looked down at them. Jae nodded her head and then realized it was probably too dark for them to see her.
“I think so but I’m not sure I can get him back up. We’ll try one of the side passages down here and find you.”
Ryall tossed a sack down to her.
“Thanks Ryall! Thanks all of you! Wait in the hall and we’ll meet you later! ” Jae found a torch in the sack along with an apple and a freshly killed rabbit. Ryall knew Aedan would need to eat. Healing took a lot of energy. The apple was for her. She put the rabbit down in front of Aedan and sat down by the wall to eat her apple. Glancing around, she wondered why they had never found this place when she was here with her family. Remembering her family made her sad. Aedan made quick work of the rabbit and Jae brushed herself off.
“Ready?” Jae nodded her head at the side cavern and Aedan started walking. Jae took a last thoughtful look. It seemed innocuous but she shivered anyway. She knew from experience that death lurked in more than the ancient coffins. She wished she could see the moon.