PEP’s New Home-Edited

Hi Ya’ll! Paula’s Eclectic Paradise officially has a new home! It’s still on wordpress but it’s upgraded and hosted so if you’ll follow me there, you’ll get not only my new writing but other posts I’ll be writing, including but not limited to baking, cooking, animals, books, movies, music, and other hobbies as well as my businesses.

I look forward to seeing ya’ll there!

Paula Crofoot

https://paulaseclecticparadise.com/ – home page

https://paulaseclecticparadise.com/welcome-to-paulas-eclectic-paradise/ -first post

The hosted home of the former PEP ended up being temporary. But here’s the writing that was posted on that day on the temp. new home: 

Now, without further ado, onto my latest writing: 

This week is a continuation of Cheryl’s Adventures. Now it has been a while since my last update on Cheryl and her friends so a quick recap: a high school nerd, Cheryl, was adopted by a group of friends at random. Was it out of the goodness of their hearts or at the behest of their mysterious leader, X, who has his own motive? A few weeks later, X asks Cheryl if she could translate a book that has been in his family for years; only later admitting he needed to do a ritual listed in the book to revitalize his family fortune but he couldn’t read it. Through translations, it turned into an adventure to Indonesia to solve the mystery of his family’s dwindling fortune. When we last left them, two had been lost and the remaining six were continuing into a dark unknown tunnel. 

The end from the last entry: 

“Let’s go. Something obviously took Lori as we were all diving out of the way. We’ve already lost Izzy, we have to find Lori.” 

As they traversed over the rubble into the clear newly opened tunnel, X asked, “Has anyone else noticed it’s the girls that are disappearing first?”

Everyone exchanged glances before Sam, Scott, Kenny and X all gathered tightly around Cheryl and Nica. 

Cheryl was wondering if any of them would in fact survive beyond X. She knew he had to survive as his ancestor had when he did this before. But she didn’t know if he’d had any friends when he entered and if any of them had survived. But it was too late to turn back. She took a deep breath as the six left continued on. None realizing that as they got out of sight, the wall reformed itself, trapping them. 

Now the latest piece: 

If there were any torches down this tunnel, they failed to light, leaving the teens with just their flashlights. 

“How long are these flashlights supposed to last?” 

Scott answered as he and Sam had been responsible for them, “The packages said their batteries should be good for up to 3 days. We’ve only been in here a couple of hours and got lucky and didn’t need them in the forest.” 

Nica spoke up shakily, “Has it really only been a couple of hours?” 

Sam and Cheryl looked at their watches, the only ones of the group to wear them, but both had shattered at some point before and were useless. 

Kenny pulled out his phone, knowing it had been in a waterproof case but of course, this deep down under the earth, there wasn’t any satellite signal, so it couldn’t even tell him time. He stuffed it back in his pocket as they continued further down the tunnel. 

After a long while, Nica stopped, leaning against the wall and rubbing her ankles, “We’ve been walking for what feels like forever! Could we have gone the wrong way? Should we turn back?” 

The others stopped, and Sam responded, “How could we have gone the wrong way? There was only one way to go.” 

“When this wall exploded, sure. But there was another tunnel. We only came down this way ’cause he “ pointing at X “had a gut feeling about coming this way.” 

Before X could defend himself, Cheryl spoke, putting an end to the argument, “It was the right way or there wouldn’t have been a diagram to open the wall. But surely it wasn’t supposed to explode so we may have missed a step there for all we know. Either way, Lori is somewhere down here, and we’ll expend too much energy returning the way we came only to still be stuck. Let’s just keep going. The tunnel has to end at some point.” 

Before they could take another step, a loud hissing filled the tunnel. 

Kenny opened his mouth to ask, “What-” before X slammed his hand over his mouth. 

Voice a harsh whisper, “Shh! We don’t know what made that sound!” 

The hissing had stopped, and their flashlights beams flashed erratically around the cave, attempting to find the source. 

Voice also a loud whisper, Scott pointed with his flashlight, “There!” 

Everyone looked that way before Nica and Sam flinched back, nearly losing their lunch. 

What the  beam highlighted was a grotesque gray and red creature crouched over a body. It resembled a bizarre cross between an elf with its pointed ears and narrow eyes, a wolf with an elongated muzzle and array of sharp teeth but with a human body. Somehow, it hadn’t noticed the light directly focused on it as it feasted on what was clearly one of their friends, but the head was missing. 

“Is that Lori it’s crouched over?”

Nica shook her head to X’s question, face green, “That’s the green jacket Izzy was wearing.” 

None of there spoke what they were all thinking, ‘well, at least we know what happened to Izzy now.’ 

“Then where’s Lori?” 

“And how do we get past that thing?” 

Cheryl spoke, face white, “We keep quiet just in case it can hear us. Its sight must be horrendous as it’s never noticed the flashlight in its face. But all the same, cling to the far wall away from it as quiet as possible.” 

They did as she bade, all keeping their backs against the wall and eyes on the creature in case it got wind that they were there. They were nearly clear when something sounded down the tunnel in the direction they’d come from. 

They all froze as the creature’s head jerked up, mouth dripping saliva and blood, eyes keen on the direction they’d come from, ears twitching. Just in case, Cheryl jerked Scott’s flashlight that was still focused on it down below its face. When it didn’t hear the sound again, it refocused on its meal and the teens kept moving. 

Once they were past and felt safe to talk but kept it to a whisper, Sam spoke, “That was lucky.” 

Cheryl shook her head, “Don’t count us clear yet.” 

“Why not?” 

“There’s no guarantee that’s the only one of those things down here. Add to that, that we’re all here, who made that noise at the other end of the tunnel?” 

“Whatever it was clearly stopped.” 

“Or it stopped being noisy.” 

Jumping at least 3 feet in the air, the teens swung their lights wildly in the direction they’d just came from until they focused on the being the unfamiliar deep voice had to have come from. 

The creature that had spoken appeared to be related to the feasting creature, missing only the elongated muzzle and standing straight instead of crouched. 

“What brings you all the way down here?” 

Instead of answering, hand shaking, Cheryl clicked off her flashlight as she snagged Scott’s arm. He followed her lead as did the others, hoping this creature’s sight was just as bad. 

“That won’t do you any good, I’m afraid. I have superb sight in the dark.” 

Nica stifled her shriek too late as the hissing filled the tunnel once more and Cheryl screamed, “Run!”

The teens didn’t waste any time running the direction they’d been headed, exhaustion gone, two sets of steps following them. 

©Paula Crofoot 

That’s it for today. I’ll see ya’ll next time! 

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