Monsters in the Dark
“Lewa.” A fragile voice breaks the agonizing silence. “Am I alone?” Gali’s voice quavers.
The silence is suffocating. She collapses to her knees. Her body shakes violently as all energy seems to seep out of her. Dizziness rushes to her head and the world turns into a blur of black.
The only hint of light comes from a sliver of moonlight in an otherwise dark cavern.
A hand reaches from the darkness and touches Gali’s shoulder as an electrifying pain goes up her spine, jerking her head backwards. Her clenched hands that were first supporting her now crumple under her weight.
She opens her mouth to speak, but only a moan can be uttered.
The shadows hide the malicious grin of the nearby figure, as he releases his cold hand from her shoulder.
Trying to remember how she got here, Gali’s mind flashes back to a memory from earlier that day.
“Gali!” Lewa’s voice echoed through the forest.
Gali propped her arms up beside the lake and hoisted herself out of the clear water. “I’m over here,” she called.
Lewa broke through the shrubbery.
“What’s up?” she asked, coolly.
He scratched his head. “I uh, lost my Muaka again.”
She grinned as she rolled her eyes. “Yes, ‘again’. I would say so!”
He hesitated. “So—“ he began.
“No, I will not help you find him again!”
His arms dropped to his sides in defeat. “I know how much you hate me asking for your help, but just this one last time? I’ll never ask again.”
There was entertainment dancing in her eyes as she let a silence fall between them.
“Well, then we better get going,” she finally said, in agreement.
“How do you even lose something that big?” Gali asked, as they scrounged the forest.
Lewa pretended he didn’t hear her question as he walked behind her, shouting for his Muaka.
“Wait, shh!” She swung around and put her fingers to her mouth. “Follow me!”
She grabbed his wrist and led him to an opening of a large cave.
Gali went ahead to the back of the cave, while Lewa stayed back and called for his creature.
It wasn’t long before he heard what sounded like a short scream then a thump. “Gali! Are you ok?”
“I’m fine,” she grunted quietly, then got to her feet. “There’s just some sort of cliff edge at the back of the cave. It’s kind of dar—“
Something slammed into her body, knocking her down. Before she could do anything, a hand went over her mouth and a strong grip held her arms back.
The darkness clouded what was going on in front of her, but she could sense someone walking up to her. Whack! She felt something strike her face and her mask clattered off.
“This one will suit you much better,” a sinister voice said.
She felt a mask being put on her face.
“Release her. It shouldn’t be long now.”
Gali’s body aches. All she can hear are the erratic beats of her heart. Her blurry gaze can see the strange shapes watching her with entertainment in their glowing eyes. They seem to be muttering, but her brain can’t turn anything into full sentences.
“What’s…happening?” She murmurs, just above a whisper.
The figures pause their meaningless talk and one slowly walks towards her trembling body, lying helplessly on the cold earth.
He crouches next to her and laughs cruelly. “It seems we may have given you an infected mask,” he says in a mocking tone.
She can now faintly make out an outline of the being, though she still can’t say for sure what kind of monster the evil aura is coming from.
“Hey Gali, I found my cat!” a voice shouts from up on the ledge.
She looks up just in time to see the Muaka pounce on top of the figure that was once next to her, and out of the corner of her eyes she can see Lewa kicking the other one down while he glides to the ground.
Gali can only watch helplessly from the sidelines at the battle being laid out before her. Soon the Muaka and its rival disappear into the unknown, which leaves Lewa and his adversary to finish the fight.
She diverts her eyes from the violent scene as more shudders jolt through her body, worse than before.
When a severe stillness falls, Gali manages to pull together enough strength to open her heavy eyes and glimpse at the outcome. Lewa stands successfully over a motionless body, but his mask doesn’t seem to be anywhere in sight.
She knows he will soon have to fight her, despite his lack of power.
She is able to murmur one last thing to him before the monster inside her can take over.