To everyone: I am sorry about the next chapter in advance (or the one after, don’t know about the pacing.) , but it must be done.
Edit by SGJacko. Blame him if you see any mistake :P
When I stuck my head out to look outside the cave, I saw a few pebbles rolled down the mountain, barely missing my head. Coupled with the rumbling sound, I knew instinctively what was about to happen. With the constant rain, it can only mean one thing: landslide.
“EVERYONE GET AWAY FROM THE ENTRANCE, NOW!”
I ran back inside with all my strength. Everyone sprung into action after hearing my command, except one. There was a lone goblin that stood still staring at me like a deer caught in headlights. I yelled at that goblin again to grab his attention.
“Come on! Get away from there!”
My words finally got to him and he started to run, but it was too late. Mud, rocks, soil and all kinds of debris flowed like a brown waterfall. The small rumbling sound became a thunderous noise, drowning out all other sounds. It flowed into the cave and completely overtook him. He tried to reach out his hand calling for help but it was fruitless. He was swallowed in an instant. I stood in front of Queenie and use my body as a shield in case a stray rock hits her. Our cave slowly darkens to pitch black as I watch the cave entrance gradually being blocked up by the flow of mud and rock. After about 5 more minutes, the rumbling finally stopped.
“Is anyone injured? Is everyone ok?”
I yelled out in the complete darkness. No one responded to my question, so I assumed there were no other casualties. There were a bit of panicky murmurs in the back since not everyone knew about the landslide. They were deep inside the cavern where they couldn’t see when the landslide happened. I quickly took command of the situation and calmed everyone down.
“We are trapped in our own cave because of a landslide. We need to dig out of this as soon as possible, before we run out of food. Everyone, slowly walk towards the sound my voice. Touch the wall with one hand to guide you and use your other hand to feel in front of you. Make sure you don’t hit anyone in front of you. Once you get to the here, start digging.”
Day 37 (Night)
Am I just that unlucky? Disasters happened one after another in quick succession. Barely alive for more than a month as a goblin, I had already experienced a near death experience, a war between tribes, and now a natural disaster. Our food supply dwindled rapidly as it was impossible to fish in the complete darkness. Our digging would have had progressed a lot faster if we had some light source to see.There was a sliver of hope though. We don’t have to worry about air supply as the underground river seems to bring in fresh air. It seems that this underground river was a river of life for our tribe. It had solved many of our problems.
“My lord, we dug up a dead goblin.”
I tried to remember the approximate location of the dead goblin relative to the entrance. Using it as a landmark, I estimated we have advanced only a bit more than one meter after one day of digging. The loose soil keeps collapsing in and negated a lot of our work. I groaned a bit in my own mind. At this rate, we will never reach the surface before we starve to death. Hiding my despair, I tried to change the topic.
“So Queenie, what do we do with the bodies usually? I don’t remember seeing any graves near our cave.”
“We usually throw them down the underground river.”
At least we don’t have to worry about the body festering in this enclosed space. I ordered the others to do as Queenie told. I heard their fumbling footsteps, slowly moving away from me, and finally a splash that was caused by the corpse. An idea suddenly occurred to me. It was an extremely dangerous idea so I should ask Queenie’s opinion of it first before commanding everyone.
“Don’t throw me into the river if I die.”
“What do you mean?”
“When I die, bury me somewhere near the tribe. Mark where I am buried with a pile of stone or something. Even after I die, I want to be near the tribe to watch over everyone.”
Even if I can’t live like a human, I would at the very least treated like one after I die.
“I don’t quite understand, but I will follow your wish.”
“Thank you. Come towards my voice, Queenie, I want to hug you.”
After a bit of waiting, I finally felt her hand. We fumbled a bit awkwardly in the dark but finally, we were in each other’s embrace. After enjoying her body warmth a bit, I decided to ask for her opinion. Not wanting anyone else to hear what I was about to say, I moved my lips next to her long ears and whispered.
“Don’t let anyone else know this yet, but I don’t think we can dig ourselves out of here.”
She whispered back to me.
“I know, but we must keep digging till our last breath and try.”
“I want your opinion. If we keep on digging, there is no guarantee that we will reach the surface but at least it will be safe until we die of starvation. But, if there is a way guaranteed to get us out but extremely dangerous. Would you do it?”
“Whatever you decide to do, I will follow you to the end.”
I hugged Queenie tighter and take a deep breath to smell her hair. It had an earthy salty smell since we have been digging non-stop. They say that smell is the strongest sense tied to memory. I want to remember this moment in case one of us don’t make it. I enjoyed the silence a bit longer before I let her go and cleared my throat. I stood up and cupped my mouth to make my voice louder.
“Listen up everyone! Stop digging!”
I can hear everyone stopped moving around in the dark. I can feel everyone focusing on my voice. Trying to remember the few times I have been to church, I tried to mimic the style and pattern of the preaching pastor to maximize the speech’s effect.
“Throughout my life, I have heard the voice of god. Our goblin god. Each time I heard his voice, I had followed his instruction. He has never been wrong. Each time, he had guided me through seemingly impossible perils. This time, the goblin god has told me that it is impossible for us to dig us out. However he has told me there is another way. A way that is extremely dangerous. He has prophesied that many of us will die in the process, but those who survive this shall be worthy. This is a trial from the goblin god to see who is worthy of serving our goblin god!”
A murmur resounded throughout the cave. Religion is probably the best way to get people to do something stupid. What I am about to tell them to do is stare death in the face and ignore their survival instinct.
“Of course, you can choose not to follow the goblin god’s command and stay here. I will not push you to walk the road that I have chosen. If you do that, I can tell you with certainty that the goblin god will also abandon you. You will die in this very cave that you call home.”
Technically, I was not lying about this. Even with sixty goblins digging around the clock, we only managed to advance one meter a day. Whoever decides to stay will have no chance to dig themselves out. I wanted to scare everyone to follow me.
“So abandon your fear of death and follow me to our new home, a home that is promised by the goblin god.”
A roar of approval echoed throughout the dark cave.
“Pack everything up, we are all going for a swim!”