November 13, 2012

Beyond a Terminal Sump

Blackness was the word for the month. Total blackness. They were nearly three thousand feet down and over four miles from the mouth of J2. It would be a rigorous and exhausting four days of climbing and scuba diving to see the warm Mexican sun. The others had not succumbed to the darkness. They turned on lights every chance they had, but Lucian had grown to appreciate the blackness. He moved with grace though the endless cave without difficulty. He saw nothing, but he sensed his surroundings. Maybe, he thought, it was the smell. They were miles from the bat guano fields that released a smell that suffocated you, literally and figuratively. Down the tunnel four miles and beyond a terminal sump, the air smelled fresh, clean, light, and… black. Not black as a color, but black as an absence. Color is made from the reflection of light. With no light, there is no color, and there is blackness. With nothing to smell, it smells of blackness. Total blackness. Lucian took a deep inhalation through his nostrils and remembered all the blackness of his life: his hiding spot in the attic behind the sheet of drywall, being locked in his mother’s hope chest, being beaten unconscious by his stepfather, and the consuming blackness of matricide. Lucian turned to see the lights from the others scanning the cave for him. He grinned and snarled. He bent over and picked up a rock.

Once the lights were busted, they all succumbed to the blackness.


  1. I dig it. Evocative and engaging and ends with an ugly punch.

    Comment by M. Weber — November 18, 2012 @ 10:59 am

  2. One of my many fears…trapped under ground and the air is warm and I cant c….great short read.

    Comment by Donna Merritt — June 23, 2014 @ 8:28 pm

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