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Caverns

Chapter 1

"Okay, welcome to the Tether Carverns," the falsely smiling woman looked at the rather bored school children, "I'll be your tourguide, it'll be a event you kiddies will remember for a long time," the woman, also known as Miss Major wondered if that was avoidable. She didn't want to to remember a load of snot-nosed kids.

A redhaired boy turned to a girl with thick glasses and a smaller rounder boy, Miss Major wasn't positive but he looked like he would most likely cause a lot of trouble. She looked down at her register of the kids. She had been warned against one by the name of Carl Foutley, maybe that was him.

"This will be so great," Carl gushed, "do you suppose we'll get some bats. That'd be so cool," Carl grinned. "Train them, and scare Gripling or Higsby, or maybe both."

The girl, Noelle smiled, "Blake already seems scared, he hasn't stopped sweating since we got into these caves." The three looked to where the youngest of the class was sitting very near the entrance. He did seem nervous.

"Probably afraid of the dark," Hoodsey laughed. The platinum blonde must have heard him as Blake scowled darkly at Hoodsey.

"Shows how much you know Woodsey," Blake retorted. He winced as the two boys merely chuckled.

"Then prove it," said Carl, his face was more serious than before, "go on. I bet your too chicken to go right down into the bottom levels of the caverns," Carl grinned evily, "where it's really dark."

"I am not afraid of the dark," hissed Blake, looking nervously at the other children who thankfully weren't paying any attention to them. "I am not afraid of the dark," he repeated. He tried to ignore the fact that he was afraid of actually being in these caves which scared him. Though he was not going to be thought too scared to go to a simple field trip.

"Alright then, Noelle, Hoodsey and me will be with you, just in case you need a hand to hold, we'll break away from the group. How about it, or are Griplings all talk."

Once again, Blake's pride got the better of him, as it most commonly did. "Alright, we'll see who comes back with a smile on the other side of his face!" He stood up and rather forcefully shook their hands. He half forgot his fear in not making a fool of himself in front of Carl. He could not believe he had to go get a silly crush on Carl for all people, Brandon's monkey would have been a better choice.

"We're getting left behind," Noelle pointed to the children who were leaving with the tourgude and teachers in a haphazard line. The four joined the line, Hoodsey and Noelle in front of Blake, with Carl behind, too close for his comfort.

#*#*#*

So far it had not been so bad. Miss Major's lecture on the stalamites and stalacites were quite interesting. Though the loud yawning heard from the class disagreed with this. Though for Blake it had kept his mind off the ever nearing walls, and what he had promised to do. So far they had stayed on the top levels of the caverns and there was still wafts of fresh air between the foul stench of stale air.

Blake felt a tap on his shoulder and saw Carl's smirking face. He gestured for Blake to follow him, and crouching on knees and hands made their way through the class. From the corner of his eye he could see Noelle and Hoodsey do exactly the same. Soon Blake found himself near the entrance of the caverns, looking at a rather narrow dark corridor which sloped down, or at least that was what Noelle's torch has shown.

"You want to back away now Gripling, last chance,"

"Don't count on it," Blake replied, just as his mind screamed yes. He wiped a hand over his sweaty forehead and took a few deep calming steps. He moved rather slowly to the corridor, even his Gripling pride was not enough to make him move faster.

"We don't have all day Blake," huffed Hoodsey. Blake spun round sharply.

"I'm sorry, just trying to delay the time till you got yourself stuck," Blake retorted, a little sharper than he had meant to. Taking some uneasy steps and gritting his teeth he slid into the corridor, followed immediately after by Noelle, Carl and finally Hoodsey.

Almost exactly six steps later he found the fear and panic which had gripped him in Sully caverns returning. The overwhelming fear of being trapped and Blake shivered, forgetting that Noelle was extremely close to him.

"Ho.......how," Blake winced inwardly at the sound of his voice, "far down do we go?"

"As far as we can," replied Carl cheefully,"we should keep going as far as possible in a straight line," Noelle waved her torch over Blake's shoulder. The sudden light made the walls seem impossibly near, and Blake felt he much preferred the dark.

"We are almost out, we should take the second tunnel, it is easier to recognise," the corridor had almost come to a stop in a large roundish cave, with tunnels spewing from all directions. Blake almost found himself sprinting to get away from the cramp corridor to the more spacious tunnels.

"Which one?" asked Carl, grinning Noelle pointed to a tunnel with a zig sag looking entrance.

"We should............." the girl was interuppted by the sound of their names being called, "they have realised we have gone."

At that moment Blake could have kissed each and every single one of his class mates.

"Well," he grinned rather to cheerily at them, "I guess this means that we should go back, so sorry chaps, another time perhaps." he rather hurridly made his way to dark corridor which now for him seemed a wide beacon of light. That was untill he felt Carl rather forcifully pull him back.

"Your still going down, I mean we did shake on," Carl put his face close to Blake's which had gone paper white. He turned to Hoodsey and Noelle who were waiting patiently, one at the larger tunnel, one at the dark narrow one. "Listen, go back and try to distract them, me and Blakey- boy here will go in the tunnel. Say you saw us come in here, but don't know which one we took." Hoodsey and Noelle nodded at this, it was a good plan Blake admitted to himself. It just would have been better if he had been going as well.

As he watched with a heavy heart he wished not for the first time this day that he had left his school letter where it should have been left, in a trash can.

TBC