February 1, 2018 | Posted in The Mermaid & The WolF Adventures

The mining tunnel seems to stretch on forever. It’s easy to see where the residents of the asteroid quit working. In some places, there are still pick axes dug into the stone walls. At other points, the duo pass wheel barrows that are full of strange looking stones – some steal away the light, forming a surface so dark it’s hard to look at, and others share the same conglomeration of colors that can be found in a puddle streaked with oil.

And yet, with all of the remnants of working days, with the over turned lanterns and the residue of a working mine, there are no red bells to be found. MeaZea finds it hard not to hum the parting tune of the stob-goblins.

WooFZee, uneasy, asks, “do you have to do that?”

“Do what?” MeaZea blinks, confused.

A low growl builds at the back of WooFZee’s throat. “Keep making that sound.”

“Oh.” MeaZea’s face falls. She curls over the back of WooFZee’s head, burrowing her hands in his thick fur. “Sorry.”

On they walk – in silence.

Eventually, they come across a fork in the path. Both the left and the right paths seem identical. There’s no sign of life down either.

MeaZea groans. “How are we supposed to figure out which one is correct? Can you smell anything?”

“No.” WooFZee shakes his head. His tail droops down behind his back legs and he whines. “I don’t smell anything. This was a bad idea.”

Just as MeaZea is getting ready to agree with the wolf, a set of golden eyes appears in the darkness of the right tunnel.

The red bells ring
The red bells ring
We cannot hide
These mining roads
Are dark inside

The stob-goblin climbs over the walls, motions fast and jerking. It’s like a roach of some sort, with talons that dig deep into the stone.

Relieved, MeaZea says, “I guess that’s the way we go.”

WooFZee whines. “I guess.” He starts down the right tunnel. “You realize we’re going into this blind, right?”

MeaZea pats the hilt of her katana, which is once more strapped to her back. “It’s okay. We’ve got this, WooFZee. Whatever’s at the end of these tunnels, I’m sure we’ve faced worse.”

“Whatever’s at the end of these tunnels has driven the stob-goblins to violence,” grumbles WooFZee. He’s clearly not anywhere near as confident over the situation as MeaZea.

Still, the wolf never once tries to turn around or waver, for love and companionship can rule out any amount of fear and unease. WooFZee loves MeaZea very much – and so he will face down whatever rests at the end of the tunnel without complaint.

 

Katelynn E Koontz – Author