(In case you haven’t read it yet, here’s a link to part 2.)
Whatever the woman was hearing shrieked, and her mouth shot open, and her eyes darted. She stared around, panicked. Her foot hit the camera, and it knocked over sideways in the dirt. The lens cracked, but the light continued to shine.
Her voice refused to come to her. Gone was all sound from the room until broken by the other’s human speech.
“Okay, gave you the chance. I’m lowering myself down, I’ll bring you back something shiny.”
While he walked to the lip, the entire structure shuttered, and the shell widened, making space for several humans. Down below, a concentric ring of spikes bound loosely to pinkish flesh and twisting hair-covered feelers moved around in a swaying dance, closing and opening several maws.
The one emerald shone again before blinking out.
He took out his hooks and dropped one straight down, watching the metal hit and submerge beneath layers of tentacles. The attached rope descended until it tugged on his body. Planting the other hook on the surface, the man placed his feet and hands on the rope and shimmied down, not looking at the direction he moved toward, but up at the rocky stalactites of the cavern space.
Sudden darkness, cave blackness, swallowed his frame, making not any sight of him possible for even a hypothetical someone else standing at the lip. The line tugged with weight pulling on it. After many minutes, the hook dislodged and the rest of the rope slid inside, slithering into freefall with a friction-induced hiss.
Can you even consider such levels of understanding consciousness? If it were to expand, it would still only be a fraction.
The woman on the ground bent low to her knees. Her pack lay open, still full of food and water and other tools. She shuddered, coldness creeping into her limbs. A rock cascaded down, hitting the side of the egg and bouncing to her side. She did not notice. She dug in the pack, looking around for something.
A stuttering wail of an animalistic beast deafened her ears, and the surrounding voices panicked and slid in and out of conscious reality. With one jerk of her head, her eyelids turned milky white, unseeing as a blind old woman. And, from her pack, she pulled a flare gun and placed the red cylinder on her tongue.
Such an interesting reaction.