‘Why are you standing over there?’ He called back to me.
‘Are you serious?’ My feet were glued to the undergrowth, my clammy hands were stuck to my sides. ‘There’s no way I’m going in there.’
‘Come on. Don’t be a pussy!’ He hissed back.
When I didn’t move, he threw up his arms and turned on his heel. He muttered something to the sound of Such a girl as I watched him disappear into the dark cave. The dense array of trees towered all around me, their branches looming down like arms ready to snatch me up. The silence in the air was broken only by a soft rustling breeze as it made it’s way through their top-most spindly fingers. The bright moon had managed to illuminate the clearing just enough to give the shadows a blueish hue.
‘Frank?’ I called, ‘Frank, I don’t like this. I think we should go home now!’
I waited. I waited a second too long. When he didn’t answer, my heart started racing. Those finger branches picked up the breeze and threw it down towards the forest floor, kicking up little explosions of leaves and twigs. Again and again, these wind bombs hit the forest floor. They gained momentum and strength until great fountains of undergrowth cascaded all around me. A great whooshing sound rose and fell with each gust.
‘Frank!?’ I called out again, louder this time, more urgent. ‘FRANK?!’
‘Sissy!’ His voice was distant but I was sure I had heard it.
‘Frank? Are you ok?’ I called back.
Sissy… came the voice again. My heart jumped. Am I imagining things? Is that really Frank or just the wind? The noise was almost deafening now, but I took a big breath, shut my eyes tight and threw my voice out above it, ‘FRAAAAAANK! WHERE ARE YOU?!’
I wish I’d never opened my eyes because just at that moment, a thundering hum bellowed out from the depth of the cave.