Friday, 1 November 2013

'Samson' Chapter 7 'The Cave'

'Samson' written by Dean Horton
CHAPTER 7 ‘The cave’


Samson picked up a brick and threw it toward the crow but it missed and crashed into the tree trunk, the crow did not budge; it just perched motionless and still it watched, watched Samson’s every move.  His cheek muscles clenched as he crouched down to pick up another brick; he brought his arm behind him and threw the brick as hard as he could; it left his hand heading directly for the crow; Samson could tell that the throw was true, but just before impact the crow hopped along the branch.  The brick sailed past the annoying bird and crashed into another branch further along; the crow cackled again before it took to flight; leaving Samson behind, it travelled back the way they had come.
With a worried expression Samson watched the Crow disappear around the bend in the path; something about all this bothered him!  Was the bird following him?  Perhaps the bird was leading them to him?  He swallowed nervously I think it is leading them; leading them directly to me!  Any normal time that thought would have been a stupid thought but this isn’t any normal time too much had happened, too much that could not be explained and this was just another of the unexplainable events to add to the ever increasing list.  Samson was not going to hang around to find out if the crow was leading them to him; he turned and began walking briskly.  Still holding the rucksack in his hand he dropped the water bottle inside; snapped shut the straps and slung the pack over his shoulder’s I’m outta here, gotta keep moving Samson! 

Samson walked for most of the day; he had no idea of the time as he continued walking it was relentless and tiring; he would stop every half a mile and take a sip of water, always cautious not to drink too much too quickly; his book had advised against this!  After hours upon hours of walking with no sign of anything except the odd animal scurrying around here and there, Samson had to rest.  He crouched down and filled his water bottle from the stream again before putting it back into his bag; his eyes searched around for somewhere to rest up, his legs were feeling the toll from his days march.  Samson now knew how soldiers felt; for that was how he now saw himself as a soldier on the run from the enemy.  If he didn’t rest up soon the chances were that his legs would seize up and if that happened he knew he would be in deep trouble.  The clothes he wore stuck to him, clinging tight like stretch-film; he could actually feel his moist trousers rubbing between his legs; chaffing his skin.  They had been rubbing him for a while; he had constantly been putting his hand down his trousers and walking with his hand between his legs; anything to stop the rubbing feeling!  If he was still a small child his mother would have put cream down there to stop the nappy rash; but he knew his mother was not here anymore, they had taken her away, taken her life; taken his world, he was the only one left, it began to dawn on him that he would never see any of them again, Samson was alone in the world, he had no-one! 
With heartbreak Samson dropped to his knees and began to cry, tears rolled down his dirty face making lines; not so neat lines as they formed their own unsteady route, a bit like his own route that day.  The tears came heavier now as they meandered down his cheeks; he used the back of his sleeve to wipe his eyes ‘what am I going to do?’  Samson was all out of ideas; at first it had seemed great just keep walking and he would find help; but in reality it didn’t work like that he had walked for near on a whole day and most of the previous night and he had seen no-one; not one sign of anybody; his situation was hopeless.  He had not seen one footprint, not a newly made path, no signs of food wrappers that some hiker may have left; he had not heard any sound other than the local wildlife.  The only consolation he had was that he had not seen those three murderers either; so long as it stayed like that he was safe but he also knew that the moment he bumped into them again he would be done for; he did not need any second voice to tell him that!
Feeling heavy and weak he unzipped his jacket and slipping out of it he placed it on the floor by his knees; next he leant over the stream and cupping his hands he splashed water all over his face and neck, splashing it up onto his head soaking his man-made headwear.  The water was cold; but it felt wonderful to feel cold again; the heat throughout the day had been unbearable; but deep down he felt good about the fact that he had been able to bear it; he had taken the heat, he had taken the terrain ‘hell I’m still alive aren’t I’ he muttered to himself while looking at his reflection in the steady flowing water of the stream.  He lay back on the dry ground looking up into the branches overhead; he could see wasps, bees , hornets all busy flying around; busy doing their daily routines.
Something bit his neck; Samson slapped at the spot; it was a good hit he felt whatever it was squash under his hand; he pulled it away and wiped the remains of the insect on his trousers.  Samson sat up; his eyes looked along the stream where he saw mosquitoes hovering above the slow flowing water time to cover up again I think he reached out to his damp fleece and pulling an uncomfortable face he slipped his arms back inside.  It was damp and immediately it stuck to his flesh it’s either that or I get bitten; you never know what diseases those things carry!  I can’t afford to catch anything bad he zipped the damp fleece up to his neck and opened up the rucksack where he took out the last of the biscuits.  Samson munched on the last of the biscuits; folding the empty wrapper he put it in the bottom of the rucksack, he was not going to leave any sign that he had been there; so his rubbish would have to go with him; that was something else he had read in the survival book.

Evening was approaching and judging by how far the sun had moved on the mountain side that lay in front of him Samson knew he would have to find somewhere to hide before it got dark.  Last night he had had no choice but to travel in the dark but now he needed to hold up; travelling at night was dangerous, he had been lucky so far in the dark how long will my luck hold out though?  During the previous night his ankle had gone down several ruts and he had tripped over on numerous occasions no, tonight I will camp down somewhere; I need to find a safe place!  Something else bothered him the men who were chasing him were not real men; he had seen that, the coloured mans features the way they moved around his face and the way their eyes glowed red in the dark.  Samson shivered it started in the base of his spine and travelled up to his neck; he had even sensed it, that they were bad and now his senses told him that the night belonged to them and he did not like that thought; yes, last night he had been very lucky ‘tonight I’m going to rest up, then see what tomorrow brings?’
Rising to his feet he picked up the rucksack and moved off into the undergrowth leaving the path behind him; he stopped suddenly and turned, something….he could not think what?  There was something on his mind, but for the life of him he could not bring it out into the open, Samson stood motionless looking around him, and then slowly his attention fell onto the area where he had just rested.  Samson looked at the bank by the stream; the bank where he had just lay; he could make out the land disturbed from his body yes that’s it… can clearly see where I’ve just been laying.  Bending down he picked up a small branch and made his way to where he had lay on his back; using the branch he swept the area, very gently covering the spot where he had been with leaves and dust ‘don’t get sloppy now Samson, you’ve come too far to fall.  He stepped back several paces and crouching down he studied the spot until he was happy with his result.  Still holding the branch he walked back into the undergrowth and placed the branch in the spot he had taken it from.  All day long he had tried his best to cover his tracks; and as they had not yet found him he must have done a good job so far; his senses were very reassuring!

Samson had walked around 800 metres into the undergrowth when he came upon a large bank it stretched away before him; he looked along the bank; looking for the safest route to take, his eyes caught sight of something!  Further along the bank off to his right and halfway down the slope there was a small clump of trees; just inside this clump of trees Samson could see a hole in the bank ‘a cave!’  If it was a cave he would have to be careful that there were no signs of a wild animal; but if it was empty it would make a great place to hold up for the night.  From where he stood now the cave was hard to see so at night time it would be even harder to spot; but then a thought came to him what if there is an animal in there and it attacks you ‘I need a weapon’ he felt stupid he was being chased by three men hold on a minute they aren’t men………three things and he had not even thought about getting himself a weapon how stupid do I feel? ‘How the hell do you defend yourself unarmed?’ he muttered to himself.
Samson scanned the ground around him, looking for a stick; something long enough to make a spear; he suddenly caught sight of a piece of branch around two metres long; he walked over to the branch and picked it up.  Samson held it tightly moving it from hand to hand getting a feel for its weight; he held it above his head then above his right shoulder, he nodded to himself happy with his choice.  He reached into his pocket and withdrew his penknife; opening the knife he searched for something; but he was not sure what he was looking?  A sudden idea came to him; he undid his belt from around his waist and pulled it out from the loops; next he used the blade to cut a long thin slither of leather; once he had got the long piece he used it to bind the penknife to the end of the stick.  Now you have a weapon ‘I don’t know what good it’ll do against a gun but what the heck!’  Samson re-threaded the belt back through the loops around his waist and tightened it securely; he picked up his spear and happy with it he headed cautiously toward the cave!
Several metres from the mouth of the cave Samson stopped and waited; he called quietly ‘hey’ the floor around the entrance did not look as though it had seen any activity it looked as though nothing had been there; there were no signs of animal tracks; and definitely no sign of humans.  But still he had to be careful, you could never be too sure, Samson picked up a brick and threw it gently into the opening which was around the size of three doors; he heard the brick land with a faint thud; nothing came out!  Holding the spear in front of him like a Zulu warrior he made his way into the mouth of the cave.  Samson was prepared for something to pounce, his breathing had ceased, yet still his heart pounded on his chest plate his whole body felt anxious.  He took another step his eyes constantly scanning every inch as he walked into the gaping hole, after every step he would halt and wait for several seconds before proceeding any further.  Once he was inside he carried on a little further checking out his new home; his home for the night anyway! 
The cave was empty there was no sign of anything having been in there for a long time; Samson walked in deeper.   The entrance chamber or mouth was around six metres square then it curved off into another slightly smaller chamber; the roof went lower as he moved into this second chamber, he noticed that in this second chamber there was another mouth halfway down along the left hand wall.  This opening was small and it was quite dark now ‘Samson you idiot’ cursing himself he slipped the pack from off his back and opening one of the pockets he pulled out his torch, instantly switching it on.  The cave lit up around him he knelt down by this second hole and shone the torch inside; it looked like it travelled back quite far; almost like a tunnel.  Samson lay there for a moment considering his options did he make camp here in this second chamber or try further down the tunnel?  It would get cold later as the night came and if he made camp here in this chamber there was no-way he could make a fire; the light and the smell would draw too much attention.  But if he were to move further into the cave through the tunnel there may be somewhere further inside; somewhere safe enough for him to have a little fire and keep himself warm? 
The thought of having a little warmth won him over; he left his pack on the side by the opening and grabbing the spear and his torch he crawled into the tunnel.  On hands and knees he crawled for around sixteen to twenty metres; his direction was downward all the way, his legs ached and the last thing he needed was for them to scrape along the hard floor come on Samson keep going you can rest up later.  Shining the torch ahead he could make out a dead-end, he sighed ‘what a waste of time’ his quiet voice sounded strange as it came back at him from the slight echo inside the tunnel, he let out an exasperated sigh.  Better get back to the surface he was just about to turn back, when he noticed something out the corner of his eye as he turned, he immediately turned back into the tunnel, it was not a dead-end, the tunnel moved off in either direction it was a T-junction!  Reaching the T-junction he shone the torch in both directions, left and right ‘eanie, meanie, minie, mo, which way shall I go?’  It amazed him again how strange his voice sounded in the confines of the tunnel; he looked along each tunnel; In both directions the tunnel carried on for several metres until again they turned ‘that way’ he took the tunnel to his left it was smaller than the route to the right; but that second voice in his head told him that was the best route to go.  Besides if this way was impassable he could double back and check in the other direction!
Two metres in this left hand tributary it curved off to the right; the roof lowered considerably and Samson was now belly crawling still on a downward slope; from the light of the torch he could see that it opened up further along the small tunnel.  After six or seven metres crawling, the tunnel did open up; it opened into a larger cavern; Samson lay in the tunnel and shone the torch around the cavern; stalactites hung from the ceiling; large shapes of calcium carbonate which had formed over hundreds probably thousands of years.  Water dripped from the stalactites gradual drips every twenty or so seconds they plopped into a small pool which lay in the middle of the floor stretching to the far wall.  Shining the torch back up to the ceiling he watched the water drip from the points; a steady “plop……plop……plop” he shone the torch at the pool watching the drips ripple in neat circles as they landed one by one.  They created patterns, the sound and the patterns that were being made soothed him; he shone the torch around the cavern again, then he looked back at the pool ‘the water must go somewhere?’ his echo whispered back at him.  He shone the light to the back wall to where the cavern dropped away ‘it must disappear through there’ his voice echoed quietly around the chamber.  This was where he would hold up for the night; he could chance a fire this far in and if the men came they would not be able to reach him through that gap; he looked back the way he had come and nodded to himself yes this a good place to hide out!
‘Right Samson; we’ve got work to do, firewood and bedding’ his voice was louder, it pinged from wall to wall, encircling his body you need to be quiet in here…..come on we’ve got to get a move on before dark with that he was back in the tunnel heading back the way he had come, heading back to the surface.  Once he was back in the second cavern he took off his headwear and put it into his rucksack; he could see that it was still light outside but he needed to move quickly and gather the things he needed before night time arrived.  Once the evening arrived it would not be long before the darkness came; that thought chilled him; sending goose-bumps all over his body; the darkness would probably bring them……. come on Samson; chop, chop, you need to get a move on!

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Akecheta had long since left the cliff face behind him; he had run for most of the day and now dusk was descending; he jumped and landed on a path; stopping instantly, something had his upmost attention!  Tyre tracks and recent ones at that he crouched down and felt the track, his fingers moved over the tyre ruts with a gentle precision, the feeling in his fingertips took in every contour of the jagged earth one or two days old he had a strange feeling in his nerve endings.  Rising to his feet he jogged along the track until two hundred metres later he again stopped motionless; up ahead he could see a car strange, someone has tried to disguise it?  Someone does not want to be seen as he looked harder into the foliage he could make out the make and the colour it was an old beaten up red mustang that is the car that they came her in, he could feel the evil emanating from it.  Without a second thought he had pulled the tomahawk from his belt and the bowie knife at the same time, holding one weapon in each hand.  He could feel the evil around the place as though the men who had travelled in the car had left a poisonous smell.  Akecheta could also feel that the men were not in the immediate vicinity but still he approached the deserted car with caution his weapons raised at the ready.  He moved silently across the ground toward the waiting car.
The tomahawk was held in his left hand and raised at shoulder height ready for any attack, the bowie knife in his right hand and out to the side; he was ready.  The car was now two metres away; his eyes scanned the floor at the tracks which had been left behind, Akecheta could feel his heart rate increasing fear is good and he knew fear was an impulsive instinct; just by looking at the tracks he could tell that there had been no recent activity around the car.  With his eyes constantly scanning around the deserted area he walked cautiously around to the bonnet and pushed his hand through some of the twigs until his palm touched the metal; with his hand pressed down firmly in the middle of the bonnet cold, that’s good his eyes were now drawn to a track that led into the undergrowth.  A track that someone had tried to camouflage anybody else would have missed it, but Akecheta was a skilled tracker.  Where he lived in the old reservations he was often asked by the local law agencies to track criminals who were on the run and with a one hundred per-cent success rate his gift of tracking was never questioned.  Definitely man made he walked on past the car and up the small bank until he reached the section that had caught his attention; four or five twigs were slightly snapped someone has walked through this place.  Akecheta stared down at the floor and noticed a boot print further inside sloppy, you try and hide the car and cover your tracks then leave broken twigs and boot prints?  Without any hesitation he followed the tracks; his movements still cautious and his senses were alert; he felt primed, he was ready for anything, that tingling feeling he had felt throughout the day was still there wakatanka is with me!
Stealthily he crept along the path, he crouched down and made out another set of boot prints, he placed the tomahawk back in its sheath and gently moved his hand along the set of prints.  He closed his eyes as he felt along the indentations in the ground you wear military boots and you’re lighter than the print back there!  Rising back to his feet, his senses heightened, he began following the tracks that had been left, he noticed a clump of trees and bushes and slowly he skirted around the edge, it was like a wall of leaves but inside there was cleared area.
Still holding the knife he stepped inside at a crouch ready for an attack, but none came, the cleared area was empty, but Akecheta could feel them, knew that the men he chased had spent a considerable amount of time there, in the place where he now stood.  As he scanned the floor he could now make out three separate sets of boot prints, his thoughts took him back to his floating dream and the three men he had seen.  As he looked further along he saw two indentations in the ground and instantly knew that two of the men had slept here.  He stepped over to where the men had slept and once again he crouched down and felt the floor, as he touched the floor a shiver crept along his spine, instantly he retracted his hand, his brow creased into a frown.  Still frowning he touched the floor again, this time no shiver came; but he was still uneasy, something he couldn’t quite put his finger on why did you sleep here and why only two of you…….where did the third man go?
Akecheta left the clump of trees that had been their base and cautiously made his way back to their car, once again he scanned the surrounding area, once he was sure that he was alone and unobserved he began checking the doors on the red mustang.  The driver’s door was locked and the one behind it, he walked around the front and then onto the passenger door that too was locked, he tried the door behind it; also locked.  He reached the trunk and moved his hand to the handle he turned and was about to walk away when it popped open.  ‘Well… about that for luck’ he opened the trunk wider and could see a radio transmitter/receiver with satellite connection.  The instant his eyes set site on their equipment the answers to his questions came to the forefront of his mind so one of you went walkabout while the other two get in radio contact ‘ok then but where did you go?’ 

Akecheta had followed the tracks that the men had left to their hideout and was now trailing where they had gone after they had left the hideout; his guess was that they had had some kind of military training; on the whole they had done a good job of covering their tracks.  But he did not have much trouble in tracking them; it was the smell; he could smell the evil that they had left wherever they had walked, it bothered him!  Before he had carried on tracking their movements he had sabotaged their car; letting down their tyres with the help of his large bowie knife and he had also pulled the plugs off the carburettor.  Now he was using the skills that his ancestors had used; his people were expert trackers, but still he progressed with caution the last thing he wanted was to bump into his enemy not just yet anyway! 

The journey continued and now as the dusk was settling heavier his feelings told him that there was an increased atmosphere up ahead; the evil was heavier, a lot heavier; he could make out a dirt track through the trees; this track by the look had a lot more vehicle activity.  The route the three men had taken was skirting the dirt vehicle track; their path through the forest was almost parallel.  It was then that he saw it?  Up ahead through the trees and the gloom of the coming night he could make out a building; it was a cabin and as soon as his eyes set sight upon it he realised that he had found the source of the evil atmosphere they must be inside he could feel the evil weighing heavily around him; with each step forward his nerve ends tingled!
He approached the edge of the clearing stealthily; once there he skirted the perimeter of the cabin, always hidden by using the trees; his bow was now out and he had an arrow ready to fire; Akecheta was ready for the coming confrontation.  Once he had done a lap of the cabin perimeter he decided that he needed to get in close quarters; he had not seen any sign of the men he had been tracking I need to get closer, I have to see inside.  He took off the rolled up blanket and placed it on the floor at the base of a tree, then he leant up his bow and his quiver of arrows.  With tensed muscles Akecheta pulled out his tomahawk and the large bowie knife; with his weapons ready one in each hand time to go!
Akecheta sprinted toward the cabin using the cover of the large Mitsubishi Warrior parked on the gravel driveway; he rounded the parked vehicle and with four more steps was leaning against the wall of the cabin.  His heartbeat was fast, the fear had returned, he knew he was close to the evil that Annawan had sent him to confront soon you will know if you truly are the fighter he stood stone still, motionless for two minutes regulating his breathing, his eyes were closed as he gently breathed in and out, preparing himself to move.  At last he opened his eyes, his heart and his breathing were under control, he glanced along the wall.  The window which looked out from the kitchen was two metres to his right, he shuffled toward the window still aware of the evil odour that lingered around the cabin, once at the window he stealthily glanced inside the room, instantly withdrawing his head so as not to leave himself in the open empty; the room is empty.  He peered inside again this time for longer; the room was gloomy but not enough to stop him from seeing inside; from this window he could see into the lounge; again that too was empty, he swallowed nervously.  He noticed the French doors were broken and had just been pulled too, but even with an open door as an invitation Akecheta still had to check out the rest of the cabin from the outside.
Next he made his way around the timber building until he came to the bedroom window; he felt a shiver go down his spine this feels strange following the same procedure as before he glanced quickly inside then withdrew while his mind replayed what he had just seen.  Bodies…….there are bodies on the wall and the bed!  Akecheta peered in through the window once more but this time for longer; his heart sank at what he saw ‘who could do this?’  Bile rose in his throat as the evil presence hung around the cabin; he wanted to feel angry but he could not all he could find inside him was pity ‘Annawan what evil is this?  That can do these horrors!’  Still looking through the window he could see down the dark hallway that eventually led to the front door; he could see writings on the bedroom walls and on the walls that panned the hallway, words that he could not read, a language that he did not know.  There were pictures and verses; he could feel himself becoming afraid, a cold shiver slid down his spine please help me Annawan, help me fight this evil.
There were no words spoken to him but something; some force or unknown power or a kind of sixth sense was telling him to do something!  Akecheta moved his hand down to the third pouch on the old belt that was fastened around his waist, he flipped open the flap and dipped his hand inside, withdrawing his hand he pulled out a handful of yellowy powder.  Without even giving it a second thought he began skirting the outside of the cabin sprinkling the powdery substance onto the ground; as he walked he chanted words that he did not know; he was almost in a trance as he carried out the ritual; his veins tingled with each second that passed.  Once he had completed a lap of the cabin; his own mind began to come back into focus; the evil feeling that he had felt earlier had subsided.  With one last look inside the cabin he turned on his heels and headed back to where he had left his gear; as he walked he felt a saddening in his heart ‘I should bury them’ you cannot it would waste too much time; time that the white boy does not have ‘well I will have to come back and bury them’ we will see! 

After walking and running for a further two hours Akecheta decided he would rest now, darkness was now descending on the wilderness.  He hoped with all his heart that the white boy was out of harm’s way; that little feeling told him that the boy was safe for the time being perhaps it is Wakatanka that is telling me?  He gathered up some fire-wood and piled it into a small mound; he held a clump of dried bark and shrub and using a flint he created small sparks which caught the clump of dried foliage instantly.  Holding the smouldering clump in his hands he knelt down by the mound of twigs; he placed the smouldering clump inside the small opening he had left at the base of the mound of twigs.  Crouching on all fours and bowing his head down low he began to blow; a gentle but constant blow, getting right under the small smouldering cinders.  Within seconds the mound of twigs was alight; he sat cross-legged watching the fire catch; his blood still felt strange; an unusual energy had been with him all day and was still with him now.  On the floor next to his bow was a dead hare that he had caught earlier, when he had left the cabin; he pulled out his large bowie knife and skinned the hare like a professional butcher.  Once the hare had been skinned he skewered it and placed it above the fire; he would eat and rest; then in the early hours of the morning he would continue on the quest to which he had been entrusted.  ‘Tomorrow will be a long day’ he whispered to the fire; his thoughts turned to the boy tomorrow I will find him and lead him to safety of that he was sure ‘Annawan will guide me!’

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