“Not funny, Anders,” Paign said, his fist still clenched.
“OK, sorry. I’m just kidding around. This place is kind of giving me the creeps. It feels sort of like we’re being watched. So, what’s next?” he said, looking to Freida.
Freida, slowly surveying the chamber, finally said, “It’s getting late. We should start heading back.” She unslung her pack onto the floor, rummaged in it a moment, and pulled out a canteen and an apple. “We should eat and drink something, though, before leaving the cave. Once we leave here, we’ll need one hand free for the lanterns and the other for balancing.”
The boys nodded. Without saying anything, they fished out food and drink from their packs, quietly eating and drinking as they hiked back to the mouth of the cavern. Anders stopped to get out his lantern and trim it for maximum light. They could all hear that the wind had picked up while they were inside, so they dug out their extra clothing, donned it, pulled their fur-lined hoods tight around their faces and marched out into the deepening gloom.
Had they looked back into the depths of the cavern, in the dimness left in the center tunnel, they’d have seen the vague and perplexing movement of what would have certainly appeared to be rock stepping out of rock, until a pair of blood red orbs opened nearly seven feet above the floor…and blinked.
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