A trembling warm light, which could only come from a natural fire, flickered over the table. My eyes were stuck on its wood planks but my mind had flown long ago and was wandering through the infinite world of imagination.
A voice, apparently coming from a distance, started to get impatient waiting for an answer. My trip ended and I came back to the real world. My companion at the table tiredly asked me for the third time: “Will you do it?”
I had run out of time to answer, so I had to decide quickly. “I will”, I said while I kept my eyes on the table. The truth was that my situation did not leave me any choices, because I needed that contract. I went a little bit further and asked if I could be paid in advance. His answer was straight: “No. Those who went before you have not made their way back, and hoping that you don’t decide to run away, money will be of not use if you die.” He glanced at me smiling while he stood up to leave the tavern.
I stayed a while, wondering. Why someone like me without much experience? Was I bait? The only way to find out was to start my journey. I picked up my spear and put my shield on my back before I went through the door.
The place where I had to go was a cave, not very far from the tavern, around a three-hour walk. It would have been much easier if I had had my horse with me, but the animal could no longer be counted on. I had to sell it because I could not feed it and I needed to repair my equipment as well.
When I finally reached the cave, it was narrow, on a low hill close to the mountains. I lit a torch with my flint and placed my shield in front of me, and I slowly walked in. Natural light was left behind soon, so I tried to focus on what my ears could tell me. After a while, the temperature inside started to rise and I could see some brightness at the end of the corridor that the cave actually was.
I decided to leave the torch in one of the nooks of the wall and to grab my spear instead. The more I walked in the more I could see and, indeed, the warmth washing over me granted a pleasant feeling. At this point, I realized that the corridor took a turn to the right for the first time and there I found the origin of the light. I knew that I was about to discover the reason why I was there, however, I was not nervous at all, the atmosphere exuded calm.
I continued the last meters close to the wall up to the corner, and once there, I leaned out to check what was there, and although the image was disturbing, I kept my cool. There was a room full of dozens of people lying on the floor, but not in strange positions, they seemed to be simply sleeping, with serene expressions in their faces. How long had they been there?
Eventually, I looked towards the back of the cave, where there was a big, bloated, brownish being reigning over those people, and it was practically embedded in the wall. Its head was small and the eyes were closed. It seemed that monster was the origin of the warmth which made the room quite comfortable.
I stepped in to wake one of those people up so he could come with me and tell me what was happening there. I ducked to touch the shoulder of one boy who was close to the entrance, but before doing so, I took a look at the spawn again. This time its eyes were open, and their colour was warm orange, as if there was fire inside of its head and those little holes were the windows to it.
I did not panic, actually when it turned those eyes on me I felt gracious and all I wanted was for the world to stop. I started to have the feeling that I needed a little rest. The day had been long, my equipment was heavy and lying there, just like the others, did not seem such a bad idea. I got comfortable under the being’s gaze, and I peacefully closed my eyes.
When I opened them again my head was resting over my arms on the table. I had slept so well that I had lost track of time. The light in the room was poor, but its origin was close to me, which made it annoying. With my eyes barely opened I could see that the light came from the computer that was right in front of me. I stood up and checked that I had only written a couple of sentences for a 2000-word essay that had to be handed in the following day. This time, for sure, the laziness demon had triumphed over my will.
Edited by Maria Manso-Hogan