A Glimpse of Light

Deep in the tunnels, I had lost everything: guide, flashlight, matches, and now my courage. All I had left was the darkness, and a new friend.

The beast was hidden in darkness, but it was there, so close it was breathing on me—quick inhales followed by hot rushes of wet air. I considered my options. Running would be of little use here. The animal staring me down could undoubtedly navigate the maze with ease. It would be a routine task to run down and consume the occasional human who wandered too near its den. I wanted to panic, but there was no time.

So we spent the next long moments in a one-sided standoff: myself, frightened stiff; my foe, silent, calculating. Then, at the climax of my self-induced terror, the beast barked—once, tentatively, then a second, louder, calling out. My ears told me that the monster was turning around, trotting away.

I exhaled.

Minutes later, a flashlight turned the corner. The guide had found me. He was followed by his trusty retriever, a dog with an eerily familiar bark.

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