Sunshine in the Darkness

Plinks of water echoed in the closed space. Mud and rocks challenged Devin’s groping fingers as they sought purchase. His breath felt ragged, as if he were choking, though he knew the cave held plenty of air.

At a pause he gave a forceful whisper, “Sunshine? You there, Sunshine?”

“Daddy?” came a feeble thread of a voice that tethered his heart in tender knots and tugged it down toward his core.

“Hang on, Sunshine, I’m almost down!” The whisper was too loud, for the excitement was too much. Something rustled and stirred deep within the darkness.

“Daddy,” she called, “Daddy, I’m dripping.” Devin swallowed the string of swear words, which only made the knots in his stomach worse.

“S’okay, Sunshine. I’m right here.” With a gasp he slipped but only fell a few inches to the cave’s bottom. Struggling for bearings, he stood and listened.

Tiny breaths came from his left. Something heavy, rugged, and ancient, stirred to his right. Nervously, he rolled the unlit flare in his hand, calculating odds and praying.

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