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Hearing my name being called from the back door of my Mom’s house, loud enough to be heard over the garden tiller, I shut it off.
“Yea Mom?” I answer after wiping sweat from my face. Walking towards the backdoor a little I can see her better.
“Brand, your Auntie Willow just called. What she was trying to tell me I have no idea! She was in an absolute panic and I couldn’t understand a word she was saying really, through all those tears. The most I caught was she needs you and it has something to do with Melody.” I see my mom drying her hands on a dishtowel. “Would you run over there and see what’s got her in such a twist?”
“Sure I’ll head over.”
Going over to the fence I grab up my shirt but don’t put it on just yet. I’m soaked in sweat from running that damn tiller for the last two hours. Damn it, I was almost done though.
Wonder what the hell Melody needs.
Hopping into my truck I crank it up and take off the four miles to my Aunt and Uncles place.
As I pass the new shopping mall and Wal-Mart that going up I shake my head again at my families stupidity.
Looking out the windshield at all the farmland going by me. It should all be still in the family, just like the land the new Wal-Mart is sitting on should have been.
You see my family owned this whole valley about a hundred years ago. It’s even called Thrasher Valley.
My great grand father came here back in the eighteen hundreds and bought this place for a song. The civil war was over and he had the money from somewhere. It’s not told where he got it from but he had enough to buy up this whole valley.
Over the years it’s been sold off piece by piece.
Now only four little farms, hardly big enough to be called that, remain in the family.
The cold air through the open window of my truck soon has me dried off. Even a little chilled.
Turning my truck off what was once the family road between fields I turn onto the long gravel driveway up to my uncle’s house.
When I pull up outside the door opens before I can even get the truck shut down.
My auntie Willow comes running out the house and jumps into my arms before I’m half out my truck. Crying her head off her hands clutch at my bare skin.
I pat at her shoulder till I get her to calm down a little.
“You’ve got to calm down enough to tell me what’s happened.” I tell her getting a little nervous now.
She thrusts a piece of paper into my hands.
I open it to Melody’s flowing writing.
“I’ve gone to Lyric caves. I’ll show them I’m just as good as they are.”
Looking up at my aunt I can see the worry in her face.
“When did she leave?’
“Sometime this morning! I thought she was going shopping with her friends.” My Aunt is wringing her hands. “Oh god Brandon what if something happened to her?”
I look at the setting sun. Maybe an hour till dark.
“Easy now. I’ll go get my stuff and go see if I can find her. Where are Todd and Jason?”
“They drove down to the game!” she claws at my bare back again. “They won’t be home for hours.”
“It’s okay. I’ll find her. Now call sheriff Tompson and tell him what’s happening. If I don’t show back up by midnight he needs to get someone out there with some caving experience. When my two cousins get their asses back from the football game send them up to the caves.”
When I finally manage to get her off me and I pull on my shirt and head back to the house.
“What’s that fool girl thinking!” I say to myself as I drive.
I know the answer.
I have a grand total of thirteen cousins. If you include my brothers and me there are sixteen boys and one girl.
Want to guess who keeps constantly feeling like she has to prove she’s as good as the others?
Mom about has a come apart when I get home and tell her what’s happening.
“We…! That girl! Eighteen years old and still wild as the day she was born!” Mom follows me about the house as I grab up what I need.
I’m double checking my caving gear and tossing it into the back of the truck when she drops a bombshell.
“It’s all your fault”
Turning to my mom with a bag in mid lift my jaw drops a bit…
“My fault? How the hell is it my fault?”
“You got all your fool cousins interested in those caves. If you hadn’t taken that stupid job. If you had just gone to work with Mr. Farsen like I wanted you to none of this would be happening.”
I just look at my mom for a second then slowly nod.
“Right.” I say drawing the word out into a long breath. “Yea it’s all on me. None of the others ever get into any trouble without me doing it first. Although how that works since I’m the second youngest I’ll never know.”
“Stop being a smart ass and go find your cousin.”
I hop into the truck.
“Be careful. Find Melody but you be careful as well.”
“I will. I know those caves better than anyone in this county does. I’ll find her.”
I can see where she cut through the chain with a set of bolt cutters. ümraniye escort The metal grill that covers the top of the entrance is still resting back against the side of the dogwood tree next to it.
“Melody!” I stand back from the entrance and yell. I know better than to be yelling inside the cave. That was one of the first things I was told when I took the job as a tour guide at a large cave, tourist trap, not far from the college I attended.
The job, like the college hadn’t really worked out.
Slipping my coveralls on over my underwear, I leave my clothes in the car next to the change of clothes I grabbed for her to wear. Old stuff of mine, a pair of sweats and a t-shirt, but it will do her till I get her home. There is no way she’s getting into my truck in what she wore into the cave.
Grabbing a roll of duct tape I tape my pants legs to my boots.
My headlight flickers on then goes very bright. I adjust the sweat bandana and tighten the cap.
“Okay. Here we go.” I say softly to myself as I walk into the opening.
Descending into the cave the wet smell of mud is almost instantly there. Then the cold chill of the draft starts to wash past me.
My headlight illuminated the walls where people have brought cans of spray paint and painted their names and shit. Those end after about the first thirty feet.
At that point the cave takes a sharp turn and the little sliver of light that’s the outside world fades out of sight.
The paint happy fools don’t ever come this far. Hells other than a few guys like me who love these dark places I imagine only a few have. I know one kid got lost in here about five years ago. That’s when they put up the metal grating across the door.
Hearing a squeak I look up. In my light I see one of the little dark furred bats clinging to the walls about ten feet over head.
It’s because of him and his ten thousand kinfolk’s that the sheriff didn’t just back a concrete truck up and cement in the opening. The opening in the metal grating is big enough for the bats to get out but not for people to get in.
Right…. And no one owns bolt cutters in this county.
Sixty feet in and the walls fall away to either side. My little light struggles to light, Song cave, as it’s called. My brother and I, when he was still home and not overseas playing in the sand, brought a generator out here and ran power cords down too here once. We had one hell of a beer party that night with about thirty people we led in here.
I was one of the more than a few that tested out the acoustics of Song cave with a girl in one of the little shadowy side pockets.
Because of that I know this cave is safe to make noise in.
My voice echoes back to me from a dozen different directions.
I wait five minutes in the silence then I call out again.
“Damn it, if you got me down here and this is all a hoax I’m so gonna beat your ass. Girl or no girl!” I say mostly to myself in frustration.
As I turn towards the largest of the passages out my light shows me a boot print in the mud.
I find another about ten feet in.
I know that this way links up with a second cave. The entrance to it is about four miles away from Lyric’s entrance and you would have to be smaller than a dog to use it.
While it’s the biggest cave out of Song, I have almost never have gone that way.
Those caves can be dangerous.
A lot of tight spots you can get into before you know you’re there. A lot of places where the tunnels you’re following ends but when you turn around you’ll see a second passage that was behind a rock. It’s easy to get turned around in.
Unbuttoning my pocket I pull out the piece of yellow chalk I was taught to always carry when underground. Under the lamp light it glows like a street sign. I make a large arrow on the wall and checking my watch note the time under it. I put my B.R.T. initials next to it.
“Be right there.” I say softly to myself. The old joke was never funny but it brings me a bit of a lift to sagging spirits as I head into the twisted labyrinth of passages.
About four hundred feet or so in I find where someone other than Melody has been through here since I was here last.
Some fool took a hammer to one of the passages and chipped it a bit wider!
“Damn cave has been here millions of years, some jackass thinks it need to be improved upon.” Settling the small pack on my back I watch the floor for more of her footprints.
About twenty minutes later I find a Snickers wrapper that’s not at all muddy.
Look up at the ceiling above me I decide to risk a bit of noise.
“Melody.” I say in a loud call that’s not quite a yell.
Ahead of me I hear a reply. It’s very faint but I catch the word “help”
I move forwards with a bit more speed through the mud-smeared passages. I slip at one point and tweak my ankle good between two large rocks.
Looking up I see the guy with the hammer came at least this far.
Again üsküdar escort comes back the faint reply for help.
Pushing my way through a narrow passage; sharp rocks the fool chiseled tug at my coveralls. I slide through, the slick mud a cold wet against the palms of my hands.
Lifting my head I see a pair of boots stuck out the end of a tunnel.
“Melody!” I pull myself over to her.
“Yea it me. Are you okay?”
“I can’t move! I’ve been stuck here for hours…I think. I crawled in and something caught. I’ve tried to move forwards and back and can’t budge.”
“Well hold still.”
Unclipping my light I set it and my bump cap aside. Leaving my backpack next to it I crawl into the tight passage next too her.
I follow my cousin’s feet up to her legs then on up to her ass.
Funny never noticed how nice an ass she has.
“Well thank you, but could you get me out of here and admire it latter?”
I realize with a blush I must have said that out loud.
With a chuckle I slide in closer to her. I slip my arm along the ceiling till I hit her pants.
“Brand, this is really no time to be copping a feel.” I hear her say, then a wiggle of her hips brings my hand into compression against the ceiling.
“Stop that. I’m trying to reach whatever has you caught!” I’m half tempted to turn my hand and give her ass a pinch!
Slowly she settles back down a bit and I try to reach higher.
I pull back my hand when I feel sharp rock. That fool with the hammer again! I move my hand along her rather soft ass till I find where her pants are hooked on a rock. Pushing them down I reach past that to where I find her belt caught tight between two more of the sharp rocks. Higher up and her bra strap is also caught. I can feel the wet mass of her hair just above my hand.
“Try to slide back a bit. Take it slow.”
I feel her shift around and push back against the floor in front of her. I can feel, through her body, pressed up against my side, when her hands slip.
“Damn It.” I hear her say softly. “I can’t get a hold of anything. Everything’s covered with mud.”
Bracing my shoulders against the sides of the passage I grab her hips and start to give her a pull. I feel her wiggle a bit then start to slide. She half turns as she comes even with me.
Suddenly I’m just inches from Melody’s face looking into her wide blue eyes. Our lips are mere inches across. I notice this at the same time I’m holding her in a rather lovers like embrace, my hands filled with her hips and waist.
Her face moves the few inches to me and I feel her press her face into the side of my neck. I pull her tighter when I feel her starting to cry.
“It’s okay…it’s okay, I’m here. You’re okay Melody. Hey, you’re okay.”
She sniffles. Slowly she pulls back and looks up at me.
“I’ve been stuck there for hours, Brand. I tried to yell for help but all I did was scare a bunch of bats. I thought I was going to die stuck in here.”
I run my muddy hand across her muddy hair.
“Don’t you ever come into these caves alone again. Do you hear me?” she gives me a nod. “Now come on, there is a very frightened woman at your house.”
“Oh God I know. Moma’s going to be so mad at me.”
She starts to wiggle back a bit more and I help her to squeeze out into the bigger room.
I know my eyes go wide when I hear the crash. I also know it doesn’t help me a bit as the world around me goes pitch black!
“Oh God, No!” I hear her say in a panicked scream.
“Easy, easy!” I say as I’m turning myself in the tunnel. Catching her hand, she claws at my arm like a drowning person pulling their rescuer under with them. “Easy Melody. Don’t panic.”
“Brand? Oh god Brand I’m sorry. I kicked your light! Oh God I’m so stupid.” Her words are a panic ridden ramble of noise.
“Melody! Shut the fuck up!”
Except for her harsh breathing I can hear her go quiet.
“Thank you. Now I’m going to slide out there next to you.”
I begin to wiggle. I feel her other hand catch at my coveralls as I move next to her.
Her hand brushes across my cock!
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
“And you said I was trying to cop a feel?” I tell her teasingly. When I go to sit up I bump my head in the endless darkness.
“Ow! Fuck that hurt!”
Little sparkles dance before my eyes for a second. I don’t know if it’s from the blow to the head or if my eyes are so starved for light their sending panicked flashes to my brain.
Reaching out into the black I feel my hand touch her body somewhere.
“That’s you thigh right?” I ask after a second.
“Yea just above my knee.”
I give her leg a pat.
“Okay, now slowly I want you to reach out around you. Search the ground, we’re looking for my pack. It was sitting next to the light you kicked. Where is your flash light by the way?”
“It went dead.” I can hear the fear in her voice. “When I was trapped yenibosna escort in there I tried to turn it off to save it but I couldn’t take the dark. Not alone. It’s not so bad now because you’re here.”
I reach up to pat her shoulder.
Nope that’s not a shoulder. I lift my hand a few inches and find her shoulder on the second try. Neither of us mentions the first touch.
“Okay, lets find my bag. I’ve got some big glow sticks in there.”
It soon becomes an impossible task. I run my hands through endless amounts of muddy floor but I can tell I’m getting turned around. Twice I find her leg, once her hand.
“Damn I wish I had my cell phone with me.” I mutter to the darkness.
“You wouldn’t get a call out through all this rock.” Her hand finds mine in the dark and I give it a quick squeeze. “I have mine but it won’t get a signal.”
I run my hand up her wrist, then her arm. I cross her shoulder and the side of her neck. Reaching behind her I find her muddy hair.
“Ow! You ass! What was that for?”
“Use the light on your phone to find my pack you twit!” I tell her in a huff.
The silence in the dark is mind numbing.
“Sorry. I didn’t think about that.”
Sighing in frustration, I hear cloth moving then my eyes are hurt by the blaze of yellowish light that drives spikes into my brain. After a second I open my eyes and look around me. The cave has a very different look under this light.
Shadows shift strangely as I move around her and finally see my bag. I have to wiggle a bit to get past her. I feel her along the side of me as soft warmth in the cold mud then I have my bag and back pedal to where I was.
Pulling out the two, foot long, glow sticks I break and shake them. Soon the pale yellowish light of her phone is hidden under the brighter light from the sticks.
I hand one to her.
“Next caving tip. Always bring more than one source of light. Now look for my hat and the light you kicked.
I soon hear her moving something.
“Here it is.” She hands it over towards me. “Sorry.”
I give my head a shake to show there are no hard feeling and take a look at it. I pull the back off it and find the wire that’s come lose. Basically a cell phone battery on a dozen L.E.D. lights I soon have it back up.
With all this light I take a good look at my cousin for the first time.
She is covered in mud from her head to her toes and shivering in the cold. Her clothes are soaked and plastered tight to her skin. I can make out the points of her nipples through her shirt. Her face is a muddy mess and so is her hair. Blood is dripping unheeded from one of her hands. I slide over next to her and take up her hand.
I see the ragged cut across one palm. It’s smeared with a mixture of mud and bat guano.
“When we get out of here I want you to go get a doctor to look at this. The chanced of this getting infected is very high. Let’s see what I can do.”
I drag the small first aid kit from my bag. It’s hardly bigger than a paperback book but it has at least a few things for cuts.
Taking my canteen from my bag I wash her hand with as little water as I can. I then give her some to drink along with a couple of Ibuprofen to take the edge off.
The bloody gap is long but shallow. In my expert opinion, which is worth very little, I don’t think it needs stitched. I pull out the tube of super glue I added and with a few drops close up the cut. Smearing it with Neosporin I wrap the whole thing in gauss and tape.
“That’s about as good as I can make it for now.”
Looking up into her tired eyes the look on her face is a mixture of embarrassment and gratitude.
“Thank you Brandon.” She gives a sniffle. “Thank you for coming to get me.”
My cousin leans in and I feel her lips, warm and soft, against mine.
I don’t know what I expect when she leaned forward but that wasn’t on the list. I start to pull back a bit then her hand comes around to catch the back of my head and hold me in place. I very slowly tilt my head a little and kiss her back.
It’s several long minutes before we slowly drift apart from each other. I see her eyes flutter open. She gives me a slight smile.
“That was nice. I guess were kissing cousins now huh?”
I smile a little confused and nod.
“Yea.” Able to see in the light of my lamp I look down at my watch. I have to wipe mud from the face then I’m shocked to see how much time has passed.
By now her brothers should be getting home and franticly grabbing gear to come help. The sheriff may already be outside with a team getting ready to come in after us.
“We need to go. A lot of people are worried about you.”
She nods. I can see the embarrassment on her face again.
As we start to leave the small low ceiling room there is suddenly a massive rush of bats down the passage. I hear her scream just seconds before I find her in my arms again. Her face is buried against my neck. I hold her to me as they little brown creatures of the night go past us with what sounds like a thunder of wings in the silence of the caves.
Just seconds after they pass there is a loud thump from down the passages the way they came from.
“What was that?” Melody asks me suddenly. She turns her head away from my neck to look down the tunnel. Her mud slick hair is against my cheek.
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