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Andy's skin sizzled with electricity.
The voice laughed again, then dry leaves clattered in a whirl. It sounded like the girl was spinning. Laughing and spinning.
Andy squashed his eyes shut and pressed his face into the rock. He tried to obliterate the sound. He tried to crowd it out with pain.
Then, a scoop, and pattering. Crispy shapes sprinkled over him. A thud of soil followed.
Another scoop and more mischievous laughter. Sticks and twigs hit him in a jumbled mess and began to catch. The next shot piled up. And the next. The crack was closing from above.
Andy inhaled dust and shook with a fit of coughing. Already, the air was turning hot and unwholesome. As the piles built on his shoulders, the noises dulled.
The cold cocoon amplified Andy's staccato breaths.
Bad air. His lungs strained, laboring harder.
Then, something rustled.
In the deepest cracks where no light reached.
Andy wheezed. Faster and faster.
Something was creeping up.
Only a scrape and low hiss betrayed the approach.
Andy felt a brush against his ankle. Then, his thigh. His panting teetered on insanity.
On the side of his chest, an icy hand settled. A puff of air feathered through hair on his neck.
A giggle reverberated in the chasm.
Then, a tiny kiss. Behind his ear. The small, thin lips of a child.
"Daddy," it whispered.
Andy shrieked and bucked against the rock. He writhed. Again and again his feet kicked and slid down the stone.
He caught on something he hadn't felt before--a crack, wide enough to jam in a toe. With leverage, he slid upward for the first time.
Wildly, he punched his legs trying to gain more. He won another couple of inches. He was working loose.
He wedged, stuck fast again. Bryn's shoe in his pocket caught a lip of rock.
Screaming in an unending howl, Andy battered against the prison. His head beat against the sides in a frenzied rhythm.
Something deep in Andy's hip cracked and yielded, and he popped up. Blind to the pain, he slammed his weight slant-ways, and scaled up the widening space. Sticks showered down as his hands reach over the lip onto solid ground.
Andy heard his muscles tear during the last heave, but he was out.
And running as fast as his damaged strides could carry him.
On to Part 8, Final
Back to Part 6
Based on the legend of the Will-o'-the-Wisp