The Statement of Mr. Carson
A Short Story
"Good evening, gentlemen. I am fully aware of what reactions and conclusions you will succumb to once I have divulged my endeavors with my fellow adventurer and protégé, Mr. Wilson. It is truly not for the faint of heart. Oh no, you will experience fear with me tonight. I trust you are all prepared to hear my story. My story of fear and terror.
"As some of you may know, Mr. Wilson and I have always ventured to the far reaches of the globe. Reluctance never appears when someone tells us of a mysterious and wondrous place to which we cannot resist the temptation to explore. We have always ventured to the unknown. To places no one else would dare go. If no one else did it, we did.
"Mr. Wilson and I overheard a conversation while eating at the local tavern. The countenance of the conversers was that of bewilderment and bemusement. We could not resist as I have just said. We set down our half-finished pints of ale and walked over to the ever-encroaching crowd of people who fell into the pool of words themselves. As we stood among them we heard an amazing tale.
" 'Oh, yes, ma'am. This place was indeed dangerous. The caverns glistened from the small pool of water that refracted our lamplights. The stalactites and stalagmites were of other-worldly wonder. They were twisted and formed in a fashion that would seem impossible. This was the first thing that caught our eyes as we came into the caverns. We took it upon ourselves to venture deeper within this cavern. We vaulted over the rocks and boulders to find we had just entered a large atrium. The enormous cavern contained a blue, shimmering pool. We, meaning myself and my dear friend, Roger, tried to get closer to the pool and discovered that its blue sheen came from an unseen source as if the color came from the abyss. We discharged this account and went deeper into the cavern. I'm sure more or less at this point that you are wondering which cavern we came to.' "
"The crowd murmured to him to continue his bold tale. Incessantly, he continued.
" 'Macnair Caverns is the place. Just off by the Darfaunt Woods.'
"After his divulged statement of the whereabouts of this strange yet beckoning location, we set off to look for it.
"We traveled on horseback. The caverns were many kilometers away from the town at which we just departed from. A walk would be unbearable. We would be encumbered by the weight of our own bodies on our feet. We galloped at a slow, yet insistent speed through the plains, the forests, the numerous hills, into an encroaching storm. Faint thunder could be heard periodically. The cumulus clouds were alit. Despite the visage of black clouds in the mountains before us, we continued our trek to the Macnair Caverns.
"Very soon, we came upon the sight of the caverns. The mouth of the cave was surrounded by jagged rocks that proved discouraging. The trees withered and bent away from the mouth as if to get as far away from something as it could. We observed the cave for quite some time until we grew weary of this continuous pondering. We walked to the mouth, horse reins in hand, and I could have sworn I heard a silent, slivery laugh emit from the cave. I debated this claim for quite some time but discarded it because of its lunacy. I reached for the pouch on the saddle of my steed, and pulled out a torch, and lit it with a simple flint rock.
"As we came close to the now gaping mouth of the Macnair Caverns the horses grew restless and started to neigh and jump away from the caves. We tried to calm them, soothe them, but with no avail. Mr. Wilson and I could no longer grasp their bucking forms, and so, their reins snapped from our grip and they fled into the Darfaunt Woods. Their vigorous gallops faded away from our ears and vanished into space and time. We indeed did fret from our loss, but our enthusiasm raged on within our minds. We turned our gaze back to the beckoning mouth of the cavern. And that is when my protégé, Mr. Wilson spoke.
" 'Mr. . .Mr. Carson? This cave sends shivers up my spine. It doesn't set well with me. Can we turn back?' "
"And I replied: 'Why Mr. Wilson, when we have gotten this far? If we turn back now we will miss our chance of seeing this cave's magnificence. We may yet find something worthwhile. Oh, yes. We will indeed find something in these caves.'
"He seemed to have thought about this for quite some time but with sincere reluctance, he gave in. 'Whatever you say Mr. Carson. I will follow you,' he says. I turned once more to the caves and stepped forward with Mr. Wilson following.
"We stepped into darkness. A darkness that has never known light and never will.
. . .
"The ever-persistent dark encroached upon us instantly as we stepped through the rocky threshold of the cavern. We stood for a moment, adjusting our eyes. After a few seconds I called for my protégé and he answered back with a shivery voice.
'Come, my friend. Try to stick close. If we lose sight of each other make sure to call out.' I could vaguely see his head nod in acknowledgement, but the torch gave adequate light. I turned away and pressed on into the mouth of the cave and into the bowels of hell. The rocky floor was wet and made a slippery sound as we walked. The floor glistened with a qualitative luster of which I never seen the likes of before. It gave a weird ominous glow; not of white light, but of blue light. It was faint, but you could see it well enough.
" 'We both said nothing for minutes as we went deeper. The precariously placed rocks on the floor were jagged and I succumbed to a slight slip and nearly lost my footing, but I managed to keep myself up. 'You all right?' asked Mr. Wilson.
" 'Yes. Just a slight tumble.' I gave a slight grin but there was no sign that he saw it. We righted ourselves and continued on. The torch by this point was losing luminosity, and this made me very uneasy, for if we lost it, we would be helpless in the dark. I discarded this conundrum from my conscious and pressed on.
"It was more or less at this point in our quest when I grew weary of it. Where was the blue pool the man mentioned in his tale, I asked myself? Where is the beauty that resides in these caves, if any? Mr. Wilson was in front of me. I watched him side-step around a rock, step over another, and another, and another. I just watched his feet not looking around. Ignoring the entire world except for his footing. I shook my sight from his feet and looked around trying to think straight. This cavern seemed to have a weird effect on me. I can't explain it. I felt dizzy for a moment. I shuddered when there was no cold. I looked at Mr. Wilson's feet for minutes. I wasn't myself. I could voluntarily still do my normal actions and behavior, but there were moments of complete involutariness. I didn't know what to think of it. For a long time I shuffled between thoughts until I heard Mr. Wilson scream and then the ensuing fall which befell him. I was maybe ten feet behind him from where he fell. My ears could hear that his fall was sufficient enough, I would think, to break a leg. I shook myself from my thoughts and called out to Mr. Wilson. I walked quickly to where he fell but I was wary and felt for the precipice from which he had fallen from. I held the torch low above the crevice to try and see my friend but I could not. I called out for some time but no answer came. 'Mr. Carson!' he yelled from below with a shivery voice.
" 'Wilson, are you all right?" I called.
" 'Yes, but I may have broken something.'
" 'Can you walk?'
" 'I think so. I'll try.'
" 'I'm coming down.'
" 'No! Don't come down. Don't come down. It is treacherous.'
"I heard him groan as if he was rising. I could only hear him, not see him. I couldn't see anything. Nothing but the rocky floor surrounding me. I heard a final grunt as he, I would think, stood up.
" 'Are you all right?' I called.
"There was an uncomfortable moment of silence that seemed to grab my head and smash it into a rock. It was probably the most unnerving moment of my life. It was quite some time before I gained a response.
" 'Oh my God! Carson it's monstrous--terrible--unbelievable.'
" 'What is it?'
" 'I can't describe it. It's beyond palpable description. It's hideous. Please. For the love of God, turn back Mr. Carson. Run for the exit. Don't come for me.'
" 'No! Turn back. Leave me. I am done for. Back! Back! BEAT IT! GET AWAY!'
" 'Wilson!? Wilson! Can you hear me. Wilson?' Then something horrid emitted from the depths, a voice so terrible and devilish, I would dare not hear it ever again.
" 'You fool. Wilson is DEAD!'