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The Misty Valley
by Margo Fallis
Volume 2 Chapter 2

     The cats arrived a few moments later, coming in pairs; the black furry creatures formed a circle around Prysm and Poe. Behind the cats came the rats. Hundreds of them clustered together making a tight net around the two children. Their long, wiry whiskers bobbed up and down in rhythm with their squeaks.

     “Um, Poe? Don’t look now, but we have visitors.”

     “I can see that, Prysm. There’s no doubt Witch Lilith is behind this. She probably commanded them to trap us until she gets back.”

     “What can they do to us? They’re only cats and rats. We can stomp on them.” Prysm and Poe stood.

     Poe kicked dirt into the cat’s faces. The felines backed up a few steps, causing the rats to pile on top of each other. The noise was deafening. Poe did it again and then Prysm followed his example. “Keep kicking the dirt until we clear a path. When you see an opening, run to the haunted house. The witch must not be there right now.” Inch by inch they made their way closer to the rickety building. The creatures stayed close, but were clearly annoyed by the dirt, stones and broken twigs pelting them. One of the rats bit a cat, which turned and shredded the rat. Blood spurted everywhere. Everything went silent for several moments and then the rats attacked. The sharp toothed rodents outnumbered the cats twenty to one. Soon hisses and high pitched screeches filled the air. “Run, Prysm. Now’s our chance.” Without hesitation they scrambled to the witch’s house, slamming the door behind them. For a few minutes they gazed out the window, watching the animals biting, clawing and tearing at each other.

     “Now there’s something you don’t see every day, you dirty rat.” Prysm burst out laughing and Poe joined in.

     “It’s awful quiet in here. Stupid Witch Lilith must be gone to the bat cave. Let’s go downstairs and see if the cats are there.” Poe led the way down the stairs. “Hmm. The cage is empty.” He pulled the flashlight out of his pack and aimed it around the room. “No cats. Okay, where do you think she’d keep them?”

     “Do you think there are secret doors that might lead to a cave, or another room?” Prysm pushed on some of the stones. “They’re slimy.” She wiped her hands on her jeans.

     “I think you watch too much television.” Poe chuckled.

     “There could be one. Don’t make fun of me.” Prysm scowled and continued pushing the bricks. “Help me.”

     Poe shook his head from side to side. “All right.”

     They pushed every brick on the back wall and then made their way along the two side walls. Prysm felt cool air blowing through a crack. “Poe, come here. Do you feel that?” Poe stuck his hand up and nodded. “There is a secret room, or a tunnel. Help me push this brick.” Together the two shoved the brick. It moved into the wall and then all the other bricks above and below it separated. The grinding sound of stone on stone echoed in the small room as the hidden door opened. As soon as they could squeeze their bodies through they made their way inside.

     “It’s a tunnel. Wait, what if this door closes behind us? How will we ever get back?” Poe looked on the ground. “Here.” He handed her an old tin bucket. “Stick this between the door and the wall. If it shuts, at least it won’t close all the way.” Prysm did as asked. Both of them felt a wave of relief. “It stinks down here.”

     “It’s putrid. It’s like being in a tunnel full of elephant poo.” Prysm waved her hand in front of her nose to blow the smell away.

     “More like dinosaur poo. Let’s see where this goes. Wait a sec.” Poe aimed the flashlight’s beam at the ground. “We’re safe; no poo, no dead animals, no snakes, or spiders, or rats, or bats.”

     “Bats live on the ceiling, not the floor.”

     Poe aimed the beam of light upwards. “No bats. I hate tunnels. This is spooky down here.”

     “Are you claustrophobic?” Prysm touched Poe’s arm.

     “Am I what?”

     “Claustrophobic. That means you are afraid of being in tight confined spaces like this.”

     Poe exhaled. “I might be, just a little.”

     The tunnel went on for what seemed like miles, straight, yet slanted. “I think we’re heading downward. I wonder where it leads.” Prysm kept her hands in her pocket.

     Another hundred yards the tunnel veered to the left. Instead of a smooth surface, steps had been chiseled out of the stone, taking them deeper and deeper. “This is freaking me out, Prysm.”

     “Do you really want to walk all the way back? It would be uphill the whole way; I say we keep going.”

     “Okay. Watch your step; it’s slippery.” Poe shined the flashlight near his feet. “Ew! What is all over the steps?”

     Prysm moved closer for a better look. “Blood maybe? Sick. I hope nothing has happened to the cats. She wouldn’t kill them, would she?”

     Both of them heard a noise at the same time and froze. Poe whispered. “What was that noise?”

     Tink! Clink! Tink!

     “I don’t know.” Prysm whispered into Poe’s ear.

     Poe took a few steps forward and shone his flashlight. He saw that the tunnel turned abruptly to the left once again. “We’re near the end, I think.”

     The tapping sound made its way up the tunnel to Poe and Prysm. “It’s tinking again. Do you think it is Morse code?”

     Tink! Clink! Tink!

     “How would I know that? It sounds like someone tapping on a metal pipe.” Poe tiptoed to the turn and stopped. “I’m going to have a look. Be quiet. No sneezing, no coughing, no tripping!” He stuck his head around the corner and saw that the empty tunnel continued. “There’s a dim light ahead.”

Prysm followed being careful not to slip on the blood pooling beneath her feet. She spotted Poe lying on his belly. “No way, Poe! I am not lying in blood.”

“Squat then, at least until I see what’s in the room. It looks like a huge cave. Sounds carry so no more speaking.” Poe pulled himself to the edge of the tunnel and peered over. Twenty feet below sat a cage. Next to it were other cages. The entire cave was full of different sized cages. The one directly beneath him held three werewolves. Black cats, wolves with snarling teeth and beehives sat next to the werewolves. “Oh boy. This is bad.”

“What? What is it?” Prysm pushed her way to the edge. “Cages full of animals?” Her gaze wandered around the room. “There’s the cage with our cats, way over on the other side. Oh no! There’s Bella; at least I think it’s her.”

“Don’t let her see you. She’ll start meowing and draw attention to herself.”

“There’s nobody in here, just cages. Is that…is that Candi and her parents down there?” Prysm shoved her fist into her mouth. “I think it is.”

Poe struggled to see. “I’m going to turn on the flashlight again. There’s only one light bulb and it’s way too dark to tell. Hold on.” Poe aimed the light at the cage below them. Golden eyes looked up in recognition. “It’s Candi all right and her mom and dad. How did they get caught? If that witch hurt Candi again I swear…”

“Let me hold the flashlight.” Prysm focused the beam on the cage of cats. Bella’s green eyes lit up as the light hit them. “There must be fifty cats in that cage. Poor kitties. They’re all scrunched together and probably starving.”

“We’ve got to climb down there and open the cages.”

“Yeah, right. How in the world do you think we can do that? If we jump we’ll break our legs.” Prysm’s voice reeked of sarcasm. “We don’t have any rope unless you brought some in your backpack.”

“I’m going to lower myself down legs first. That will knock it down to fifteen feet. If I land on top of Candi’s cage, that will knock off another six or seven feet. I’ll be okay. You stay here until I try it.” Poe turned towards Prysm and sank to his hands and knees. He lowered his shoe-clad limbs over the edge. “That blood is slippery.” After finding a secure place to hold onto, he let his whole body hang loose and dropped onto the werewolves’ cage. He landed with a thud. One of his legs went into the cage, but the father werewolf pushed it out. Poe climbed down. “It’s your turn, Prysm. It’s easy.”

“I can tell. You almost broke your leg.”

“Just do it. You’re wasting time.” Poe watched as his friend dropped to the cage. She did it with ease and then slid from the bars to the ground.

“Okay. That wasn’t too bad. Hi, Candi.” Prysm squatted in front of the baby werewolf. “How in the world did you end up here again? At least you’re with your mom and dad. Poe, open their cage.”

“I don’t have a key. We need to find something to hit the lock with. One good thing is that everything is rusted and old. Witch Lilith is too cheap to buy new cages.” Poe and Prysm searched the cave, being careful to avoid the cages with wild animals in them. Poe came to a cage that held nothing but bones. “You guys didn’t make it.” He reached in and pulled out a leg bone. It was the size of his own body. “What kind of animal was this, an elephant? Maybe I don’t want to know.” He marched over to Candi’s cage and told the werewolves to move to the back. As soon as he started hitting the metal bars, the wolves started howling and all of the other animals became restless. It took about ten hits before the lock fell away. Poe opened the door and smiled at the werewolves. “You stay here with Prysm. I’m going to free the cats and maybe some of these other animals and then we’re outta here.”

The werewolves didn’t move. Poe broke the lock and freed the caged cats. Bella ran over to Prysm and leaped into her arms, purring and rubbing against her. The other cats galloped through a hole in the cave. Poe went from one cage to another, releasing all the harmless animals. He left the wolves, bears and black panthers where they were, much to the creatures objections. “Oh be quiet. I’m not letting you go so you can eat me.” Just then Candi’s father put his paw on Poe’s back and nodded. “You think I should let them out?” Poe gazed into the father’s eyes. The werewolf nodded again. “Okay, but don’t blame me if they eat us.”

Once all the animals were free, Poe, Prysm, the werewolves and Bella made their way to the hole. “Hmm. I wonder where it leads. Are we going from the frying pan into the fire?” Poe yawned. “I wonder if it’s still daytime.”

“I am not staying here in this room. It stinks too much of blood and suffering. Wherever it leads, can’t be worse than this.” Prysm pushed her way to the front. “Candi, how’s your leg? Do you want to come up here with me?” The baby werewolf leaped out of her father’s arms and rushed up to Prysm. “Good girl.”


“So what?” Prysm’s forehead scrunched up in confusion.

“So what was that tapping noise?”

“It didn’t come from the cage room. There must be another room. Oh great. I suppose that means we have to go and rescue whatever is making the tapping sound. Am I correct?” Prysm gulped in air and then blew it out.

“What if it’s people? Candi, why don’t you and your parents go and find a way out and take Bella with you. Prysm and I have some unfinished business.” Poe turned in time to meet the werewolves’ gaze. They frowned at Poe, their teeth showing, and shook their heads no. “You want to come with us? What about Candi? She’s just a baby. Can we take Candi and Bella and put them somewhere safe first? Witch Lilith is mean. Do you guys have names? I can’t call you Candi’s mother and Candi’s father all the time.”

Father werewolf growled his name. “Conri.”

Mother werewolf stepped up and grumbled hers. “Leeloo.” She then pointed at Candi. “Cailean.”

“Cailean? Her name is Cailean? Should we call you Candi or Cailean?” Prysm knelt in front of the baby creature. Which do you like best? Cailean?” The baby didn’t stir. “Do you want to be called Candi still?” Candi jumped up and down and snarled and snapped. “Okay. Okay. Your name is Candi.” Prysm turned to the parents. “I hope you don’t mind.” Both adult werewolves grunted. “I take it you don’t care. So we have Conri, Leeloo and Candi. My name is Prysm and his is Poe.”

“Great. Now we’ve all been formally introduced. Can we get out of here?” Poe’s impatience grew. Leeloo and Conri moved to the side and made all sorts of strange noises. When they’d finished, Leeloo picked up Candi in one arm and Bella in the other. The cat didn’t seem to mind. “I get it. Leeloo is taking Candi and the cat somewhere safe, but you’re coming with us. Did I get that right, Conri?” The male werewolf growled. “Let’s go and rescue whoever or whatever is in the other cave. First of all we need to figure out where that other cave is.”

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