“Shake off the sleep or booze there, Cotton,” Buddy said leaving Father Pleasant in shock at the window. The old man grabbed two bags by the door and threw one into Father Pleasant’s arms. “Are we ready for this?” He asked, knowing his own answer and expectant of the priest’s.
Father Pleasant looked up, pulling a flashlight and stun gun from the contents of the bag and responded, “Yes we are.”
The two men rushed out the door and through the yard, the pack of small dogs yapping at their heels. Their direction was the same direction they saw the small goblin creature run, the same direction that one would take to the old mines at the edge of Billington’s Wood.
At the end of the yard they hit the chain-link fence, they smacked through the hinge slap gate, leaving the sneezing, yipping dogs behind. They ran through the darkness, the yard of mostly crabgrass quickly giving way to the surrounding brush.
Father Pleasant was amazed, for an old, awkwardly shaped man, Buddy was slicing through the woods like an animal, like a predator breed for the hunt.
“Do you see it?!” Father Pleasant yelled at Buddy.
“No, but I can smell it! I know where it’s going!”
Father Pleasant didn’t have to ask. They were running toward the mines.
The pair’s flashlight beams strobed through the woods, casting shadows off trees and branches, shadows that took the most terrifying forms, especially when chasing the unknown.
Above, through the crown shyness, the bright moon illuminated the pillow clumps of white-trimmed dark-grey clouds. As Father Pleasant looked up, he was astounded that he hadn’t fallen flat on his face yet, amazed that he still had it in him. A taunting branch slapped him in the face, cutting his cheek. He decided to not let the poorly timed injury bring him down. He was still doing alright keeping up with Buddy.
The running seemed to go on forever. With each step, Buddy seemed to be getting further and further in front of Father Pleasant, but Father Pleasant could still hear him, could still follow. Just when he thought he would lose him the brush opened up and showed Buddy shining his flashlight on a deep dark hole in the rock, a black cave in a black night, the entrance to the old mine.
“I liked this better in theory,” Father Pleasant panted, doubled over holding his frame up with his hands on his knees.
Buddy just turned back to him with a finger to his lips and Father Pleasant gave him a nod.
The priest nodded in return, happily giving the lead to the old hunter. Out of habit, Father Pleasant gave his flashlight a couple of smacks to be sure that it wouldn’t go out at an inopportune time.
With only shared glances the two men begin their descent into the old mine at the edge of Billington’s Wood.
The walls were narrow and cold as the tunnel quickly slanted down. Each man had one hand on their flashlight and the other hand dragging across opposite walls for stability. Through the darkness, the only sound was the reverberated echos of the rocks as they slipped from beneath their boots as they pressed on. The silence was terrifying, the silence was deafening until it wasn’t. Through the slanted shaft, they started to feel a warm breeze, and hear a faint whir, a whirl, a twisting, and grinding of cogs. As they moved closer the warmth became warmer, the cogs more apparent, and from the furthest corner of the long once dark burrow they could see a flicker of light.