05 Trials of Death by Darren Shan

05 Trials of Death by Darren Shan

Author:Darren Shan
Language: eng
Format: mobi
ISBN: 9780316603959
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Published: 2004-04-01T07:00:00+00:00





DARKNESS — COLD — churning water —

roaring, like a thousand lions — spinning

around and around — bashing into rocks —

arms wrapped around my face to protect it —

tucking up my legs to make myself smaller, less of a target.

Wash up against a bunch of roots — grab

hold — slippery — the wet roots feel like dead fingers clutching at me — a space between the water and the roof of the tunnel — I draw quick gasps of breath — current takes hold again —

try fighting it — roots break off in my hands —

swept away.

Tumbling over and over — hit my head hard

on a rock — see stars — almost black out —

struggle to keep head up — spit water out of my mouth, but more gushes in — feels like I'm swallowing half the stream.

The current drags me against a wall — sharp rocks cut deeply into my thighs and hips —

freezing, cold water numbs the pain — stops the flow of blood — a sudden drop — plummet into a deep pool — down, down, down — held

under by force of the falling water — panicking

— can't find my way up — drowning — if I

don't break free soon, I'll...

My feet strike a wall and propel me forward

— drift slowly up and away from the pool —

flow is gentle here — lots of space between water and top of tunnel — able to float along and breathe — air's cold, and it stings my lungs, but I gulp it down thankfully.

The stream opens out into what sounds like a large cave. Roars from the opposite end: the water must drop sharply again there. I let myself drift to one side before facing the drop. I need to rest and fill my lungs with air. As I tread water near the wall in the dark, something clutches at my bald head. It feels like twigs. I grab at them to steady myself, then realize they're not twigs

— they're bones!

Too exhausted to be scared, I grasp the bones as though they were part of a life buoy. Taking long, deep breaths, I explore the bones with my fingers. They connect to a wrist, an arm, a body and head: a full skeleton. This stream was used to dispose of dead vampires in the past. This one must have washed up here and rotted away over the decades. I search blindly for other skeletons but find none. I wonder who the

vampire was, when he lived, how long he's been here. It must be horrible, trapped in a cave like this, no proper burial, no final resting place. I give the skeleton a shake, hoping to free it. The cave erupts with high-pitched screeches and flapping sounds. Wings! Dozens or hundreds of pairs of wings! Something crashes into my face and catches on my left ear. It scratches and bites. I yelp, tear it loose, and slap it away. I can't see anything, but I sense a flurry of objects flying over and around me.


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