Even with the sun shining above, he couldn’t see anything past 20 feet inside the sunken cemetery. The other funeral attendees crowded around him, looking for just as much an explanation to what happened. Daniel turned around to notice all eyes were on him. There was a part of Daniel that felt compelled to speak with some heroic moment. He would stand tall and explain to everyone that’s he going to go down there and find his uncle…
When he opened his mouth, not a sound was made. The words he had planned in his head made him feel terribly embarrassed, around the hundreds of faces with dumbfounded looks. So he sunk his head down and walked through the crowd with his hand over his face. Luckily the townsfolk were much more interested in ‘the giant elephant on the field.’
His eyes were squarely focused on the ground in front of him as he weaved his way through person after person. Checking off a list in his mind, of things he will need if he’s planning on going down there. Stuck on deciding a length of rope, as there’s no telling how deep that hole goes. At-most he’s making an educated guess of around 800 feet. Suddenly, he bumps into a familiar body.
With his own reflex, he catches her before she falls over. Agatha, the woman from earlier fell perfectly into his grasp. “I’m terribly sorry miss, I should probably start looking where I’m going.”
The blank space where a face would be, stares back at him. With nothing to work off of, he props her back up unromantically, then clears his throat.
“I.. I couldn’t help but notice you from earlier in the funeral. I was hoping I could ask for your name.” Daniel fumbled a bit, thinking it was a stupid thing to ask someone that didn’t have any lips. He uncomfortably laughed as she twiddled her fingers in an attempt to reply.
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have asked right now… my mind seems to be somewhere else.” He wanted to believe that he was staring into the most beautiful blue eyes. He wanted to have some kind of connection, but the lack of communication made him sink down and walk away. The whole time, he couldn’t tell if she was looking at him.
As he scurried away, Agatha wanted to reach out and get his attention. She realised she should always have her writing pad on her just incase, because not everyone knows sign language.
Daniel spent hours on end looking through the countless rooms of his uncle’s estate. From the attic, to the basement there was no sign of a storage room or anything that had supplies tucked away for whatever reason. Every room was set up more fancier than the next. Exotic furniture and stuffed animals positioned as set pieces for extravagant dinner parties. Nothing in this house was practical.
But he may just have a backup plan.
If a sinkhole that large appears in the city, it’s possible there’s another way down there. Maybe something in the study would lead him to another way. Perhaps documents, or a map detailing the many ins-and-outs of town. But after spending a good chunk of the afternoon wandering aimlessly around the mansion, Daniel decided to make his book searching a cozy one.
Starting up the study’s fireplace, he grabbed a stack of books and started his search. A good idea at the time that became even better. With the comfort of the chair and the warm fire in front of him, Daniel became lost in the first book he grabbed. And it had nothing to do with anything.
As it turns out, there’s a large jackal-like creature known as the Dosjetka that lives in the the Tenuni forest, which is up in the northernmost part of the state. Two times the size of a horse, and teeth as sharp as diamonds. While it feeds on the creatures of the forest, it’s favourite prey is humans. According to this book: What makes humans such interesting prey for the Dosjetka, is their audacity to think their way out of a situation. So the creature always subjects it’s human victims to an unruly punishment of wits, before it eats them alive.
You can often hear it’s whispers gloating of how it drove the victims to madness.
Daniel became so absorbed in the book that he barely noticed a figure walk into the room. They knocked on the door frame three times, before he finally looked up to see.
It was Agatha. This time, her blank face was a little more flushed. She felt embarrassed just walking in unannounced. Daniel almost as red, was surprised to see her again this early. His previous exit wasn’t exactly graceful.
Daniel closed his book and stood up. “Hello again, miss..”
Agatha walked closer to him holding up a notepad. The name ‘Agatha Park’ was written with elegant handwriting across the page.
“Agatha? Is that your name?” He asked. Agatha nodded. She flipped a page of the pad and wrote another message before showing it back. This time it read ‘Are you related to the mayor?’
“Yes, I am.. I’m his nephew Daniel.” He replied. She put a hand up to her chest and made a motion that would normally look like a sigh of relief. “Is there anything I can help you with, Agatha?”
She scribbled in the pad once more, this time it read ‘I want you to help me find someone.’
Somewhat confused by the statement, and with his uncle in the back of his mind, he foolishly asks, “Are they down in that hole too?” Agatha shakes her head, and writes down another sentence.
‘He’s not not dead… That I know of. He’s not in this town.’
Suddenly Daniel and Agatha both turned to look at the doorway, as the sound of loud footsteps were filling the hall. This is the second person that just decided to let themselves in. ‘I really ought to get that front door fixed’ Daniel thought. He looked at Agatha’s head again and took her by the hand.
“Whoever it might be, I’ll help you find them Ms. Park. But please, give me a minute to see who just arrived.”
As he walked out of the Study, he stopped in awe as a large, dark looking figure stood tall above him, with a quite intimidating stare.
“You’re not August.” he said, in a deep gravely voice.
“I’m not… I’m his nephew…” Daniel was uncomfortable by the hulking figure in front of him. “Who might you be?”
“I am Theo, the butler of this place. Where is Master Thorburn? I’ve brought back a delightful red wine, that he may find absolutely stunning.”
“Well, you might want to sit down for this…”
Daniel told to Theo the events as he knew them. From finding is uncle as dead as a door-stop, to the recent event of the funeral sinkhole. He explained that the cause of his death is unknown, but intends to find out, believing the hole to not be a coincidence. Theo took in every word, meticulous in his thoughts before forming his own words.
“I see,” he spoke, “So you need to get down there I presume?”
“Yes!” replied Daniel, “I’m looking for a map! or something with paths or caves.. Anything that indicates an underground location.”
Theo stood up. The hulking 8 foot man walked up to the bookshelf behind the desk and lifted off a small chest that sat on top of it.
“I have just the thing young master.” he said, as he put the chest down and opens it up. Inside were rolled up maps and a compass. “This might be of some help, sir.” Daniel grabs the first map and unravels it. It was full of detail about the town and surrounding areas.
“This is exactly what I’m looking for.” He held the map in his hands and walked over to the fireplace for some better light to see. Looking for any sort of entrance to a cave that is nearby the cemetery. Coincidentally, a hole started to develop around the same area of the then cemetery.
Daniel wasn’t exactly a superstitious person by any means. He knew there was a rational explanation for everything. In fact, the dry paper he was holding in his hands, in relation to the distance of him right next to the fire was fully explained to him in his mind’s eye.
Yet, because the paper started to burn up at the location of the cemetery cause such a panic, that he dropped the map into the fireplace with a large yelp.
Agatha, hard to notice, (due to being awfully quiet) stood behind him rubbing his back, as his gave short panicked breaths.
“It’s alright young master, just a map.” piped Theo, “ That one is many years old, and probably out-dated. been meaning to buy a new one.”
Daniel wasn’t listen to Theo, or his own rational response. For once in his life he felt he witnessed a sign.