It's been at least 12 hours since things went dark. Based on the hunger that's begun to gnaw and grit at my stomach, anyway. Everything here seems to be an endless pool of ever deepening yet thin blackness. A drowning pool of empty nothing surrounds me. My watch doesn't even show a glimmer of light, it must have busted. It can't be completely broken though, I can hear the ticking. At first it came as a comfort, a life link that reassured me that I was alive and in reality. Now I'm not so sure. Each and every little tick of the metal moving hands maddeningly reminds me of how long I've been down here.

A dull headache has lessened and serves as a minor relief. I scooped my hands down into the water and drink. Thank god that a small stream runs through these caves, I'm parched. Every now and then a crack in the form of a single sparkle or glimmer of light comes across my vision, but nothing more. The seductive temptress that it is brings only false to me. After the light fades back into blackness, I feel my mind slipping away a little more. The only things that keep me sane is the ticking of my watch and the gentle rush of the stream beside me. The sound is calming, it reminds me of a breeze on a placid night. A dark room compared to this hell is like blinding daylight. To think I came here for fun.

Sixteen… no, it's been at least twenty hours. The ticking is sometimes hard to hear. I wonder how long it'll be until someone finds me. I doubt it, the rocks in front of me are too thick. I've felt around the walls of the cave and it just opens into an even deeper and darker chamber. A cold wind from within blew by and chilled me. I know I can't live on the water from the stream alone. I have a few energy bars in my bag, so that'll… give me a few more weeks, maybe a month to live. A month of suffering in this void, of headaches and feeling the world spin as I stand and nearly fall again. A month of wanting to make it all stop, but I can't find any painless way in this lightless hell.

Every day I feel smaller and smaller. It's like the cave is closing in and trying to swallow me up. The never ending vacuum of nothingness, is this what it feels like to be lost in space? To be abandoned to an eternal suffering of emptiness where there is no light? At least unlike space, here I can hear. It's pointless though, my voice has grown weak from dehydration and drinking more of that water makes me want to throw up everytime I try to stand. Just sitting here makes my legs feel sore after a while, so I have to eventually move. Every moment of it is vertigo drunk dancing and stumbling. I'd laugh if it weren't so miserable.

There is a new feeling that joins the standing and anew sitting nausea that afflicts me. The cold and slopped mush of vomit against my cheek. The world spins around me like an out of control tea cup ride, and all of the water and whatever bits of food that remain from days ago have been harshly forced out of my body. Several minutes after I drink from the cold stream I'm subjected to being hunched over, retching and heaving in hoarse moans and gurgled cries. A silent prayer is whispered to some unseen god as I lay my head against the damp rock. I can feel the bile soak into my hair, but it doesn't matter. I feel too tired to move and I know that if I do it'll just end in more painful spurts of water clawing it's way up my throat and erupting free from my lips.

It's been at least a week now. I've stopped trying to say anything or make any noise. My body aches. I don't think I'm alone anymore. Earlier I felt the cold breath of something against my face, heavy wet breaths sending a violent shudder rippling and violating my exhausted body. Sometime after I could feel droves of its saliva falling and coating my face. Maybe I'll just drown in it.

It still hasn't gone away, I don't know how long it's been. The beast let out a deafening roar that echoed throughout the cavern, an unnaturally smaller than expected tongue slapping against my neck. It's ridged near the edge and ribbed in an unfamiliar shape. Then it left my skin. I let out a small noise that might have once indicated relief, but now sounded far from human. I knew nothing else about the apex predator that wanted to consume me. Did it gave any teeth? None had come to gnash or crush me. No unimaginable pain as my broken body was to be torn and ripped apart, the creatures grunts and guttural sounds clarifying its pleasure. Maybe it was just going to swallow me whole. The stomach acids and burning enzymes would slowly dissolve and eat away at my body. I wouldn't have time to scream as I drown submerged in it. The terrifying thought would happen soon. I know it. It was only a matter of time before it grows bored playing with and torturing its prey. Soon it would devour me into the maw of death that loomed over me, and it would all be over. Soon.

"Ma'am, your son's body was found several hundred meters off from the trail." The boy's mother was on the other end of the call, sobbing for son who would never come home. "As far as we know he was exploring a small cave before a cave in happened and the ceiling collapsed. In the bag he was carrying he had a few granola energy bars and a flashlight, not to mention there was a nearby stream." He went silent. "Are… you sure you want to know, ma'am?." He shook his head and sighed. "The preliminary examination showed that the cause of death was starvation in conjunction to exposure. Given what he had on him, I know it doesn't make sense at first." The park ranger listened to her question. "No, he wouldn't have been able to dig himself out, he'd been there for at least three weeks, plus he wouldn't need to. Well, he was a few meters outside the portion that caved in, we must have not been able to hear him cry for help." Answering these kinds of calls was never less awful no matter how many times a man did it. "I understand that you're distraught and confused. The coroner believes that when the cave in happened, a stray stone fell and struck your son and caused minor subdural hematoma in the rear part of his head. An MRI scan further confirmed this." He inhaled, then exhaled. "No ma'am he wasn't knocked unconscious, it means that he was rendered blind almost instantly."