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Beneath The Moutnain

Novel Excerpt

By Kale RossPublished 27 days ago Updated 27 days ago 3 min read

Gotta Love the spelling ERROR in the Title! 🤦🏽‍♂️

Mount Etna

The entrance to the cave system was in fact well-hidden. Carved into the eastern slopes of Monte De Fiore I, just beneath the lava collar, a four foot wide opening expelled faint gasps of hydrogen sulfide scented mist.

Rosalie’s nostrils twitched at the foul introduction of rotten eggs but were quickly relieved by the soft after tones of sugared fruit and citrus. After a few long moments of becoming intimately acquainted with the pungent balance of aromas, Rosalie became nose deaf and pushed on.

Orazio entered the cave first with ease, followed swiftly by Clement who turned around halfway through the gap in the lava tube to assist Rosalie’s with the tricky entrance.

“The easiest way is to slide down backwards, so you can use your hands to climb down like a ladder. It’s about a three foot drop to the floor. I will help guide your feet. Are you ready?” Clement asked as he reached out both of his arms.

Rosalie nodded and approached the breach in the volcano with caution. Crouching down, she slowly spun around and stuck each of her legs through. Clement gently grasped her boots and guided them to the first notch in the cave wall.

Firmly securing her toes, Rosalie began to climb down. Four carefully placed steps later, Rosalie was safely inside of Monte De Fiore I.

The brutal darkness was quickly eradicated by an ominous orange glow of Orazio’s flaming torch. Silver and obsidian stalactites glistened in the firelight He smiled beneath the flickering glow, then turned and stalked down the long and winding passageway.

The deeper and further they descended beneath the mountain Rosalie began noticing the ever changing texture in the walls around her, the ceilings above her and the ground under her.

She was unsure of exactly what she was looking at but the vast collection of various multicolored gems and rare minerals danced in Orazio’s firelight like spilled oil on pavement. She craned her neck to look behind her and marveled in awe as the entire passageway was glowing on its own after absorbing the energy from the passing flames. It was unlike anything she had ever seen or dreamed, yet the dream still felt like a nightmare.

“Rosalie,” Clement whispered from just beyond the curve of the next bend, “Come and see.”

Reluctantly turning away from the brilliant illumination, unaware of the rustling coming from the cave’s entrance, she dragged her boots across the volcanic sediment and entered the pulsating chamber.

Scarlet tendrils of fumes emanated from the high walls creating an energized cloud system of mercury sulfide. With each timely expunge of the hissing toxins the entire chamber moaned and vibrated.

“It’s breathing,” Rosalie mumbled to herself.

Orazio smiled at the notion, “The heart of the mountain.”

“The heart of Sicily,” Clement added.

Rosalie stepped forward, cautious of the ledge, and admired the impossible kingdom which she thought belonged in one of the stories her and her brothers used to tell each other on the garage roof.

The lower portions of the tall walls along with the fifteen feet high stalagmites were obnoxiously encrusted with dense chunks of gold, large families of diamonds, flowing streams of copper, star-studded notches of nickel and luminescent crowns of opal and ruby. The stalactites were equally as impressive, yet far more dangerous. Poking through the floating clouds of cinnabar, their arsenic and uranium infected tips loomed over every inch of the treasure filled cavern.

Sticking tightly to the three foot wide curved ledge Rosalie followed Orazio and her father down. Taking great caution with each step she couldn’t help but stare at a large gap in the far wall spewing with the scarlet cinnabar toxins. She immediately thought about the mining accident her father had mentioned. The one that killed many Mother Goddess members. She feared taking another step.

Clement heard Rosalie’s descent stop, prompting him to stop his, “It’s safe, Rosalie. I promise. As long as we limit our exposure time and stay out of direct contact with the red mist, we will be fine.”

“Why am I truly here?” she asked, “What is my purpose?”

Clement smiled. Excited and terrified for the fate of his only remaining child, “Let me show you.”

thrillerShort StorySeriesPsychologicalMysteryExcerptAdventure

About the Creator

Kale Ross

Author | Poet | Dog Dad | Nerd

Find my published poetry, and short story books here!

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