“We’re not allowed.”
“That’s why it’s important for you to be quiet.” I pushed the shorter boy to the side and stumbled down the embankment. Just in front of us, surrounded by slopping hills, sat the entrance to the demon’s lair. A black hole carved into the side of the mountain which led to the underworld, or so the legends said.
“Raja, I think we should leave.”
“A warrior isn’t afraid of anything.” I slipped down to a lower level and adjusted my quiver strap across my bare chest.
“But you’re not a warrior,” said Nyko in a hushed voice.
“Not yet,” I muttered. “But my coming of age will be soon.”
“You won’t be sixteen until next year.”
Glancing over my shoulder, I glared at him. “Azuka said to be a great warrior you have to think like one.”
“I don’t think he meant this, Raja. This place is forbidden; not even your brothers come here. If the chief finds out-”
“My father isn’t going to find out.” I continued down the steep path.
He grabbed my arm. “What if one of those creatures is down there?”
“They haven’t come in years.” I jerked my arm free. “What makes you think today will be any different?” I took a step forward and felt the ground shift beneath me.
“Raja!” Nyko tried to grabbed me as I toppled forward and rolled the rest of the way down the incline.
I landed on my stomach in the dirt and felt a pain in my ankle. The rock I had stepped came to a stop by my head.
“Raja!” Nyko sided down to a lower ledge and used a tree to stop himself.
“I’m fine,” I muttered as I sat up and wiped my face. “Just stay up there.” Rising to my elbows, I peered into the dark tunnel. “Wow,” I breathed. I slowly stood up and hobbled toward the entrance.
“Raja,” hissed my friend. “Please Raja, let’s go back.”
“Just a minute.” I ran my hand down the wooden pillar surrounding the door.
“Raja, don’t touch it.”
“It’s fine.” I traced the black symbols that a wise-man had burned not the wood long ago had to keep the demon inside. It didn’t work though; the giant beast would still emerged from hell and dragged members of my tribe to the dark underworld.
“Raja,” begged Nyko. “Please can we go now?”
“Alright.” I limped back to the tree. “Give me a hand.”
Nyko crawled down to a lower overhand and grabbed my outstretched arm. “What are you going to tell your dad about your ankle?”
I shrugged as I climbed up on the rock where he was standing. “I’ll think of something.”
“Did you hear that?” asked Nyko.
I sat down and rubbed the slightly swollen joint. “No. You’re just hearing things.”
He stood still. “There it was again.”
“You’re hearing things,” I muttered annoyed. “Come on let’s go. Azuka will come looking if we don’t get back soon.” I started up the hill.
Nyko grabbed my arm. “I mean it Raja. Something’s in there.” He glanced toward the tunnel.
Shaking my head, I continued up in the incline. “Like I said you’re hearing things. You’re just afraid, so you mind is playing tricks on you.”
YOU ARE READING
Raja's people are cursed. They struggle to fight off the demons that emerge from the Devil's Lair and drag villagers to hell. His people's hope resides in their warriors. That is Raja's one dream, to be numbered among them. To be a...