Chapter 9

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I drove Caramel, Bambi, and Coyote toward the entrance to the caves of Remin. I knew enough about Remin to know that the most dangerous of the caves were located further down, towards the foot of the Remin mountains. I hoped Caprice didn't get that far. We went to a small series of caves which contained a hidden passageway out of the borders of Derrick's lands.

The three girls chatted among themselves as we parked a distance away, among some tall grasses to keep our car hidden.

"If our border patrol wolves find us, they'll kill us," Caramel whispered. "They'll assume we were trying to escape."

"Isn't Lychee on border control today?" Coyote asked. "He's like an omega, right? So, maybe he won't be able to handle all four of us at once."

"Can't I just run them over with my car?" I asked.

"No, werewolves have supernatural speed and healing abilities. You would only be able to do that if your car were made of silver."

"I don't know much about werewolves, but I know we need to avoid the waters that run through these caves," I explained to the girls. "I've been warned recently that these caves are cursed."

"Let's go find her before it gets too late," Caramel offered. "Not even werewolves want to be roaming around these parts at night. They say these caves belong to the undead when the moon rises in the sky."

For once, I agreed with the girls. We walked in the single file into the entrance of the caves. I had to crouch down because the ceiling was low. There were a large number of stalactites protruding from the subterranean walls. I heard water dripping in the distance, and the air became noticeably colder. Coyote led the way with a flashlight.

They let me follow right behind her because I had the weakest eyes out of all of them. I guess werewolves, even in their human form, had better night vision than I did. In the light of Coyote's flashlight, I saw dead vines hanging onto the walls. These were no ordinary vines. And these walls were far from ordinary as well. As we entered a more massive cave from the narrow opening, I walked up to the furthest wall and brushed aside some of the dry, dead vines.

There, on the wall, was a carving of a tree. Am eerie feeling overcame me, and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. This place - it was like visiting a tomb. I knew enough about the former owners of the caves of Remin to know they met tragic ends. There were some vague stories that my stepmother told me about a disabled man whose greed and lust for power led to his downfall. This was the stuff of bedtime stories that gave children nightmares.

Now, standing in that room, staring at the carving of a gigantic tree on that ancient wall, I started to believe in those stories.

"There was once a man who profited off the waters of Remin, who through his works turned these cursed waters into billions. His wife, wearing these blood diamonds around her neck, never asked him where the money came from. They say she trusted him until the moment he drowned her. They say he went mad, in the end."

"Cool story, sis," Bambi said. "I don't think anyone can own these caves though, not even if they carved up every wall. This cave belongs to the earth."

I wondered what Pocahontas here would say if she knew I was the next asshole who was going to try to own these caves. I bit my tongue and motioned for Coyote to continue onward. In a single file, we walked down a sloping trail deeper into the heart of the caverns.

I noticed that the vines continued to lace the walls despite the lack of light. Maybe, they connected to some greenery that grew above ground. As the air grew ever colder, so much so that I could see my breath in front of my face, I wondered if Vicky and James were right. I shouldn't have come here. I was meddling in things that I didn't understand.

"My stepmother told me that her brother once visited these caves. He said that the water level rises and traps people inside. We should hurry."

"How did he get out?" Coyote asked me in a nervous voice as we continued on our path, lower and deeper into the darkness.

"He had help," I replied. The truth was, I didn't know much about my stepmother's brother. I did know that Vicky was enough of an asset to my company that my father never questioned where her information was coming from. "He was with someone who knew things about these caves that we don't. If we are trapped here, we're not getting out."

As we came to a fork in the pathway, Caramel backed away. "I don't want to go any further," Caramel whispered. "This place smells of death. I want to go back to Samson."

"Wait!" Bambi said, grabbing her by the wrist. "You can't run off on your own. You'll be killed."

"The hell with you three," Caramel whispered and ran into the darkness. 

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