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  • Jeff Bacon

Hephaestus

Bill and Neal explored a cave close to their campsite. Locals rumored a cult used the cave for ceremonies. This made the thought of exploring the cave more enticing. The cave entrance was large, but the darkness engulfed them as they proceeded forward. They left glow sticks every hundred meters to ensure they wouldn’t get lost in the labyrinth.


A few hours had passed while they went deeper into the cave. Bill broke the last glow stick and dropped it on the ground. “Dude, time to go back.”


Neal kept walking. “Let’s see what’s around this turn, then we’ll head back.”


They made their way around the corner and walked a few meters in as the ground gave way and they fell into a pit. Their headlamps broke on the way down, and they only had one flashlight that worked. They looked for a path to climb out when they heard voices from above. Bill turned off the flashlight in fear that it was the cult members.


Something wet fell from above. The smell told them it was gasoline. The next thing they saw was a flickering torch thrown over the ledge of the pit. Three more torches followed the first. It seemed like an eternity before the first one landed next to them.


The flames consumed Bill, his body melted as he screamed in excruciating pain. The flames danced around Neal’s feet as he watched his friend die. The flames jumped up on his body and danced on his shoulders like they were performing. Neal held his hands out. The flames bounced on them in delight. Neal put his finger to his mouth and shushed them. The flames went out with a single command.


The people above chanted “Hephaestus” as they lowered a ladder. Neal climbed out of the hole and was escorted deeper into the cavern. The cult members adorned him with a cloak and crown as they ushered him to his throne. His throne sat on an enormous pile of wood. Neal sat in his chair as the members set the wood on fire. He was the god of fire.

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