Story Excerpt
Davi's Salvation

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Salvador became instantly awake, fully aware of his surroundings and the fact that he was not at home in his own bed. So, where was he? The last thing he remembered was repelling down inside of a previously unexplored cave.

He remembered the coldness of the stone walls, the stale air, wind whistling down through the cave tunnel as he repelled further and further into darkness, and the feeling of excitement he felt at exploring a new cave.

Had he fallen?

Had the rope broken?

Instinctive fear skittered up his spine as he wiggled his fingers and his toes, praying that he wasn’t dead or dying or worse—paralyzed. His muscles screamed from the strain as he tried to move, pain racking every inch of his body but at least he could move.

He felt empty and drained he wondered at the cause of his weakness.

He remembered…sharp teeth…claws…growling.

And pain, lots of pain.

Blood…rivers of it.

Startled by the horrific scenes that flashed through his mind, Salvador quickly banished those thoughts. He was being ridiculous. There had been no teeth. There couldn’t have been. He was probably hallucinating.

Maybe it was the drugs he was sure he was on.

Fatigue settled in pockets of his eyes. He was so tired his nerves throbbed. He felt achy and exhausted like he had been cave climbing for days, and maybe he had indeed fallen. It was the only thing he could think of that would explain why he felt like his muscles were stretched near to breaking over his bones.

Hell, even his bones felt achy.

Subconsciously aware of the dull pain at the memories that were trying to break through his fogged mind, Salvador turned his head and looked around. This was definitely not his room. His room didn’t look this…white.

Every inch of the room was a bright, pristine white—white walls, white furniture, white carpet. A white lampshade sat on a white wooden nightstand next to the bed. Plump white pillows, a white comforter, and white uncluttered surfaces gleamed in their whiteness. At the window, thick white curtains carefully sealed the room in and any color out.

A niggle of unease shot through Salvador and he couldn't help but think the only thing missing was white padded walls and a straight jacket. He searched for a plausible explanation for why he was where he was but nothing came to mind. His thoughts were scattered, foggy, eluding him.

Salvador swallowed, but his mouth had gone bone-dry, panic starting to overwhelm him.

He hurtled back to the earth as reality struck in the form of the bedroom door opening up. A man he knew he had never met before walked in, shutting the door behind him.

“Ah, good, you’re awake.”


“We were worried,” the tall man said as he walked over to the side of the bed, crossing his sinewy arms over his broad chest. His stance emphasized the force of his thighs and the thickness of his muscles. “For awhile, it was touch and go. We didn’t know if you would make it or not.”


Who is we?

As casually as he could manage, Salvador asked, “Where am I?”

“You’re safe.”

That wasn’t exactly what he had asked.

And that alone set the alarm bells ringing in Salvador’s head. The need to escape was almost paralyzing. He felt like there was a heavy weight on his chest, something holding him in place and keeping him from running for his life.

“Did I fall?” It sure as hell felt like it. Even now, every movement was met with a sharp twinge of pain. Breathing seemed really overrated.

“Not exactly.”

Salvador didn’t know what to think when the man grabbed a chair and pulled it over to the side of the bed, sitting down. The guy folded his hands together and let them dangle between his legs as he stared at Salvador with a glint of something in his eyes that sent chills down his back.

“My name is Thiago.”


An odd quirk curved up one side of the man’s lips. “It’s nice to meet you, Salvador.”

“Uh, yeah.”

There was a pensive shimmer in the shadow of Thiago’s nutmeg brown eyes. “I know you’re scared and confused but I want you to know that you are safe. No one will hurt you. We’re all here to insure that nothing happens to you.”

Yeah, that wasn’t reassuring Salvador one damn bit. If anything, it was causing more unease, especially since he still didn’t know who we was. “Where am I?” he asked again, hoping to get an answer this time.

“Like I said, you are safe.”

Salvador chose his words carefully since he wasn’t sure he’d get an honest answer. “If I didn’t fall, how did I get hurt?”

Something flickered far back in Thiago’s eyes but his face closed, as if guarding a secret. “Can you tell me what you remember?”

That question brought on another round of painful memories, memories that Salvador was positive couldn’t be real. His eyes darted nervously back and forth as he tried to put into words the nightmare that he saw in his head.

“I was spelunking and—”

“Excuse me, spelunking?”

Salvador raised his eyes to find Thiago watching him with an intensity that belied the casual conversation they were having. “I was exploring a cave or caving—also occasionally known as spelunking. It’s basically exploring wild cave systems.”

“Okay, so you were exploring a cave.”

“Right. I was beginning my rope descent into a vertical shaft using an abseil rack when I must have scraped my head against the wall or something. Anyway, my hard hat fell off my head and everything went dark.”

Salvador swallowed as more memories assailed him.

“Something snapped above me,” he whispered as he stared off into space, reliving his nightmare, “a twig maybe. I froze, pressing myself against the cold, stone wall. I couldn’t see anything in the darkness of the cave. I heard the scratch of paws on the ground above me, a snuffling noise as if something was rooting for a scent, for me.”

Salvador frowned as he searched his memories, trying to bring all of the fragmented pieces back together. “There was this…this growl and…” Salvador shook his head. There was no way he could explain what he thought he heard. It couldn’t have been real. “I don’t remember much after that.”

Salvador hoped Thiago would tell him what happened after that, or at least how he had ended up in pristine white hell. The cautious way that Thiago looked down at his clasped hands didn’t reassure Salvador that he was going to get the answers he wanted.

A shadow of alarm touched Thiago’s face. “What I have to tell you is going to seem outlandish but I swear I am telling you the truth.”

Right…like Salvador believed that. His eyes narrowed and his back became ramrod straight. Despite the coolness in the room, he felt a trickle of sweat run down his neck. “Just tell me when I can go home and we’ll call it good.”

“I’m afraid you can’t go home, Salvador.”