La Luz by Edwin Escolero
Droplets of water drip to the ground as they sound the air inside a hollow cave. Stalagmites protrude from the ceiling and glow with a spectrum of colors as Alas marches deeper into the cave. As the boy observes the rock formations he takes notice of the bats that hang above as they slumber upside-down. With discretion he navigates through the echoing cavern without attracting attention from the wings of the night.
Continuing his exploration of the cave Alas stumbles into a body of water that reflects the luminous stalagmites. As the young man walks towards the translucent aqua he senses something amiss and stops. Looking back he finds someone tailing him and upon first glance it appears to be Girasole’s figure emerging from the shadows. The slender being approaches the baffled Alas as he notices something shady in the area.
Alas walks farther into the cave while his company follows behind, however, the young man feels uneasy. From the depths of the cave a laugh is heard, and Alas tells the entity to come out. Entering a defensive stance the young man asks the figure to identify himself or leave. There is no response from the lurker, suddenly teary the woman grabs Alas’s arm with cold hands. The young man breaks up his stance and remains still as he decides on his next move. With his back turned on her the woman motions her hand toward Alas and her nails extend forward striking him.
A sudden chill grips the young man as he staggers to maintain his footing but he’s knocked to the ground. Looking to his side a familiar wicked smile forms as the woman’s disguise dissipates and behind her stands Phalsada. The man hands a dozen roses as he complements his madam on her performance before looking down on Alas like he’s nothing. Grounded Alas tries to reach for his pack but the woman kicks it farther from him. Alas glares at the pair and says, “People cannot control others that is an infringement on our right. People should be free to pursue what they desire…” Phalsada spits on the ground cutting off Alas and the woman steps on his hand.
Feeling dazed the young man’s eyes wander toward the stalagmites and suddenly he has an idea. From the top of his lungs Alas shouts in the hollow cavern and the pair relished in the sound, however, their amusement would be short-lived. Distant screeches respond to the shouts and a surge of bats bombard the air clinching to Phalsada and his madam. The pair runaway screaming as the wings of the night retaliate against the two intruders. As the voices diminish Alas tries to find a way to overcome the wound and rise again.