“What is it?” Joseph asked, voice barely audible with awe.

The shard seemed to shine even in the darkness of the cave. It reflected the light from Joseph and William’s lanterns, glittering like…

“Silver,” said William. “This is a silver mine.”

Joseph had never seen real silver before–not as a mineral, anyhow. He thought it would look different–more like a rock. This looked almost barbed, razor-sharp. He could see dozens of similar spikes of silver protruding from the floor and the low roof of the mine. He never thought Rhode Island would be hosting an uncharted silver mine, but here it was. And to think, this all started when lightning split an old, massive tree, revealing a depression in the earth below.

“We’ll be rich,” Joseph said. He was licking his lips, as though the silver itself was a delicacy worth salivating over.

“Mmmm…” William mumbled vaguely.

Then he shouldered Joseph hard in the back, sending the younger man sprawling forward. A spear of silver impaled him through the chest, dulling the silver with dripping red. His surprised shout ended abruptly.

“What have I done?” William thought, the horror of his action momentarily obscuring his greed. “All to keep this silver to myself?”

The silver.

He forgot about his guilt as quickly as it came. He examined a silver stalactite closely, noting the unique spines and hypnotic glittering. He was transfixed. It was horrible in its beauty. A silver as ancient as the Earth, more precious than life itself.

He lifted the mining pick he used to dig into the mine entrance from the split base of the tree. Carefully, he began chipping away at the silver spear. At first, he couldn’t seem to make the mineral budge at all. So he swung harder, really trying to sink his shaft. Only after several strikes did he begin to feel something shake. At first he thought it was the pick reacting to the force of the blows. Then he thought it was the silver ore itself. Then he was worried he’d caused a cave-in, that the mine itself was shaking. But no.

It was the Earth. The Earth was shaking.

And the silver spikes on the floor and the roof widened. A great maw opened, breathing for the first time in millennia. The cave flooded with hot salivation. A spongy tongue pushed its way through the wall of what Joseph and William thought was a cave. And when the jaws closed again, William was between them.

Then the ancient creature emerged from the earth and sang its immortal lullaby to the twilight of man.

Day 175’s three random prompt categories were, “This is the way the world ends,” “Lovecraft,” and, “Silver tooth.”

Stay out of mysterious holes in the earth!

– H.

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