Delivery

The scuffing sound was nearly continuous, only the briefest of pauses to indicate the start and stop of footsteps.  It was a heavy object being dragged across rough stone.  The cave was damp and dim, with shadows everywhere and only the occasional torch upon the wall.

The hunched figure – its back severely bent, and its limbs thin and long – pulled a large sack behind.  It is best not to think about what might be in the sack.  The smell coming from it was warm and sticky.  The person, for lack of a better term, seemed unaffected by the odor, but it was weighed down, either by its load or the air in the cave.

It stopped next to a large stone that sat off to one side on the floor of the tunnel.  After a brief pause, it moved the sack to the far side of the rock and then leaned against the wall.  Its hands fidgeted with the air, as though remembering some tool or toy it once used.  The closest torch was twenty feet back the way it had come, and nothing but inky blackness lay ahead.

The wait stretched on, only the flicker of the flame indicating that time had not stopped.  At one point, the sack started to move, but it quickly went still again after a few heavy kicks.  Finally, the light dimmed even further, and the air got warmer.  The figure moved away from the wall, standing up as straight as it could.

The darkness itself began to move, taking on the shape, ever so vaguely, of a human being.  It reached out with one large hand and took hold of the sack.  Drawing it close, it paused briefly to nod its nearly shapeless head at the figure who stood.  Then the shape, and the sack, disappeared, leaving only the darkness behind.

The figure smiled, a grin with too few or too many teeth, and began slowly to retrace its steps.

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