Excerpt from short story, early draft.
Bodi opened his eyes. After a bright flash of light, objects came into focus. He saw the stone beneath him. He could feel the cool, wet touch, parts riddled with dampened moss. Further out, he made out the mouth of the cave, water pouring down the entrance from the darkness above. He began to make out shapes in front of him. A tall, dark figure stood at the mouth, tossing stones over the edge. Bodi remembered why he was here.
“You’ll never get me to tell you where they are.” Bodi growled as he wriggled around in the ropes that bound him. The old, moist, rotting chair that he was tied to had since collapsed from Bodi’s weight. He rolled around on the floor. Dampened splinters shattered off and lodged into his skin. The piercing of the wood was miniscule in the moment of urgency.
Bodi had exerted all of his energy. He paused lying his face against the cool, stone surface. The figure of a man approached Bodi. The sound of water rushing in the background drowned out his voice, though Bodi could still hear a low, muffled range of vocals escaping his mouth.
The tall man’s tattered, brown clothes hung off his body, various tears revealing his bony body underneath. Excess skin hung from his arms and ribs. The cloth swayed around as he leaned in closer to speak. Bodi still couldn’t make out the words.
The Tattered Man grabbed a fistful of Bodi’s long, muddy hair and lifted his head from the mossy, stone floor. “Are you hearing me, boy?” Bodi’s eyes connected with the Tattered Man.
“Let me soften you up a bit.” The Tattered Man threw Bodi’s head against the ground. Bodi’s vision blurred as a sharp pain shot down his spine.
Bodi squirmed as he tried to regain his senses. The Tattered Man knelt down further and grabbed a handful of rope binding Bodi. The Tattered Man drug Bodi to the edge, overlooking a one hundred foot drop-off, concealed by the waterfall.
“Are you ready to go for a ride?” The Tattered Man said, grinning.
“It’s…bluff…” Bodi muttered, still dazed.
“We’ll see about that.” The Tattered Man took both hands and grasped firmly to the rope tied around Bodi. With ease, he lifted Bodi two feet off the ground and began to swing Bodi back and forth. Bodi’s head entered and exited the falls.
Face-down, Bodi could see that he was being teased over the edge of the cliff. He won’t do it, Bodi thought, he needs those jewels. The Tattered Man stopped swinging Bodi and dropped him on the ledge without warning. Bodi knew he wouldn’t throw him without getting the needed information.
The Tattered Man rolled Bodi on his back. He smiled down at Bodi. “I don’t need the rocks, you mutt. They only want you to disappear.” The Tattered Man, Bodi realized, was not tossing stones. They were the gems, now lost in the abyss below. Bodi slowly decoded the Tattered Man’s muffled words from before. Bodi was of more value dead than the gems altogether.
The Tattered Man lifted Bodi back up and launched Bodi over the edge. Bodi’s sense came back to him and he realized what The Tattered Man meant. The prize was his.
Falling, water rushing around him. His depth of field began to narrow. Weightless he fell, water drowning out vision and sound. His vision was replaced with swirling light among the blur. The took the form of gems, and then complete darkness.