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Jr. Tales: Embracing Darkness

Y. Bromberg

“You are going, Mordechai. You’re not going to sit at home all day and let your fears ruin an awesome trip!”

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

 Mishpacha image


I hate darkness. It takes my breath away, turns my blood cold, and makes me want to scream. That’s why I never go to sleep without making sure there are at least two nightlights on in my room. My door is always kept open just a crack, allowing some of the hall light in.

So when my teacher announced where our class would be going for the last school trip of the year, I panicked.

“Underground caverns?” I asked my teacher, a huge lump in my throat.

“That’s right, Mordechai!” Mr. Fink answered with an enthusiastic grin. “According to local lore, the arrow heads of ancient Indians and broken pottery pieces belonging to forgotten tribes are scattered throughout the deep, rocky caverns. Just think about the history we can touch with our bare hands!”

After class I found my best friend, Shimshon, waiting for me by the stairwell leading outside.

“I don’t have to see your face to know you’re scared of going on the school trip,” Shimshon said as I took his hand and we walked slowly down each step.

“I’m just not going,” I said with a determined frown. “I’ll stay home all day! There’s no way I’m going into some dark, spooky caves where there are probably Indian bodies buried under the earth!”

Shimshon laughed.

“You are going, Mordechai. You’re not going to sit at home all day and let your fears ruin an awesome trip!” he said, feeling his way toward the exit.

“I am not going,” I repeated.

“You’re not going to miss out,” he insisted.

“Yes I am.” I stubbornly stuck to my guns. “I am not going. Not a chance!”

“Welcome to Baythurn Caverns, the secret caverns of the Hopi Indians. I’m your guide for the day. You can all call me Bernie!”

“I can’t believe you convinced me to come!” I hissed to Shimshon.

“You’ll love it here! Just enjoy yourself!” he replied.


“Everyone follow me!” Bernie said. “Watch your step as we descend deeper into the caverns, it can get a little slippery!”

Suddenly, Bernie caught sight of Shimshon and stopped in his tracks.

“Are you going to be okay?” he asked him in concern.

“Yes, I have a friend to help me,” Shimshon replied, squeezing my arm.

“All right then, let’s go!” Bernie led us into the opening of the cave. Water droplets fell onto our heads as we stepped into the darkness. We followed Bernie down an endless spiral downward, ever deeper below the earth’s surface. Step after step, I felt my breath becoming more shallow and my heartbeat speeding up.

“Watch your step!” Bernie warned, his voice echoing around the dank, rocky walls of the cavern. “I’ll tell you when you can turn on your flashlights! Just follow the person in front of you and don’t lose your balance!”

A sense of impending doom gripped my insides. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 669)

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