Excerpt from Venture by Nia Markos

The stale, humid air held a trace of sulfur. Breathing shallowly through my mouth to avoid the pungent odor, I felt the uneven rocky walls of the cave close in on me. I stood in the center of the dark, damp cavern, listening to the intermittent drops of water that welled and plopped from the ceiling above me. Shivering from the dampness penetrating my thin jacket, I wondered what the hell I was doing there.

My steel silver eyes, their strength magnified by the changes I had gone through, saw nothing but stark emptiness. The inside of the cave was as clear to me as if I were standing out in broad daylight. I saw the deep crevices, the hidden corners, each stalagmite and stalactite that protruded from below and above me. With my enhanced vision, it was easy to forget that it was past midnight. The dark interior of the cave hid nothing from my view. I was alone, aware that what I needed to find was obviously not there. I had run into another dead end.


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