The sunlight behind us faded as the cave twisted and turned in on itself, farther and farther into Zayt Mountain, until I looked over and I couldn’t see Sheridan’s face for the dark.
Then lights flashed on, blinking and bulbous: Welcome to Zayt Mountain Fun Park. Sheridan poled the boat over the side of the cave and we hopped out onto the ledge and clocked in.
“Want to get Death Falls over with first?” I asked, crossing my fingers, and Sheridan nodded. I took my time getting into my boots, and Sheridan was already sploshing down the ledge into Death Falls by the time I grabbed my net and followed.
Death Falls started out slowly enough; my headlamp flickered over the lazy water as it followed the narrow tunnel toward the rapids. I raked my net over the bottom, but there wasn’t much trash that hadn’t already been carried down to the pools.
There it was again—the light. The edges of the rocks across the stream glowed faintly. I checked the stream’s depth with my net: too deep for my boots, but shallow enough to wade. And Sheridan was around a bend in the tunnel, so she wouldn’t see.
Using the pole of my net for support, I felt my way across the stream, leaning slightly against the current so I wouldn't slip and get carried down to the rapids. I was careful to step over the metal rails that guided the gondolas through the caves.
The light shone out from a crack between the rocks. I pushed on a boulder and it pivoted away from me, revealing a room where Sheridan and two other people were gathered around a machine.
In the corner was a pile of garbage collected from the stream -- papers, burger boxes, lost hats and park maps, the usual stuff. They were feeding all this into the machine, which was belching a thick, gray paste into a bubbling cauldron.
"What are you doing?" I said.
"Duh," Sheridan replied. "Getting ready for tomorrow, of course. What? You think the Churros make themselves?"
Opening: -*Rachel*-.....Continuation: anon.