Nomen oblitum, or, Forgotten Name

Inside a Belizean cave, you wade deeper into green water in search of Xibalba, the underworld. Alone—save for the snakes and cave crickets—you put on a miner’s lamp and begin to explore the murky Sibun River. You stumble and swallow a large gulp of water and spit out the muddy, gritty aftertaste. When you recover, you ease into a pair of flippers and move farther along the cave’s meandering tunnels.

Earlier in the town of Belmopan, you purchased a waterproof camera and now feel the tug of the device as you swim—imagining a catfish pulling you under. College just behind—the world stretching out ahead, inside this cavern—you can breathe the freedom from tireless, old professors with red, ink-stained fingers. What can they teach me about eternity anyway? you ask yourself.

The prehistoric cave, snaking beneath the hillsides of Belize, is overlapping and hidden like the coal mines of Appalachia—a land that time forgot. You believe the entrance to the Mayan underworld to be here, and the thought passes with a swooping rush, as a colony of bats feast on the mosquitoes above you.

You spot a ripple that you haven’t made and consider what dinosaur might’ve once lurked inside this very expanse. Regret pangs your insides, as you know someone has already discovered the sacrificial obsidian knives here, someone before them the majestic fossils. You wanted to be Daniel Boone, a discoverer of the afterlife. Now, there is only darkness left.

You roll onto your back, remove the flippers, place your feet directly into the squishy, unperturbed red-clay, rock bottom. The ripple appears again, just in front of you, and you instinctively place one arm down into the center of the watery ring.

“WHERE IS IT?!!” you shout.

“WHERE IS IT?!! WHERE IS it?! WHERE is it?” a familiar voice echoes around the empty, tomblike chamber.

Nowhere at all, you think, and draw up a handful of pebbles and debris from the cave bottom and drop it with a splash.

“This is all that’s left,” you say, losing hope of ever finding Xibalba.

You sift again through the mud and mire with your hand, as bits of rock fall back into the abyss, and your finger hits something else this time. You feel over it, around it, and detect a solid, cranial-like shape. You pull it slowly from the river floor and shake the sediments loose to find yourself staring into the hollow sockets of another forgotten name.

About Brian L. Tucker

Brian Tucker (B.L. Tucker) grew up in the Appalachian foothills and Lake Cumberland region of Monticello, KY. He has recently published his first collection of short fiction Baptisms & Dogs (July 2014), which was previously selected and published in various print and electronic journals. His stories have appeared in: Trajectory Journal, Prick of the Spindle, Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Fried Chicken & Coffee, Fringe, Dew on the Kudzu,The Camel Saloon, and Burnt Bridge Press. He is currently hard-at-work on his first novel, a religious fiction tale (TBA, 2015).

>> Brian L. Tucker's author page

More Suspense stories

Discover our random name generators

Latin Name Generator Pirate Ship Name Generator Old English Name Generator Street Name Generator Alien Name Generator Slavic Name Generator Angel Name Generator Band Name Generator Brazilian Name Generator Spanish Name Generator German Name Generator Planet Name Generator Orc Name Generator Brand Name Generator Catchy Name Generator Unicorn Name Generator Kingdom Name Generator Civilization Name Generator Fantasy Surname Generator Detective Name Generator Polish Name Generator Shop Name Generator School Name Generator Villain Name Generator Code Name Generator Gamertag Generator Dragonborn Name Generator Dwarf Name Generator Old Celtic Name Generator Hotel Name Generator First Name Generator Sword Name Generator Religion Name Generator Paladin Name Generator Mobster Name Generator Viking Name Generator Gnome Name Generator Hawaiian Name Generator Currency Name Generator Greek Name Generator

Would you like to see more? Then check out our full list of random name generators.

The Story Shack offers a wide range of flash fiction, writing tools and random name generators. Enjoy reading stories, get help writing them or generate names for anything you need, be it huge Triple A Games or awesome Indie ones, D&D roleplaying adventures, science fiction movies or perhaps even a newborn child. Whatever you're here for, thanks for stopping by and please enjoy your stay!