The little creature won't shut up. For one so tiny she is surprisingly loud. Her high-pitched screams fill the cave and I fear that they might awaken some dormant beast laying deep within it.

'Shut up!' I hiss. I press the tip of my finger against her lips, muffling her screams. She looks up at me with teary eyes and I can feel her lips trembling. Am I really that scary? I guess to her my size must be quite intimidating but you could hardly call my face monstrous. She looks ready to start bawling at any second and I don't really want to have to deal with that. The only way I can think of stopping her impending sobs is to threaten her. A threat always works.

'Listen here, you mite, if you dare cry or scream, or attempt to make any other such noise, I will eat you as you are.'

My threat doesn't work, because she immediately begins to wail.

Damn it! Now what do I do?

'Please, don't eat me! I'll do anything!'

'I just said don't cry and I won't eat you!'

'I-I'm sorry!' she says. 'I-I'll s-stop!' She then makes some futile attempts to stop but sounds more like she's either on the verge of respiratory failure or choking .

'Calm down. I'm not really going to eat you, but if you don't shut up right now, something even bigger than me is going to come charging towards us.'

'Okay... I understand.' she's still sniffling a bit but other than that the waterworks have pretty much stopped.

I sigh in relief. 'Good. Once we're out of the cave I'll let you go.'

'Can't you let me go now?'

I narrow my eyes. 'So you can fly away? I need you to light my way. I'm not letting you go till we're out.'

She sighs sadly but doesn't make any protestations. I'm glad she didn't turn out to be a vicious creature, otherwise she might've tried to gnaw away at my fingers. I hold her up to light the path ahead. Perfect. Now I won't be bumping into any more walls.

A hissing sound coming from behind me catches my attention before I can take the first step forward.

'What was that?' asks the little one.

Slowly, I twist my body around so that I may see what is making that noise. A pair of pale, unseeing eyes is what greets me. It's a cave serpent. It's white body is so big that it's back touches the ceiling of the tunnel we're in. It must've heard the little one's screaming. If I back away without making a sound, perhaps it won't attack. After all, it can't see me.

'Aaaaaaaaaah!'

I wince at the sound. 'Shhhhhhh!'

But it is too late. The serpent is now preparing to attack.

'Nice work, idiot!'

I should really just throw her to the damn serpent and escape. That's what she should get for being stupid enough to alert it to our presence. I'm beginning to think that coming across her was actually a curse instead of a blessing for all the trouble she's causing. But despite all this, I don't dare let her go. I turn on my heel and run as fast as I can in the opposite direction.

The serpent is so close behind that I can feel it breathing down my neck. If I trip or slow down even marginally, it's game over. I haven't had to run like this since that time a group of trolls were hunting me down when I was a kid.

'Over there! The exit!' shouts the little one.

I see it. The light at the end of the tunnel. The temperature drops as we near it. A snow storm is raging outside. We're almost there.

A burst of pain explodes in my big toe and I hit the ground for the second time today. I open my hand to let the little one go. I didn't run all this way just for the both of us to die.

'Go!'

I'm so close to the exit that I can almost taste the snow outside. It's so unfair that fate should have me trip at this very moment.

'No! Come on, get up!' the little one is tugging at my finger. Obviously, that doesn't do anything, but I'm sort of touched that she's trying to help me, even though it's all her fault that I'm in this situation in the first place.

Two fangs digging deep into the flesh of my right leg illicits a pained groan from me. Shit. It's as painful as it was the last time I was bitten. I can feel it's acidic venom being pumped into my blood. Too bad I don't have any antidote with me this time.

The little one lets go of my finger and jumps into the air. She kicks at the serpent's head relentlessly. Although her attacks don't do any damage, they do enough to take the serpent's attention away from me.

'Hey, little one, move out of the way!'

I kick the srepent with my left leg and it lets out a pained cry. I hope I broke in its teeth. This gives me enough time to crawl safely outside to where the blizzard awaits me. I roll onto the bed of snow that it has laid out for me and I look to the sky. A golden light dances amidst the flurry of snow that whirls all around. I want to watch more but my eyes feel too heavy. I let myself drift off, even though I'm unsure whether it is death or sleep that has taken me.