Sunday, April 11, 2021

Spelunkers by Cora Buhlert


Release date: March 23, 2021
Subgenre: Portal science fiction, Alien contact

 About Spelunkers:


 During a holiday in Belgium, college students Evan and Matt decide to explore an uncharted cave in the Ardennes. Also along for the ride is Evan’s sister Kate, who has been tasked with looking out for her brother since early childhood.

Deep inside the cave, Kate, Evan and Matt stumble upon a portal to another world. But does this portal represent the greatest adventure of their lives or a terrible danger…?

This is a science fiction short story of 3800 words or approximately 15 print pages.



“I see light ahead,” Matt announced.

“Don’t be silly,” Evan snapped, “We’re some one hundred and forty metres underground. Where should the light come from?”

“He’s right. I see it, too,” Kate said, stumbling after the two men, “Maybe the light is falling in through a crevice or something.”

“It has to be a very deep crevice then,” Evan said, “And one that’s not on any maps.”

“I thought you wanted to explore this cave because so much of it is still uncharted,” Kate snapped at her brother, “So how can you know that there’s not a crevice here that’s not on any maps?”

“Because someone on the surface would have noticed,” Evan countered, “Some idiot hiker would have fallen in or…”

“Uhm, guys, why don’t we just check it out?” Matt suggested, “Then we can see what it is. Cause whatever it is, it’s right ahead.”

Undaunted he went on squeezing through a narrow cleft in the rock. Kate and Evan shrugged and followed.

Evan had always been the explorer type, even as a kid. Once, when Kate was ten and Evan eight, he’d wandered off during a camping trip. Mom and Dad had been in utter panic. They’d yelled at Kate for not watching Evan and then called in the park rangers. The rangers had been very serious and very concerned and were about to send out search parties, when, the next morning, Evan had shown up again as if nothing had happened. He hadn’t been lost, he insisted, just exploring. And besides, he’d spent the night in a cave, which had been a lot of fun and could they maybe do it again.

The fateful camping trip had been the beginning of a fascination with caves for Evan and the beginning of being tasked with looking out for her younger brother for Kate. And that was why she was here today, trudging through a bloody cave in Southern Belgium rather than sitting on the terrace of the hotel enjoying the tasty and potent local beer or browsing the entrancing shops in a place that called itself the villages of books. Because as always, Kate was Evan’s keeper, his babysitter. Even though they were twenty-two and twenty-four by now and definitely adults.

Evan was the one who’d brought Matt along. They’d met in college and bonded over their shared love for caves and lost places. Though at least Matt seemed to be more sensible than Evan, so Kate could delegate some of her babysitting duties to him.

At least that’s what she’d thought until they actually went underground. Because by that point, Matt had become as enthusiastic as Evan, two little boys playing Indiana Jones with zero regard for the danger. And Kate was the lone responsible adult, as usual.

She squeezed through the cleft after Matt and Evan, only to be brought up short when she bumped into her brother from behind, since he’d stopped just in front of the cleft.

“Wow, will you look at this place?” Evan exclaimed.

“Amazing,” Matt whistled, triggering an echo inside the cave.

“Well, maybe you could move your backside, so I can see it, too,” Kate grumbled.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Matt said, though he wasn’t the one who’d blocked her way. He even held out his hand to help her out of the cleft.

So Kate finally got to see what had Evan and Matt so enthralled. And for once, her brother was absolutely right. Cause this place, whatever it was, truly was amazing.


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About Cora Buhlert:

Cora Buhlert was born and bred in North Germany, where she still lives today – after time spent in London, Singapore, Rotterdam and Mississippi. Cora holds an MA degree in English from the University of Bremen and is currently working towards her PhD. 

Cora has been writing, since she was a teenager, and has published stories, articles and poetry in various international magazines. She is the author of the Silencer series of pulp style thrillers, the Shattered Empire space opera series, the In Love and War science fiction romance series, the Helen Shepherd Mysteries and plenty of standalone stories in multiple genres.

When Cora is not writing, she works as a translator and teacher. She also runs the Speculative Fiction Showcase and the Indie Crime Scene and contributes to the Hugo-nominated fanzine Galactic Journey. Cora was a finalist for the 2020 Hugo Award.


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