The Cavern

You enter the cave and find that it immediately turns to the left and rises, as if you were walking over the tongue and throat of a serpent. The sounds of the outdoors fade away as the sound of your own crunching footsteps mingle with that of some deeply dripping water.


The tunnel appears natural based on the smoothness of the walls. Perhaps it was bored out by an underground river that no longer flows here. Or perhaps it is just the season when the river is low. Is it safe to tread here without a light?


The tunnel descends and turns sharply to the write. It enters a small chamber where people have left empty bottles of whiskey. An old mattress with rusted springs is propped against one wall. It’s sad to see all this trash here. It would be a beautiful cave otherwise.


You notice that the mattress is covering a space between the rocks. It’s a continuation of the cave tunnel, but it looks very narrow. You squeeze your body through. The rocks are cold and damp. They compress your rib cage as you pass through, squeezing the air out of your lungs. You wonder if you should turn back. You pass a sharp rock by inhaling your abdomen as much as possible. The darkness disorients you. You want to turn back but you cannot, the rocks seem to be closing in on you.


There only way out is through!


You contort your body in a dozen different places as you work your way through the diminishing canal. The ceiling is becoming shorter. It is pushing you onto your hands and knees. Whether by magic or by physics you feel strongly that you can only move forwards.


You are forced to crawl on your stomach, inching along using newly discovered muscles. After five or ten minutes like this the air feels fresher. You keep going and a dim light can be seen ahead. You twist and urge and pull yourself through the tight tunnel until you emerge in a marvelous and well-lit cavern.


It is full of crystal formations that seem to shine with an inner light. The sound of the the trickle water is from the underground river that passes through this chamber. But there are other things.


There are petroglyphs on the walls. There are carved canals that reach to the underground river but they are blocked by slate sluice gates. If you open these, they make haunting sounds. Sometimes they play melodies, sometimes voices. They seem disconnected from time and place yet they take you away to a place that someone has been before.


This is no ordinary cave.





Exit the Cavern