For Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo prompt
Another bit of short fiction – may be a continuation of The Dark – and Footsteps, maybe not – what do you think?
Here Sue’s photo for this week.
By Scott Bailey © 2018
This was what she lived for – this moment! She had been waiting half her life for it.
She stood at the entrance – entranced. She was almost afraid to take a step further, both savouring the moment and fearing a disappointment.
The tunnel looked old – and it was. But it was nothing she had not seen a thousand times before. It was what lay beyond that had drawn her here.
The tunnel before here was from over a millennia ago. There were many of them scattered around the area. She was as familiar with them as any archaeologist – there had some frisson about them, some mystery as nobody really knew what they had been made for. That, of course, led to many wild theories.
She had no interest in mad theories and folk tales. She was only interested in hard facts. And if what she had been told was true – there would some remarkable finds here.
Three weeks ago, some tourists wandering the tunnels had nearly been killed when one of the walls and part of the floor had clasped. They had revealed something darker and older than the tunnels.
Two days ago a colleague of hers had rung her to get her advice on what had been found. When she heard what he described she snatched up her passport – nothing else – and had booked the first flight she could get to see for herself.
Now she was here. She took a deep breath and gripped her torch tightly, then she took a purposeful step inward.
It was a five-minute walk to the scene of the near tragedy. The place was cordoned off with police tape and officers were stationed there. They nodded to her and waved her in. All the locals were excited about the discovery and wanted to know more. They were waiting on her opinion.
She looked into the hole made by the collapse. A vast darkness spread out before here, water dripped into it. Some lights had been hastily strung up on the walls but they were not enough to reach out the full extent of what was obviously a large cave.
A rope ladder stretched downward into the darkness.
This was it.
Holstering her torch she climbed deftly down the ladder. More lights lit the way revealing the wet, jagged wall before here.
When she reached the bottom she found several other people already there. Student by the look of them busy taking careful measurements and photos, but not disturbing anything.
Before them stood an older man – her friend. He was grinning widely.
“This is it?” she whispered.
“This is it,” he murmured in almost reverent tones.
She looked around in awe.
“It’s natural,” she said. He nodded.
“And the evidence for human habitation?” she went on. He grinned again and waved her to a spot where the students were concentrated.
“Here, take a look.”
She knelt down carefully and shone her torch. There, unmistakable to her eyes, was a loose pile of flint spearheads and other tools.
“Is this everything?” she said eagerly – it was enough for her.
“There’s a few other finds but this is the best so far. We have only covered about a quarter of the floor so far.” He smiled wryly now as he saw the light of excitement in her eyes.
“And the walls?”
Now he looked puzzled.
“Well, we haven’t..” he started.
She stood and swept the beam of her torch slowly around the walls.
“Holy crap!” swore the man.
There, high on the cave wall, was the clearest, most detailed cave painting she had ever seen. It was of two distinct figures. Unlike anything she had ever seen before they were almost portrait like in their detail!
One was a young woman holding a spear. The other was a man. A man with no eyes.