You can back away at any time.
I say out loud, hoping to sound confident about it, yet knowing I wasn’t even convincing to myself. I exhale shakily and a couple of small rocks fell to the ground again. I try to ignore it, and not let the panic set in completely yet. I had to stay calm, and the reason for that was that I didn’t want to give up. I started something, and I wanted to finish it as well. I didn’t want to quit. Maybe this was something important, a way out.
And if I backed away now, I would never know for sure.
I start to get up slowly, keeping a low crouch at first, my eyes wandering around cautiously. After a moment, when no actual part of the ceiling above me, falls on my head, I decide to carefully straighten my position. Everything seemed more or less stable, and it was the best green light I was going to get in this situation. No point in fooling myself there. I reach the cave’s wall in front of me and continue to make the hole in it bigger. However much slower and with less force this time. And as my eyes start to adjust to the bright blue light, I begin to notice more details.
The space that I see through the opening is rather big, huge even. Hmm, how to describe this. It was like a big crater, not quite like another cave, more like a grotto in a rounded shape. If that made any sense. I wasn’t sure, but something told me I was very high in the air. Too high.
I bend down and take a medium size rock the size of my hand, and toss it through the opening. And as it falls down, there is no distinct sound to it, just the low cry of the wind whistling around me. I wait patiently for any noise, slowly counting the numbers in my mind. 1… 2… 3… 7… 8… 9... - my eyes grow wider as the silence continues. 14… 15… 16...
And finally, I hear a quiet splash beneath me.
This throws me off completely. I didn’t know what bothered me more, the fact I was probably very high in the air, or that I heard the clear sound of water splashing. Hmm, some kind of stream maybe, an underground river? I knew that it was possible, but still, it surprised me. I don’t know what I was expecting, but the probability of a river ten or twenty floors beneath my feet wasn’t one of them.
As the shock of it starts to wear off, I continue to make the opening wider, focusing on the bottom part so that I could see something that was lower, beneath me. When I more or less achieve my goal, I lean forward carefully, holding on to the more solid part of the wall. The thing that I see is… I narrow my eyes and focus more since the ground was very far away. I not only saw a river happily splashing around and flowing with speed but also something else that I didn’t expect. Why I was actually expecting anything by now, was beyond me.
The thing that stunned me down there were the colors. Not only the obvious blue color of the river but a very juicy green as well. The bright light magnifying it even more.
I mean, it was a long time since I last saw anything even close to what you could call nature. The nearby stream my only reminder of the world above. Hmm, I guess the flora and fauna did actually exist down here after all, since I already got the fauna specimen; a real beast.
As I delicately step back, watching out not to slip on anything again, I take another glance at the open space stretching out in front of me. Silently wondering about the source of the strange blue light. It reminded me of the other caves that I saw before, the ones with the unnatural sunlight. And just like then, I also didn’t have an answer to this dilemma. The light had come out of some kind of an opening, a crack in the wall, or maybe… a portal perhaps? I shake my head in frustration as my imagination keeps on throwing different images at me, each one more questionable than the next.
This couldn’t be so complicated, right? I sigh deeply when a thought occurs to me. Slowly I lean forward again, holding the wall for some support, stretching out my neck, and at the same time twisting my head up. My eyes open wider.
The ceiling above me was definitely lighted up as if I was looking at the night sky and this place was a perfectly normal cave, with the universe’s grand view peeking inside and welcoming me with open arms. There were no actual stars, however, there wasn’t anything else that I could compare it to. I take another glance at the so-called night sky and furrow my eyebrows. It felt like I wasn’t giving the scenery enough justice.
The light that I saw was kind of… - I try to look for the right words. Mystical. Yes, mystical. That was the only word that came into my mind. Almost as if some of the fog that was constantly flowing around my ankles, decided to also flow around the top areas of this little hell hole - also taking the role of clouds and flow majestically above my head. It made the light a bit foggy and milky, blurry. Really all that was missing right now was a big, fat moon to fill the entire picture.
And yet there was none.
Originally published on Sunday, August 27th, 2017