Flash Fiction: The Journal in the Cave
I don’t know how much light I’ve got left. But there’s plenty of air.
I can’t tell if the light I’m seeing nearby is reflected from my lamp or from another natural source. It’s enough to see by. And my God, this place is huge. Bigger than any sonar readings could have told us. Bigger than anybody imagined.
I’m still not sure why they brought me along. All the geologists and professional explorers and local experts, and then there was me. I’ve always found caves and mines fascinating, but from a historical standpoint, as indicators of what humanity needs them for and how it uses the tools it can create or is presented with, never from a rock formation or shale composition standpoint. I consider it a cruel irony that it was me who fell through the loose rocks above into this chamber below.
They’ve gone to get more rope to try and get me out of here. The camp is a few hours away. I guess that gives me time to explore, provided I don’t wander too far.
I think my leg might be broken.
It won’t hold my weight very well and it’s extremely painful to move it, let alone try to stand on it. I found some painkillers in my pack, and I have a good supply of drinking water. I’m going to see what I can do to cobble together a splint.
Hobbling is not the most expedient way of getting around, but I did discover something down here. Something that will change human history forever.
Under the calcification and fallen rocks, there are man-made structures down here. I’ve discovered what appear to be massive load-bearing columns, like support beams, all through this cavern. I can’t even begin to guess at the age of this stonework. Centuries? Millennia? I’m no scientist and have no equipment to measure such a thing.
All I know is that it bears further investigation. My watch tells me it’ll be a few more hours before the party returns. I’ll take a few minutes to rest, have a drink of water and perhaps another round of painkillers, and see what I can find.
This is becoming more and more impossible as I go on.
There are carvings in some of the structures. From what I can tell, mostly by shining light through the calcification, they resemble Scandinavian runes in passing. I say ‘in passing’ because we are pretty far from any Scandinavian countries. And while I am no expert, as I’ve only examined original Norse ruins and documents in passing, I have to say that many of these symbols are entirely unfamiliar to me. I will sketch what I can before I return to where I fell in.
I don’t know if it’s the painkillers or something in the air or if I’m simply going mad.
But I’m hearing things down here. Sounds that I am not myself making.
Checking my watch, the party should have returned by now. They need to return soon. I cannot get out on my own.
My light is beginning to fade, and unless my eyes are playing tricks, some of the other light is also shifting. It’s as if a shadow is moving somewhere beneath me.
And then there’s sound.
God help me, it sounds like drums.
Drums in the deep.