A room lies hidden in back of a cavern
|"Come on, Gina! I have to show you the awesome place I found. You're going to love it!"
Dan and Gina traveled deeper into the cavern than they have ever been together, before. The rock formations inside were gorgeous! There were slate gray limestone-filled rocks that had water traveling down the walls. Stalagmites of a similar shade hung from the ceiling, dripping water onto the floor. The splash shot up like water needles.
"Come on, it's back through here," Dan urged Gina.
"Through that tiny passageway? Are you sure we can get through there?"
"Yea, I've already been through it. Remember? That's how I know what's there. Come on!"
Pressing up as close as they could to one side, holding their breath in and dragging their backpacks to the side of them, they pushed forward. Scrapping their shoulders on the rugged, sharp edges, they squeezed through the passageway.
"Whoo! I can finally breathe!" Gina looked up and her mouth hung opened. "Oh my goodness, Dan! This place is stunning! I would have never believed there was a huge pool of water in this cave. This place is so big! It's gorgeous! The top looks like a reflection of the water. You can hardly tell them apart. This is now my favorite place in the whole world!"
They shined their flashlights onto the water and it reflected onto the cavern top above. The cavern's roof seemed to hang in thin air, sloping down, only feet away from the water. Huge, flat-topped rocks were scattered about on the floor as if filed smooth just for sitting or lying on. The cave floor was uncannily clean. It was as if someone painted their perfect idea of a special hideaway deep inside a cavern. Now, it was claimed as Dan and Gina's sacred spot. Away from everyone!
Gina excitedly asked, "I wonder how deep that water is? Do you think it's safe?"
"I don't know. It doesn't smell stagnant. It must have some form of filtration and circulation underneath." With a little chuckle, he continued, "I wouldn't take any chances, though. Would you?"
She laughed while replying, "Uh, nope. Don't see any reason in that!"
"So, how much of this back here did you explore?"
"I actually didn't get a chance to look around hardly at all. Just as quick as I found it, I had to turn around and leave. I had forgotten I told Mom, I'd pick her up at the airport. I only had a little under two hours to get home, clean up and get there."
They both took off in different directions, checking out the area. Dan felt something buzz by his head. Surprised, he reached up quickly and swiped at whatever it was, in doing so he dropped his flashlight. He bent down to grab the flashlight and as he stood up with it in his hands, the beam of light hit the rugged wall,
"Gina! Gina! Get over here, hurry!"
"What? What's a matter?" she said while rushing over to Dan.
"Oh, shit! What the hell is that?"
"Hell if I know! But I don't like the looks of it."
"But surely that was done like eons ago. Wouldn't you think?"
They both recoiled backward, accidentally hitting a moderately sized rock, throwing them off balance. They grabbed onto each other, trembling in fear, as their mouths gapped open. Carved on the wall above the pool was a message 'Evil World. Stay Away'. Beneath it was some kind of swirling purple vortex, resembling a portal.
"I don't like it, Gina. Maybe we should go."
"Ah, come on, Dan. You don't believe in all that hocus-pocus stuff, do you?"
"Look, all I'm ..."
They both screamed at the same time. Doubling over and covering their ears. A loud scraping sound like metal on metal filled the air. The sound reverberated off of the walls, intensifying the noise and the discomfort.
"Come on! Let's get out of here!" Gina yelled.
"What? I can't hear you!"
Mouthing slower, where he could read her lips, "Let's go.." The noise ended as abruptly as it began, while she was still in mid-scream.
"What the hell was that?" Dan said, his blue eyes wide with fear and puzzlement.
"I don't know, Dan. But I don't think we need to stay around to find out. My whole body feels like I stuck my finger in a light socket! I think we should go!"
"Agreed! Let's get the hell out of here!"
They started back around the edge of the water to make their way back to the narrow opening. Blinding flashes of light lit up the cavern. Flickering nonstop with a low motor sounding hum.
Gina and Dan were spinning in circles, covering their eyes and ears. The light and sound confused their senses. They started swaying, losing their equilibrium, trying to correct themselves and grasping for some kind of stability, they bumped into each other and both went flying off of their feet. Splashing down into the frigid water.
As soon as they hit the water, a thick, grayish fog filled the cavern. Their vision was completely obscured. Kicking their legs and treading water with their arms, their body started tingling.
"Dan? Do you feel that?"
"Yes, Gina, I do. Let's try to make it to the..."
In a split second, the water started bubbling like a giant sauna, with an intensity much more fierce. A halogen-strength flash of light blinded their eyes and left them seeing an aura of blue. When the aura started to fade, so too did the fog and the bubbles. Within seconds, things were back to the way they were before it all began. Without saying a word, both made their way to the edge of the water and climbed out.
"Let's get the hell out of here!" Gina said.
"Damn straight!" Dan said while helping to pull Gina to her feet.
They took off to the passageway, leaving their backpacks behind, only stopping long enough to pick up the one flashlight they could see in front of them. As they made their way through the passageway, neither one spoke what both were thinking: Why does this passageway seem a lot wider going back? Both stayed quiet. Neither uttering a word. Both of them too scared to speak their thoughts aloud.
They let out a breath of relief when they exited the cave.
"I think that cured me of caving for some time." Dan said while adjusting his shirt, which was twisted from working his way out of the maze of the cavern.
"Some time, my ass! I don't think I'll ever go into another cave! What in the hell do you think that was, Dan?"
"I don't know, Gina. But I intend to find out."
"You're not going back in there, are you?"
"No, well, not anytime soon. First, I'm going to do some research and see what I can find."
"Good idea. I'd like to know what we just experienced! I'll help you!"
They emerged out of the woods. Both were looking around and sensed the same thing. Something was just not right. Something was off, but neither could put a finger on it, so they stayed quiet.
Arriving home, Gina shed her clothes and stepped into her shower. The hot pulsating water beat down on her back and head, helping to release a myriad of pent-up emotions.
The phone rang just as Gina was drying off. Wrapping the towel around her, she rushed to the phone.
Before she could get Hello out, Dan spoke in a quiet, hushed tone, "Gina! Have ... have you noticed anything weird?"
"Gina's heart sank. She tried to block the strange feelings she had when exiting the cave. "What do you mean, Dan?"
"Have you been out around any people, yet?"
"No." Gina's heart started to beat faster. She didn't want to hear it. But she was left with no choice. "What's going on, Dan? Tell me. What do you mean?"
"Meet me at the library, Gina. I'm almost there now. Get there as quickly as you can!"
"You're scaring me! What do you mean?"
"You'll see. I'll meet you at the library in the next few."
Gina rushed to the library. By the time she got there, she knew what Dan meant. Her body shivered as she thought of how kind and polite everyone she encountered was. It was eerie. They were too kind, too polite.
"Dan, what the hell's going on? People are acting weird! Like aliens took over their body or something!" Gina looked around warily. They were alone. Her body relaxed as she slowly exhaled from the strange encounters of the day. She looked like a tire had just deflated.
"Gina," Dan rubbed the back of his neck nervously, "I think when we left the cave, we didn't go back home. I think we entered a different dimension."
Gina shook her head up and down, "I knew something wasn't right. Did you notice how much wider the tunnel was getting back out of the cave? And everything seemed brighter, clearer and crisper." Her voice raised a bit too high and Dan hushed her.
Looking through the books, they noticed there was no history of violence. No wars, anger, nothing at all negative. It just wasn't natural.
Huddled together, they didn't notice the two men who approached them from behind.
"Dan, Gina. I need you two to come with me, please."
Both recognized something resembling a gun in their hands. Dan spoke up, "I didn't think there was any violence here," trying to control his voice from trembling, "what is that in your hand?"
"Sir, I assure you, we do not injure people here. We are not like people on your planet. It will be painless. Just come on with us. Do not cause a scene and no one will get hurt."
Dan and Gina glanced at each other and nodded. With one quick movement, they slammed books into the men's faces and shot out around them, running faster than they knew they could run.
Outside they ducked down into a dimming alleyway. The sun was going down, which gave them a bit of cover from the dark.
"What are we going to do, Dan?"
"The only thing we can do. We have to make it back to the cave and see if we can get home!"
Nodding in agreement, they run as fast as they can and head for the edge of the woods. They grew up in this town trodding through the woods, which they knew very well, pushing the stray branches away from them. The area was quite pretty with the large oak trees, green ivy plants, and lovely cliffs. The woods are too quiet. The air feels like there is no substance to it. The world they're in feels artificial.
Not hearing anyone, they run to the Cavern. Make their way through the narrow tunnel and jump into the water. Right away, they are met with a blinding flash of light, the water bubbles, the gray fog returns, when it's over, they exit the water. There they find their backpacks and the other flashlight. Picking it up, it flashes on the symbol they saw before, "Evil World, Stay Away!" Gina and Dan look at each other, breathing hard and trembling.
"They mean our world is evil, don't they, Dan?"
"Yea, I think so. But I'll take our world over that freak show, of one anytime!"
With a nervous chuckle, Gina starts popping her knuckles, "Yea, me too. Let's go home."
They exchange nervous glances as they make their way through the tunnel to the outside world.