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Rated: E · Fiction · Contest · #2266091
Clio tests her champion
This was written for a Banana Bar contest, according to the following prompt:

It's a funny thing now that we are all gathered here in The Banana Bar with our muses, waiting for the Day 3 prompt to finally be revealed, when all of a sudden the lights went out, and when the lights came back on you find yourself in the Banana Bar Basement.
Oh No! That's not good. Luckily there was a pen and paper left behind, probably by the last group of bloggers I trapped in the basement somehow. Write about what you find or discover in the basement, and how you find your way out. or if you find your way out Do you meet anyone down there? Is your muse helpful in helping you navigate a path back upstairs?

"Tell me, O muse, of the man of many ways, who was driven far journeys..."

The sudden shift startled him. Falling to his knees, Dave felt moist dirt under his hands.

"What the...," Dave exclaimed as he rose slowly to his feet. "Clio," Dave called. "Clio, are you there?" Dave heard nothing except the sound of water dripping somewhere near him.

Afraid to move, but knowing he must do something, Dave remembered the lighter in his pocket. Holding it above his head, he thumbed the striker. As the small pool of light spread around him, Dave saw he was in a squarish chamber with dirt walls, floor, and ceiling. It smelled of mildew and decay., kind of like old mushrooms. Realizing he could not use his lighter forever, he began to look around him, hoping to find a lantern, or even an old torch. On the floor, up against the nearest wall sat an old rusty bucket. Next to it, he saw an old-style lantern. Walking over to it, he picked it up. Jostling it a bit, he was happy he heard liquid moving inside. Looking to ensure it had a serviceable wick, he lifted the globe and lit the lamp.

The light around grew, spreading into the darkness, Dave saw that he seemed to be in an open area at the end of a tunnel. Sides and ceiling supported by large timbers, it looked like an old mine shaft more than anything else. "Clio," Dave called again. He listened for a reply. He heard nothing. He looked around one last time. There had to be an exit somewhere. Seeing nothing resembling an exit, he decided to leave, to follow the tunnel and see where it led. What other choice did he have? Entering the tunnel, he saw an old rusty pick propped up against the wall. Grabbing it, he held the lantern high and continued.

Clio watched from the shadows. Dave was a curious man. He was so clever. The speech he wrote was nothing less than awe inspiring. There was something about him she could not quite put her finger on. She would be spending a lot of time with him and she wanted to see what he was made of.

Not far into the tunnel, Dave tripped on what appeared to be a small set of tracked rails. They ended just before the room he had just left." So, this must be a mine indeed," Dave thought. He hoped the entrance was near.

Following the track as it curved a little right, and then left, he walked for perhaps 20 minutes. He had seen various mining tools the farther he went into the tunnel, but no exits, no new shafts, no doors or ladders. He began to worry. Would be lost in here forever?

The shaft hooked sharply to the right. Dave turned the corner and stopped suddenly, grabbing a wall timber to keep from falling into the chasm that appeared before him. The floor of the shaft had fallen away. The wall on the shaft had also crumbled, leaving a gaping hole on the left-hand side. The cart tracks he had been following had broken and no longer reached to the other side. The chasm looked to be at least 10 feet across. If one had been on this side, it would... well, be useless.

"What do I do now? Dave said aloud, somewhat startled by his own voice. "How do I get a cross?"

"Jumping is out of the question," he said, aloud again. It comforted him in a way to speak into the darkness. The silence was getting to him.

There was no way he could jump that far. Maybe this is why he had seen no carts so far. There had to be something he could do. He did not want to die down here, where ever here was.

Remembering a few of the things he had seen on the way, Dave turned and walked back down the tunnel.

Heading back now, Dave carried his botty - a rope that was at least 30 feet long and still seemed sound, a length of chain and some tackle, a long pole with a metal hook on the end, and a rugged looking leather backpack. Reaching the chasm, Dave sat to think. How could he use these to get across?

While sitting, he noticed that the chasm was irregular. It was wider on the left than on the right. The right-hand side looked to be no wider than six or seven feet. He still didn't feel he could jump that distance, at least not safely, but this made crossing to the other side much more likely. Standing up, he looked at the walls and ceiling around the gaping hole.

The right side seemed solid enough, though a large timber running along the floor had broken and only cleared the edge by about two feet. Looking left, he verified his earlier observation. The left wall had crumbled and the fissure was widest there. On the ceiling, however, an angled support beam crossed from one side to the other. Even though, some of the ceiling had fallen around it, the ends looked like they were still firmly anchored. A plan began to take shape in his mind.

Moving quickly, Dave sat the lantern on the floor and grabbed the pole, pushing it out toward the beam on the ceiling. "Good, it reaches," he said as he put the pole down. Picking up a couple of rocks off of the floor, he put them into the backpack. Taking one end of the rope, he tied it around his waist. He tied the other end to the straps on the pack. Taking the pole he hooked the backpack, and reaching toward the ceiling, pushed it through the gap above the beam. Slipping, the pack fell off of the hook toward the chasm. Yanking sharply on the rope, he stopped its fall.

Using the pole, Dave pulled the backpack to him and untied the rope, which he then tied securely to the tracks on the floor. Throwing the pole to the other side in case he needed it again, he put the pick in backpack and then put it on backwards, over his chest. Taking the lantern and holding the handle in his teeth, he picked up the rope, gripping it tightly.

"Heph Gopf," he said around the handle in his mouth. Dave ran to the chasm, and began to swing across.

A little more than halfway to the other side, the beam broke free and he began to fall. Before he could scream, he landed hard on his back... on the other side. Coughing and in pain, he found it hard to breathe. The lantern's globe had not broken, but a little of its fuel had spilled onto the pack. It began to burn. Sitting up slowly, he moved the lantern and put out the flames out with his hands.

"That was NOT fun," he said, but I made it. "Time to get moving again." Taking the pick out of the pack, and then picking up the lantern, he moved on. Before long, and after one more hard turn to the left, he saw a faint glow of light ahead. Picking up his pace, he soon saw a partially opened door... In a room filled with wooden boxes which smelled surprisingly like bananas. The light was coming from the other side. "Finally," Dave said. I have escaped.

Before he could move, he heard a loud hissing noise behind him. Turning quickly, he looked down at the largest rat he had ever seen in his life, and it looked mad.

Dave stared, his mouth hanging open. It was as big as a bobcat. This is impossible!

The rat jumped. Instinctively, he swung the pick around, piercing the rat in its side. Letting go of the pick, the rat fell to the floor. It twitched feebly one time and then stopped moving.

Dave looked at the rat, and then his hand. "What the..."

"Well done, Dave," Clio said behind him. He jumped. Spinning around he saw Clio standing beside the open door.

"What... How," he stammered.

"Come on in side, Dave," Clio murmured. "We have been waiting for you, and from the look of things, you have an interesting story to tell."

Walking through the door, Dave saw all of his Mates and their Muses.

"Dave," one cried. "Come on in. Where have you been?"

As they gathered around, asking question and patting him on the back, another walked up and handed him a drink. "Good to see you made it," he said. He had a nametag on. It read: Basement Guy. "Oh, by the way, that's a banana daiquiri.

"That's me," he said grinning. "I'm the Basement Guy. Now, why don't you come in and tell us what happened. It looks like you had an adventure out there."

Clio watched as Dave told his story. Her instincts had been right. Dave may not be Odysseus. He may not have faced down and defeated a cyclops or have outsmarted the King of Troy, but He had a way about him. He was intelligent and brave, in his own way. Yes, this was going to be a partnership she enjoyed...


After Hera, both Zeus and Aphrodite had gone as well, leaving Mnemosyne by herself. She wanted to see what her daughter was doing. After a while, she left, a knowing smile on her lips.

1582 words

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