Sunday, August 07, 2005

Trap Door to Oblivion

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“So this is the ‘Cave of Whispers,’” I said to Stanton. His hand was on my arm, and he steadied me as we made our way through the dark opening of the cave, past the spider webs, and over the slippery, wet bushes and thorny grasses that grew outside. He handed me a small flashlight, and flipped on an identical one.

“We need more than flashlights if we’re going to go very far,” he said. I could feel the tension in his grip, the doubt in his voice. “I’m not sure that this is a very good idea.”

Still wet from my plunge into Three Horses River, I was starting to feel chilled. The sound of water became very loud as we made our way a few feet into the cave. It was a large cave, with room to stand up.

“This doesn’t seem too bad,” I said. “Is this a big cavern? Are there other caves?”

I started to move forward. Stanton’s large hand grasped me around the waist and he pulled me tight to him. Surprised at the urgency of his grip, I looked up into his face. Hard, chiseled jaw, firm lips, dark smoldering eyes met mine. He embraced me with a passion that made me lose my breath.

“You have no idea how much I treasure who and what you are,” he said to me.

Stanton,” I said, quietly. The water was loud, and I was not sure that he would be able to hear me. “I understand. When I look into your eyes, I see directly into your heart, your animating ideals, your past, your present… it rolls open like a scroll. I can read it.”

“Let’s not give up on each other,” he said. I nodded. “Not ever again.”

He held me tighter and pulled me back a half-step. “Look.”

Straight ahead, in a place that should have been the floor of the cave, was a dark void from which emanated the roaring sound of water rushing over rocks.

“We used to call this the Trap Door, but there’s not really any kind of door. It’s a hole, and if you don’t see it, you’ll fall right in.”

“How terrifying,” I said. “A Trap Door to Oblivion. I would have been terrified.”

“With good reason. It is also very slippery, and easy to lose one’s grip. There is a small ledge on one side, but I don’t recommend trying to get around the hole by going on the ledge. What makes this a perfect hiding place is that if you have a couple of boards, you can make a bridge, which you can then remove behind yourself” he said.

“Did you ever do that?” I asked.

“No – I was a kid, and I didn’t have anything to hide, or any boards, for that matter. But, I remember talking about it with my dad.”

“That makes all the difference, doesn’t it?” I asked.

“Yes. It does.”

“We can come back later,” I said. “With boards.”

We turned and walked the few steps back to the cave entrance. As I stepped gingerly across the brush and a small prickly pear cactus, I noticed a shadow lean toward me.

I looked up, deeply startled. In front of us, just outside the opening of the cave, were two thin men in black pants, white short-sleeved cotton shirts with button-down collars, and black ties. They carried pocket New Testaments in their shirt pockets. One had a notepad in his hand.

“Can we help you?” asked the man with the notepad.

I looked at Stanton and then back at the two men. I had a sinking feeling.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like the renewal of love between Ophelia and Stanton as they try to solve the mysteries behind "God's Hostage." I guess their deepening love for each other will lead them to solve the mysteries. Will the degree of love between Ophelia and Stanton directly proportional to the degree of mysteries solved or revealed? Let us see what happens...