The Mine of the Marble Skull, (Part II)
The fire crackled lightly; Billy held one eye open watching the fire dance. Ever since entering the mine, the hair on the back of his neck had been in an almost permanent standing position.
He looked out onto the black chasm; his instincts had him staring at the pulsing light. As he had done the past couple of nights, he got up, stoked the fire, and walked back up the tracks. A torch in hand he padded, as not to wake up Lily or Toby. He glanced at Darius's way, seeing the bowl of his pipe light his face every few moments. Matt was on the edge of the canyon wall, looking out at the ruined bridge.
The darkness was absolute, besides the orb of yellow-red firelight. Billy reached a counted pace 87 and turned an immediate left. He lifted his hand to feel the rock and slipped through a man-sized crack in the rock wall. Entering the meadow, he was temporarily blinded by the moonlight, and after his eyes re-adjusted, he opened them. The cave meadow was visible from the full moon. Nothing stirred in the night, but the air was crisp and fresh. Light, fluffy clouds passed through a column that cascaded through a crack in the rock ceiling. The music of a few crickets leaked down into the cavern. He felt at peace in the meadow, to which Billy sat cross-legged and prayed.
A few moments later, He stood and proceeded to move to re-set a snare and placed himself under the small rock ledge. It was there that he caught a few z's.
Lily opened her eyes, peaking at Billy as he left the camp. She had noticed him doing so for that past few days. She knew he was heading to the meadow, she had read in the ancient manuscripts of a tribe, the people, that collapsed the ceiling to create a viable place to build farms and create the space for ceremony lodges.
She watched him until the small orb of yellow-red light disappeared. She shifted slightly, all while being careful not to wake young Toby. The boy became closer to her after she began to read some of the legends aloud. He kept to his story about ghost-like statues at the bottom of the dark pool below. He claims he caught a glimpse of them as he was flying out of the miner's cart.
She returned to contemplating the readings, for they spoke about a supernatural presence, from all the various cultures over the many centuries of burial, re-discovery, and re-burial. She, like all the other companions, stared out over the busted bridge and to the pulsing blue-white glow.
Could that be the presence? She thought.
Toby stirred, bringing Lily back to their side of the canyon. She ruffled his hair and made herself comfortable, returning to sleep.
No one slept well; Darius's mind was racing. He stared at the cave vines and the way Billy used them to gather water. Science was a strong suit for him; then physics appeared, mixing in mathematics made it harder to work with, in his eyes. The idea of how to use them remained clear. He took a few minutes, finished a smoke out of his redwood shire-mans, and then decided to move over to where Matt was sitting. He had his legs dangling over the edge.
"I think I know how to rebuild the bridge."