Friday, August 31, 2012

Episode 23- Secrets

Outside the cave, the entire forest seemed to be in flames.  I could not understand how the fire had spread so quickly through the rain-soaked woods unless it was caused by the extreme heat generated by the alien ship's destruction.

Smoke rolled through the night.  Acrid, smoldering fumes floated into the cave.

There was nowhere else to go.

When  the  back wall of the cave slide to one side with a soft, grating noise, I stepped into the opening.  Seconds, later, it closed behind me, sealing me in.  I was alone in the dark in a four foot by four foot cube.  The screen of my hand held locating device faded to a soft green glow.

I aimed in different directions, hoping to see a tunnel leading to safety, but all I could see were four walls and a rock ceiling.

"Hello?" I called.

Someone had to have activated the rock door.  I knew better, but it was important to feel like I wasn't alone.  It made more sense that the locating device caused the wall to slide open and close after I entered.

"Anybody there?"

I leaned against the rock wall and waited.

Only two nights ago I'd been sitting in Emily's living room, talking to the old woman about the alien artifacts.  I remembered feeling as though I was balanced on the edge of a great mystery, where a sudden move could plunge me into depths of darkness beyond what I could imagine.  Now, leaning against the wall of a solid rock cage, I realized that I was trapped.  If I died where I stood, no one would ever know.

Somewhere outside, the forest fire raged and the United States military was closing in on the alien crash site.  The flames and scourging heat were burning any evidence I'd been there to charred embers.  Even if I wanted them to find me, there would be no trace.  With the military scouring the area, chances of Mark getting through to me were virtually zero.  And they could be examining the forest for weeks, months, maybe even years.  An alien craft had crashed there, so the prize was worth it.  If any part of the ship survived the fire, the burned out forest would turn into the most important square mile in Kentucky.

"Can you hear me?" I yelled.

If anyone did hear me, they ignored me.

I needed sleep, I needed food and water, clean clothes and most of all I needed the hell out of there.

Using the fading light of the locating device, I scanned the walls for secret levers, buttons or handles but couldn't find any.  Who built sliding doors in a cave, anyway?  Why would anyone do that?  I couldn't imagine Mark doing it.  Maybe I could, but it would take a lot of money and contractors to do the work and he couldn't live with that unless he killed them after the job was done to keep the secret.

Dead men tell no tales, I thought.  Pirates of Kentucky.

I knew I was losing it, but it wasn't like I didn't have good reason.

The only thing I was sure of was that it couldn't get any weirder or worse.

I changed my mind when a skull and crossbones symbol flared on the back wall of the rock cage and a section of it began to swing inward like a door.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

At least he'll be out of that room!

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

I like the illustration... and of course the episode. :)

Rick said...

And in time for the holiday weekend, too, Alex.

Rick said...

Thanks, Bernard. I'm going to make a wall covering out of that picture!

Charles Gramlich said...

Couldn't get any weirder? I doubt that!