What Lies Beneath – Chapters One and Two

To all who continue to follow my blog-Thank you! Today I am posting chapters one and two in their entirety so that you can follow the story in one complete feed.  Next week I will begin posting chapter three.  I hope you continue to follow my writing and my career. Enjoy…

What Lies Beneath

The Quest

Tedesco, a rather unassuming character couldn’t help but notice the strange markings etched into the cavern wall.  As he runs his fingers along the mysterious inscription, he questions their origin.   He commits every detail to memory before continuing on.  Tedesco shouts to the others when he realizes that they had already moved on; their light now barely visible amid the dark tunnels.  He would have to follow that light, if he had any hope of keeping up with his party.  As he strives to make his way toward the others, he continues to slide his hand along the cavern walls.  Tedesco feels a break in the smooth cold rock and stops to get a closer look.  Again his attention averted as he makes note of a similar impression.  He calls out to the others, but their light is no longer visible and for the first time Tedesco becomes unsettled.  Fearing that he has been separated from his colleagues, Tedesco immediately takes account of his surroundings and maps out his original footsteps.  In the event that he becomes lost, this would be his only way out.  His instincts tell him to exit the mine and wait for the others to find him, but his curiosity has gotten the better of him.  Even before the expedition began it was agreed upon, if any had become lost or separated they would abort the mission and wait at the caverns entrance for the others to return.   However, Tedesco was not about to deny himself this unique opportunity and goes against protocol advancing deeper into the abyss, knowing full well that his actions are a mistake.  Still he refuses to turn back, after all this is what he has been training for.   After years of waiting he was finally chosen to be part of this team.

Tedesco is part of an eight man scientific expedition, chosen to explore the mines beneath the Mayan Temples.  Each was made aware of the dangers that exist within the mines.  For this is no ordinary expedition, this particular quest would test mans ability to survive without the use of modern equipment.  Cell phones and tracking devices only complicate an already difficult passage, because the signals become scrambled and are lost once beneath the surface of the earth.  The mines were kept secret for centuries, sealed off and hidden from man to protect what only a handful of explorers have been privy too.  These were no ordinary passages; these deep caverns have been carved beneath the earth’s surface by a force much greater then man himself.  With only ancient artifacts and fragmented accounts to guide his way, Tedesco begins his decent into the unknown.  What man has awakened cannot be undone…

My name is Tedesco and I am the sole survivor of an eight-man expedition. Should I reach the surface; my story will change the course of human kind.  However I do not believe that this is mine to share.  All those who came before me, have met the same fate, their shattered paths set before me, left behind to lend caution to all who dare enter the mines.  We as humans are taught never to surrender; to fight until our last breathe.  I fear that alone I cannot escape this vast black underground, I am trapped within a maze of endless fractures; meant to confuse man and keep their secret concealed.  However I now know the truth, and what I have unearth must never be exposed, for mankind can never know the truth!  When I first learned of this place; I focused upon the advances that could come from such a discovery.  Possibly the knowledge of a greater existence could bring forth unity among nations or cure our most deadly diseases, but there is no hope here, only death.   Alone there is little I can do to assure that this secret remains locked inside the earth, still I will do all that is humanly possible to protect mankind.

For centuries men have tried to decipher the secret markings barely visible at the base of the Temple.  The etchings display symbols that are unrelated to any known.  The inscriptions are only mentioned two times throughout the entire Mayan history.   Still no man dare undermine the foundation of the Temple; to dig without cause could destroy centuries old treasures.  Throughout history men have discovered underground passages; built to intentionally fool thieves.  These empty tunnels were constructed to lead the unsuspecting to a dead end.  Set in place with a purpose; for purpose is found in all things.  For thousands of years their secrets remained safe; when first the entrance to the mine was unearthed it was believed to be another hoax.   Men searched the caverns looking for hidden treasure; but it wasn’t fortune that these men would discover.  Instead something evil and deadly would find them.  Hidden beyond our reach, man would come to understand that we are not alone, there are others…

The entrance was eventually sealed, and all accounts of such an existence erased from history.   To unearth such knowledge and awaken what is meant to remain dormant would bring forth the end.   Still it was only the suggestion of such a history that beckoned men to continue their search; a pursuit that eventually led us to this place.  I am fully aware of the silence; it is the quiet that gives me purpose.  So with only a light to guide my way I keep close to the cavern walls and make my descent into the unknown.  The etchings begin to tell a story, they are more detailed the further I advance.  As the hours pass, my thoughts begin to wander and I realize that I must find a place to rest.  Alone in the darkness with only my thoughts, I copy the symbols I committed to memory into my notebook.  Although the symbols themselves are unfamiliar, they begin to follow a pattern.  I will rest here for a while before continuing on.  If I hope to be reunited with my colleagues, I will need my strength; together we have the ability to unlock the mysteries that have remained hidden for centuries.

Samuel is a soldier of fortune and the leader of the expedition, chosen for his ability to track and hone his surroundings.  Doctors Simpson is our team’s medical doctor, Mathias is an experts in Mayan history, and I am a geographer.  The others include two geologists, a weapons expert and a chemist.   I have spent my entire career reading maps and deciphering codes; it is our collective abilities that brought us together and eventually lead us here.  I am ready to move forward, I turn on the light on my protective headgear and remain careful to stay close to the cavern walls.  I continue to run my hand along the smooth surface and again come across the strange markings.  The symbols always display the same pattern and they are beginning to make sense to me.  The deeper I venture into the tunnels the better I understand what the etchings mean; these particular markings are a map code of sorts, and are leading me toward uncertainty.  I see an obscure light in the distance and am hopeful that I have found my party.  I call out but no answer is returned, perhaps they are still too far ahead, therefore I will stay the course.  In my haste I quicken my pace, focusing only upon the light.  No more do I stay close to the cavern walls, instead I take to the center of the tunnel, a decision that would be costly.  Before me a hole large enough to swallow a man, draws me in, and without the help of my colleagues I find myself helplessly falling.

The Fallen

I tumble and hit the hard rock below, pain radiates through my body, but nothing seems to be broken.  I wait for the dust to settle before pulling myself to my feet.  As my mind clears I notice a light masked by debri.  I cautiously make my way toward the light to get a closer look.  Then I remove the rubble that entombs the lifeless body of Doctor Koontez; one of our geologist.  This is an unfortunate casualty, and for me a sad reminder of the darkness that dwells within these tunnels.  I rest the Doctors body along the cavern wall, and gather all essential belongings to help navigate my way.  I turn off the light on his hardhat and say goodbye, I must stay focused if my journey is not to end with the same fate.  The others must have moved on and I am no longer following their footsteps.  If we should reconnect it will be purely by chance.  I know that I am completely on my own and now there is no turning back…

The tunnel is cold and offers only darkness around each bend.  Each symbol I find assures me that I am following the course left behind.  Then in the distance I see a mist and a faint odor fills the tunnel; still I continue moving forward.  As I do so, I run my hand along the wall and note a change in the texture of the rock; it has become moist to the touch.  However, I will not let this deter me.  It isn’t until the cold rock turns soft and my hand is covered in a thick spongy substance, that I question my reasons for being here?  I take a sample of the gunge only to discover that the test is inconclusive.  Still I am determined to find the origin of this cave, and it is then that my eyes uncover something new.  There before me is a vast empty void.  Could this be where the symbols were meant to lead me?   Here within the shadows, the walls themselves seem to breath and above me the distance above appears to soar for hundreds of feet.  I take several samples before exploring the cavern for answers.  Then I find what appears to be an exoskeleton embedded in the sticky matter; it is the remnants of something quite large and unknown to man.  I stand motionless trying to make sense of what I’m looking at.  Although it appears to be a Cicadoidea; a species better known as a Cicada and this is no ordinary Cicada!  This anomaly is the size of a boulder and has the same markings embedded into its shell as those found along the walls of the cavern.  This creature is not of God; but then what force created this creature?

I question if I should turn back and return with another search party?  Still, that could take months to organize, and by then my colleagues would have discovered without me that which we set out to do as a team.  How could I walk away from a discovery of this magnitude?  After all there is no sign that this creature still exist.  Could this remnant of life be left here from another time?  Just as dinosaurs once roamed the earth above, this creature could have inhabited the earth below.  Therefore I continue moving forward.  I look beyond the cavern to another tunnel, however this one appears to be unlike the others.  There is a strange mist covering the floor of the tunnel and it seems to flow from beyond the passageway.  It spreads throughout the entire chamber and casts an eerie glow that blankets the floor beneath my feet.  As I step into the mysterious cavern, I discover a new pattern.  Etched into the walls at the entrance to the tunnel are undulating swirls surrounding the original markings?  What does this mist signify, and why is it depicted in the etchings?  Before venturing further into the tunnel, I take time to log everything I discovered thus far; this may be the only account of my presence here. My mind is locked within the moment and I am lost in my thoughts.   It is as if I am a million miles away from where I stand and yet it affirms that I am so hopelessly alone.  I take a deep breath before continuing on.  I stare into the mist and take my first step; thence my heart stops mid-beat as a hand grabs hold of my shoulder.  I close my eyes for fear of what I might see, when a familiar voice beckons; “I thought we had lost you too.”  “Samuel, thank God!” I state with delight.  I am at a loss for words, and relieved that somehow I was able to reconnect with my colleagues. The tunnels are a maze of deception and fortunately they connect at this point.

I am relieved to see my colleagues, and this time I will not allow myself to get separated from them again.  Together we enter the mist filled tunnel and once again I use my hand to guide me through the darkness.  The cold rock is wet and slimy to the touch and the walls are oozing with the same component found in the cavern.   The faint odor that was barely noticeable before has now become pungent.  Although the stench is difficult to bear, Dr. Lutz has determined that it poses no danger to our health.  The tunnel seems endless and we remain quiet amid the darkness as we navigate our way through its many twists and turns.  Little is spoken until Josef our weapons expert notices a blue light reflecting off the mist.   The light radiates through small holes borrowed into the walls and floor of the tunnel.  The light now guides our steps and raises caution.   Still we continue to move forward; we were all aware of the risks and each of us vows to press on.  We come across several exoskeletons, similar in size and shape to the one found in the cavern.   We advance slowly and Samuel advises us to stay close to one another.  We are stopped in our tracks by what appears to be a doorway encrypted with the same markings seen throughout the mine.  The door is sealed tight with no visible joints or hinges.  I run my hand along the markings and reflect upon the sketches in my journal.  For the first time the familiar pattern is beginning to make sense, and I finally see what has been laid out before us.  One faces west, another due north and again west; the etchings chart the cave, as the stars chart the heavens.  I touch each symbol one at a time, carefully sliding my hand along the cold service.  Several times I repeat this pattern until we feel a surge of power and the rock separates from the walls.  There before us lies the answers we have come to find.

Josef is unnerved and raises his weapon.  Sensing Josef’s unrest Samuel gently places his hand on the firearm and lowers it before he has a chance to react.  There are thousands of holes borrowed into the floor and this time they are notably large.  A constant whirring sound fills the air and the warm blue glow seen in the tunnel illuminates the entire room.   Large carvings that match the etchings found throughout the mine are systematically placed.  Samuel takes the lead and Lydia the rear; we must stay focused and alert and we remain careful not to disturb anything inside the chamber. Despite our efforts Mathias is careless and looses his footing stumbling into one of the voids.  He quickly lifts his foot from the divot, which is now covered in the same gunge found outside the room, and shakes it off. “How careless can you be,” argues Samuel?  “We are here only to observe,” he continues; “you of all people should know the value of such a find.” Dr. Simpson advises Mathias to be careful as we tread deeper into the room.  We keep together and are careful not to make the same mistake.  Lydia Sanchez the remaining member of the team’s geologist bends down to take a rock sample and is temporarily distracted.  At the same time Samuel motions for us to go ahead of him; “Josef will take the lead for now,” he states.  Doctors Simpson and Luts, as well as Mathias and myself are all accounted for however one of our party members is no where to be found.  Samuel immediately scouts the room for any sign of her, while Josef readies his weapon.  Although her equipment is recovered, Lydia has all but dissappeared.   Then it is heard, a vibrating drone that penetrates the room as dozens of Cicadoidea incase the walls and ceiling.

Finally we see them, staring blindly into the darkness; their red eyes piercing through the blue mist.  Their wings beating like the sound of a thousand drums.  Without considering the consequence, Josef fires aimlessly into the darkness and a mass of thousands swarm the room.  Each of us take cover to avoid the carnage, it is only when the dust settles that we discover the unfortunate fate of Ms.Sanchez.  What we came to discover no longer drives us; for now we are driven by our will to survive.  This is no mine, this is a nesting ground, and what we have disturbed was meant to be left dormant!

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