Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel)
(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)
Book Three, Chapter Two, Part Three
The cave’s initial passageway widened in front of Jonathan, and once he arrived at the expansive broadening of the corridor, he wasn’t initially prepared for what he discovered. The tight confines of the entrance tunnel gave way to what seemed to be an enormous underground chamber – enormous because his flashlight couldn’t illuminate either the far side, nor the bottom – however, the roof of the chamber stayed at about the same height as the tunnel he had been crawling through. He also discovered millions of black bats lived in this cave, hanging from the ceiling of the cavern in such numbers that he only saw a sea of hanging bats, and fortunately, they didn’t seem to take any interest in him.
Jonathan didn’t expect such an underground cavern to open up before him, and thought about his initial assessment of water flowing out of the underground cave, knowing at this point that it was virtually impossible. He now surmised that water during the rainy season must have flown ‘into’ the cavern from the gully when it flooded. Part of him knew that at this point he should back out of the passageway, and notify scientists that he had discovered a huge underground cavern system, but the other half of him was too tempted to explore his discovery further. His adventurous self overrode his rational self, and instead, he examined the cliff edge of this great cavern with his flashlight to see if there was a way down.
After a time investigating the cliff before him, he realized there was a narrow ledge off to the right, that seemed to create sort of a path downwards into the darkness. The problem was, his flashlight could only illuminate for about thirty feet, before being overcome by the intense darkness. He decided the only way to truly know if this pathway led anywhere, was to travel down it. After instructing Sammy to wait at the cliff’s edge, Jonathan edged down the ledge on his hands and knees, being careful to spool out the kite string behind him without breaking it. The ledge broadened after about the first twenty feet or so to about four feet wide, and he felt comfortable enough to stand up at this point, and called for Sammy to follow him. Sammy had no problem with balance issues on the narrow portion of the ledge, and easily caught up with his Master.
Pausing to investigate the cavern with his flashlight for a second time, Jonathan discovered the underground canyon wasn’t bottomless after all, as he could now barely see the bottom of the cave with his flashlight. They continued down the widening ledge for another five minutes or so, until reaching what was the smooth floor of the cavern. He could see a number of bones from animals who had somehow wandered into the cavern and never found their way back, which gave him pause for reflection. He knew he still had his string to guide him back out in an emergency, and concentrated on memorizing the route they’d taken up to that point if a problem occurred. He also realized he’d better not drop his flashlight into the darkness, and wish he’d tied it securely with a line to his backpack. The excitement of discovery was too great a draw on him, however, and at that point he had no inclination of turning back – not with such a grand discovery just waiting to be explored!
This chamber turned out to be perhaps one hundred feet long and fifty foot deep, with an unknown width. At the end of the cavern, there was yet another narrow portion, like a hallway of sorts about five feet wide. This passageway continued into a second chamber yielding stalactites and stalagmites in a very damp room. The humidity was thick and clammy in this cavern that continued to descend in a patchwork of separate pathways and cliff faces. Jonathan checked his string to ensure it was trailing properly behind them, and tried to commit this latest route to memory as well. He knew it would be difficult to avoid stumbling off blind cliffs in complete darkness, but rationalized that he could crawl back on his hands and knees if necessary, while carefully following the string if it came to that. Sammy hesitated at this point to go any farther, and spent more and more time looking back over his shoulder…