Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel)
(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)
Book Three, Chapter Two, Part Five
Jonathan and Sammy started out across the cavern again, letting out the kite string behind them as they continued down the path between stalactites and stalagmites for another thirty feet of so, until they reached another narrow tunnel section within the underground chambers. This one was only about eighteen inches wide, but as tall as a man. Jonathan mentally added the distance to their previous total, and figured they’d traveled about 410 feet so far into the cavern system, and confirmed his guesstimate based on the amount of kite string remaining on the spool. It was slow going within this narrow passageway, but such an adventure that Jonathan was very pleased with himself for making it this far. Both of them were small enough to easily walk through the corridor within walls of rock, and it was only about twenty more feet or so until they reached yet another cavern.
This chamber was a long room with a reasonably high ceiling of about fifteen feet Jonathan guessed, and about twice as wide, but longer than his flashlight had the power to illuminate. The stalactites and stalagmites were now gone, and the humidity wasn’t nearly as high in this chamber, but the stagnant air seemed to be fresher with the faint smell of salt. The cliff drop-offs and deep pools of water were now replaced with a rather level dirt floor, and other than the fact that he calculated they must now be 430 feet underground, it wasn’t such a bad place to be in. The chamber would have made a good hideaway, Jonathan thought, as it was plenty big enough and lacked any of the obvious pitfalls that could endanger their lives.
Sammy was able to walk free from his Master’s side now, and made his way directly into the shadows off to the left, where something seemed to have captured his attention. At first, Jonathan thought he should call Sammy back to him, but then decided it would be better to check out what he’d found, and shined his flashlight directly in front of what his adventure companion was checking out. It seemed that Sammy had found an old wooden chest, which was badly deteriorated and covered in dust. The metal corners, hinges, clasp and lock were badly rusted from the damp air, and it looked like it had been there for ages upon ages. The wood had rotted and splintered, and Jonathan thought it would fall to pieces into sawdust and splinters if he touched it.
Of course he couldn’t resist, and tried to raise the chest’s hinged top, but the lid wouldn’t budge. The lock still held the clasp firmly in place, but once Jonathan grabbed and pulled on the lock, the entire clasp and lock broke away from the chest in one solid piece. Once he lifted the lid, it fell back and broke into so many individual splintered boards, revealing a treasure of gold and silver coins lying in yet another box! “This treasure must be worth a fortune!” exclaimed Jonathan to Sammy, as his voice echoed off the walls of the chamber around him. He grabbed one of the gold pieces and looked it over in his hand, first one side and then the other. The inscription puzzled him, as it was from no place he had ever heard of before – the Kingdom of Arwyall. ‘Where the heck is that?’ thought Jonathan to himself. He decided to slip the gold coin into his pocket, and filled one of the side pockets of his backpack with gold and silver coins, making sure to remember to grab the rest as they made their way back out of the cave.
It was then that he noticed Sammy had gone on to investigate something in another shadow farther down the chamber, and made his way to investigate what new treasure he had discovered. Once he shined his flashlight on what Sammy was investigating, Jonathan realized he wasn’t eager to see it. Bleached white bones of a human skeleton were easily recognizable to him, even from yards away. Once he walked over to where Sammy was sniffing around the human remains, it was evident that the person died around the time the chest of gold and silver had been brought into this cave, as it seemed to have lain undisturbed for ages as well. The clothing the person wore had mostly disintegrated over that period of time, and all that was recognizable beyond the bleached bones, were some ancient leather pieces, a few old bronze tools, and a rusted metal sword that was no good to anyone.
The entire scene gave Jonathan reason to pause and consider their own situation, as they were now some 480 feet into the cavern system, and he could see that little was left of his kite string on the spool. This would be their last chamber to explore he decided, even as his flashlight flickered again and went out. The pitch darkness was immediately disturbing to him, knowing that he shared it with the remains of another explorer or perhaps even a pirate, along with the treasure trove he undoubtedly brought into the cave. But why here? Why did he haul such a heavy chest of gold and silver coins almost 500 feet into this cavern system only to choose this cave – or was there another entrance into this underground system of caves, passageways and chambers that Jonathan didn’t know about?
As he sat there in the dirt swapping out his only two spare D-cell batteries, he hoped his flashlight would power up again – and it did! The fact that he was now on his spare batteries and at the end of his kite string, told Jonathan they had no choice but to turn around and make their way back to the land of sunshine – but first, he needed one last look around the chamber before securing the remaining coins in his backpack and leaving…