Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel)
(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)
Book Three, Chapter Two, Part Nine
Once they finished their snacks in the darkness on the stone staircase, Jonathan knew it was now time to keep moving down the stairs. This was an impossible situation he realized, but as the leader of this adventure, Jonathan knew it was his duty to give them hope and find a way out of this predicament. There was no way they could just sit here in place, because no one knew where they were – let alone the fact that they were trapped deep underground – even beyond the reach of the cavern system. The list of their remaining supplies was a very short one, as there was one more bag of treats for Sammy, and Jonathan was now down to a few chocolate chip cookies. They had one canteen of water left between the two of them, and his flashlight was on its last remaining batteries. For now, they would have to cautiously move down the stairway in the dark, because he had to conserve the remaining power of the flashlight for the time when they might really need it.
“Sammy, we need to start moving again, and the best way down the stairs I think is to scoot down slowly. If we stumble and fall down the staircase, we might get really hurt, so we’ll take it slowly.” With that said, Jonathan slowly scooted down to the next step on his bottom, while feeling the stone treads with his hands and feet in the dark. The two of them were lashed together with Sammy’s leash, and the arrangement seemed to be working, as Sammy easily made his way down to the next step beside him. With the knowledge that moving down the staircase in the dark was actually feasible, they continued down in the same manner step after step, deeper into the inky black depths below.
There was no way he could know if there would ever be a way out of this underground labyrinth, but that wasn’t the point in Jonathan’s mind, because they couldn’t just sit there on the stairs waiting to die – that wasn’t an acceptable option. In his mind, this tunnel of stairs had to lead somewhere, otherwise why had it been made in the first place? He couldn’t believe that this staircase would descend so far into the ground if there wasn’t an outlet for it to open to, but they couldn’t know if, or what it might be at this point. They would have to keep moving down the staircase as long as they had the strength to do so, and hope that whoever constructed it had a valid reason for carving it into the sandstone in the first place. Jonathan would never give up hoping that they would eventually escape this perpetual darkness, for it was their only hope left, that this predicament wouldn’t lead to their demise.
There was no way of knowing what time it was in this endless dark void, but Jonathan knew it had to be at least mid-afternoon in the daylight of Southern Ohio by now. All they could do at this point, was to keep moving down the dark staircase until they didn’t have any strength remaining. Scooting down the staircase on his hands, feet and posterior, was hard on his palms against the rough sandstone, so at one point he paused to remove his gloves from his backpack and put them on. Sammy seemed to have an easier approach at descending the staircase, lagging slightly behind his Master, and cautiously probing each lower stair tread with one paw before committing to moving.
All-in-all, descending into the dark void before them was easier than when Jonathan had first considered it, especially without a railing of some sort to hold onto, as it was virtually impossible to walk down the staircase without stumbling in the darkness. This process of scooting down the stairs was time consuming though, and the seconds, minutes, and hours ticked away without any understanding of the passing of time. Finally at one point, he was too tired to continue, and didn’t know if it was the same day or the next, but there was no way of continuing on without rest. They both shared a sip out of the canteen, and tried to make themselves as comfortable as possible on the stone treads. Jonathan leaned back into a reclining position against his backpack, and Sammy lay beside him with his muzzle on Jonathan’s stomach, as they both drifted off into an uncertain and troubling sleep…