The Rescuers’ Journey

Thought I would offer an excerpt from my novel Moon of the Goddess. Hope you enjoy it!

“This is the place where the tunnel narrows,” said Melanion. He turned sideways, leading with his shoulder. The tunnel wall was hardly a handspan from his face.

“Not supposed to be a long section,” said Panacea. “At least that’s what the priestess told us.”

Melanion  slid his feet sideways. He felt confined. It seemed as if the darkness resisted his forward movement. There was not a breath of movement in the heavy air.

A moment later, there was no rock in front of him. He leaned back on the rough wall as Panacea stepped from the cleft to stand beside him. The darkness extended in all directions, and he smelled a hint of sulfur. His lamp felt tiny in his hands. He could not judge the size of the cavern.

“Now we look for the markers that show us the way across.” Panacea pointed to the ground just at the edge of their lamplight. “There’s the first white stone.”

“White stone,” came a quiet echo from across the cavern.

“The echo took a long time to come back,” said Melanion. “This chamber is huge.”

“Time…huge,” repeated an echo of his voice.

“We had best start across then, and get to the other side,” said Panacea softly.

“Start,” the echo said.

Only start, thought Melanion. Why did the echo only pick up some words? “Let’s cross,” he said.

“Cross?” asked the echo.

“Just don’t say anything,” whispered Panacea, her lips too close to his ear for the echo to pick up her voice.

Melanion nodded. The shadow of his head danced against the rock wall. Panacea leaned away from the side of the cavern, and Melanion stepped forward beside her. Darkness closed in behind them. They reached the first white rock; the next sat just at the edge of the light. Melanion counted the rocks as they passed them, a way of measuring the distance in the empty darkness.

“Here,” came the echo of a whisper.

“Who is there?” Panacea asked.

“There, there, there,” said the echo. “Here,” it whispered.

“Who else would be here,” said Melanion, trying to ignore the echo of his words. Panacea shook her head and said nothing. They moved on past another white stone, and another. The rock beneath their feet seemed to shiver slightly, then felt solid again. He glanced at Panacea, but she was looking straight ahead. Maybe he had imagined the tremor. The ground sloped a little downward; they were nearing the other side. As they stepped past another white stone, Melanion stopped. He could not see the next marker.

Melanion touched Panacea’s elbow lightly, avoiding speech and the echo. They took a small step forward, and another. Melanion looked back and could just see the stone they had passed. Nothing marked the path forward.

“What now?” he asked.

“What, what, what?” asked the echo.


About cathyhird

I am an author, former farmer, retired minister, and when I get a chance, a weaver. Storytelling that inspires is important to me. I have two novels set in ancient Greece, Moon of the Goddess and Before the New Moon Rises.
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