Speck led the others into the cave and down the first part where natural light still showed something. The air had changed and now instead of the rain cleansed smell they had all grown used to, this was a dark dank smell thicker than normal air.
Speck and Joel were conscious that they had nothing of substance to light the pathway ahead. Assuming, of course, there was a pathway. The mobiles had all died and the one torch was no faint and fading. They had used some of their clothes to make some simple torches, torn up and wrapped around the end of a stick – each one of the carried one. With no oil or wax, these torches relied on setting fire to these damp rags.
The cave passageway curve around to the right enough to prevent the light from the entrance being seen. it was soon pitched darkness and Speck carefully inched his way forwards and stopping often to feel all around him.
The others held to the one before them, all afraid to speak in the stillness of the cave. Speck suddenly yelled and Joel behind him felt Speck fall away suddenly. He stood still, sweating as the fear of the unknown gripped him, and others now sensing the fear.
They sat thinking for a while around the warmth of the fire. Chloe’s words sinking in and each with their own thoughts. Keith now had moved closer to the fire wanting to sit next to Sarah, but she moved away to get something from her bag and returned to another spot.
Joel spoke now, “when will it cease to be night? This constant darkness is so depressing and oppressive.” Keith wondered if he should mention the bird and the way the sky appeared at that time.
The group was low in spirit and Keith could feel their despair. He need to share so he discided to tell them.
“I saw a bird just over there,” he said pointing to where the thick trees ended between the pathway trees and the stark black rocks. The trees were more sparse here appearing like blackness on a black background.
“When I saw it I noticed the sky appeared to have a sunset, it lasted for a few moments and then it was gone.”
Keith hesitated to mention that the bird spoke to him, the group were now eyeing him and beginning to question him on why he should see this alone and no one else did.
“The bird spoke to me!” he interjected looking about him and expecting more comments. This time though they ceased to question and seemed more interested and keen to know what the bird has said.
Keith told them and looked over to where he saw the bird. It was strange for darkness began to split apart and for a second or two a bright light, like the moon peeped through. There was gasp for the whole group and a sense of joy for this brief sighting of light and a possible near dawning.
The darkness was different, this darkness was dry and that in itself was warming to their cold bodies and tired minds. The entered into the opening of the cave, not daring to go further but so happy to be out of that chilling wind. Tiredness now swallowed up the hunger they had held back for so many days. Soon they all begin to fall asleep and not one of them could keep watch.
One torch lit the cave entrance for several hours as all the group slept soundly for the first for a long long time. Then gradually its power and light faded growing ever dimmer until it flickered and died, leaving the cave in darkness.
The cave was no accident for it had existed for many years, a place of refuge and passageway for those that dared. Who would know it in that darkness, the thin lines and letters etched on the walls telling a message of warning and salvation?
Now in the darkness, something moved from within, creeping closer until it breathed down on the sleepers something still warmer.
So dark it was, no light entered to bring hope except the light they had themselves. Sleep was short whilst two watched and the others slept. Then they walk on for a few more hours before they rest again.
They guessed it was morning though they lost any sense of time or day, it helped to call it something. Their mobiles all now had died and all that was left them was a few torches, some lighters and a box of matches. The air generally cool and damp froze their bones from the inside but now suddenly a new chill could be felt. It caused a shiver through the whole group quite literally.
And so it was this breeze, this wind blowing against them as they walked. Never changing or relenting. Is this what hope feels like?
is this what is meant to draw them all forwards and to a new part of this adventure, a new pathway, maybe this time warm and full of light and maybe this was going into the morning.