“Gimme some light over here,” Chase asked Leah. She shined a flashlight on the area that Chase indicated. He ran his fingertips up and down the rough stone surface. The light revealed a large etching carved into the wall. Chase stood back to get a better look at all the lines. The groves resembled a “less than” sign with several straight lines connecting the top and the bottom brackets; it reminded Chase of several triangles stacked on each other, then turned on its side.
“There’s another one over there,” Leah said. She aimed the light on another symbol that literally mirrored the first one they found. Instead of the triangles pointing left, the two symbols appeared to be pointing at each other. The second symbol was carved into the wall parallel to the first.
“Get Ira to bring a set of floodlights,” Chase said. Leah tossed him the flashlight, then she unhooked the radio from her belt and brought it up to her mouth while pressing the “talk” button.
“Hey babe?” she spoke into it. Chase continued to examine the wall. He discovered a vertical groove between the two triangular shapes.
“Honey? Can you hear me?” Leah asked again when no response came. After another moment she heard garbled static. “I guess it doesn’t reach down here. I’ll go get him,” she said. “You gonna be okay on your own?” Chase nodded.
“I’ll be fine. Oh! Since you’ll have an extra pair of hands bring a cooler too. I got a feeling about this spot.” Chase remained focused on the vertical carving. As far as he could tell it was a straight line placed exactly between the two other etchings.
“‘Kay. Be back in a few,” Leah waved while she started walking down the narrow hall back the way they came from. The path was illuminated by evenly spaced lights they dropped on their way in. Chase turned his attention back to the vertical line. He moved
“Huh,” he said to himself, then took a step back to look at the entire wall. Chase used the flashlight to look at the two triangular etchings again, but something shocked him so much when he looked at the vertical line again he dropped the fingertips. The line looked wider again. This time he knew for sure because he realized it was an opening or door of some sort. A thin golden line of light glowed through the vertical crack. He picked up the flashlight and turned it off to be sure.
“How is it opening?” Chase wondered. He heard no sound at all. On instinct
“I don’t trust you for a second,” Chase thought. He decided the ante-chamber produced enough natural light that he did not need the flashlight. He put it on the floor in the doorway. His hope was that even if it closed, Leah and the others might find the flashlight. Chase accepted his fate, turned his back on the door and moved to the golden room. He did not pause to check if the door behind him was still opened when he reached the door to the next room. Instead, he took a deep breath and imagined a room full of glittering gold and jewels. He rushed in but the interior of the room stopped him in his tracks.
In the center of the room stood an obsidian pedestal, and on it sat a treasure more beautiful than Chase thought he could ever imagine. It had no strings, but somehow he knew it was a golden harp. Large rubies formed the number 53 on one side of the instrument, the harp itself was no taller than maybe two feet. His frame of reference was the skeleton sitting at the harp with its hands hovering on each side of the harp as if ready to play. After he noticed the skeleton he looked around the rest of the room. He quickly counted at least 20 different skeletons all in the same general area. The seat in front of the harp.
“CHASE? YOU IN HERE?” He heard Leah’s voice behind him, and for some
“Where the hell are the strings?” he asked himself. Despite having nothing to pluck Chase readied his hands on each side of the harp sand he began to play the air where the strings would be.
“Chase?” Leah sounded closer. Chase looked up to the entrance hoping she wasn’t there yet; when he looked back at the harp he found himself plucking delicate, dark red glowing strings. A hint of a smile formed on his face and Chase let himself relax. He heard no music. The strings were silent, but he continued to play and smile to himself, enjoying the act. Red strings
“CHASE!” Leah yelled. “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING???” He looked up from the harp and saw her standing at the entrance with her hands on her hips and a very disappointed look on her face.
“I don’t know,” Chase said. He looked back at the harp and smiled. “But I can’t stop.”