Sunday morning came quickly enough and Michael and Simon had brought Rachael and Isabel along. We told Mum we were going to the beach and just hanging out together. Mum seemed really pleased that I had made friends easily enough and was happy to see me go with my friends for a fun day.
We had already taken the map out from the pirate ship picture and I had it safely in my pocket.
It didn’t take long and we were walking along the sand towards the big hill where Mum and I had walked and found the cave.
Once we reached the cave, the others were amazed that they had never known about this and they had all lived here their entire lives.
We entered the cave and found the river that ran through it just a short distance inside the cave.
As we got to the river it was obvious that we were not going to be able to cross it without the help of a raft or boat. We all looked at each other in disbelief that there was such a large river inside a cave that no-one even knew existed. Michael was first to say “We need to make a raft to get across to the other side” and everyone nodded in agreement looking at one another.
We looked around and were able to find some small planks of wood. Michael had brought rope, tape and a sheet just in case we needed them. Although I wasn’t sure what the sheet would be used for.
As we started to gather the wood together it was obvious it was not going to be enough to make a raft for us all to fit on. There was barely enough for one person to fit on. We decided we would head back across the beach and find some more wood.
While we were walking across the beach and into the bushy area, we came across a lot of sticks, but no planks of wood.
It was useless, we wouldn’t be able to make a raft with wood or anything else from around here. We decided to go back to the cave and have a look around anyway and see if there was any other way we could get across the river.
Once we were back in the cave we walked further into the cave and closer to the river. It was then I noticed an old boat in the river and it looked like it was tied to the side. “Hey! Over there” I said and pointed to the little boat. I couldn’t believe none of us had noticed it earlier, but it was a fair way down and not easy to see. The cave was not very well lit and the further inside we went the darker it became.
Michael and Simon said we would have to walk along the stone wall to get to the boat. Both the girls didn’t seem that keen to walk along the stone wall, but didn’t want to miss out on what might lay ahead.
One by one with me in the lead, we all walked slowly hanging onto the side of the wall and carefully placing one foot in front of the other to balance along the wall.
It was a little slippery in some spots almost like slime, but as we were going slowly it made it easier to check to see where to place one foot at a time and not fall.
It wasn’t too long and I made it onto a ledge that was big enough for all of us to stand on. It was about half way to the boat and as we got closer to the boat, I realised we would all fit in this boat to go down the river.
Once we were all standing on the ledge, I started climbing on the wall ledge one step at a time with the others following behind me. I made it to the where the boat was floating in the water and stopped to reach over to get into the boat. Michael and Simon were right behind me and climbed in. Rachael and Isabel were a little hesitant to start, but soon realised it was the only option. I’m sure they didn’t want to try and climb back.
We untied the rope that was keeping the boat sitting on the edge of the river and found an ore to row the boat along the river.
The further we rowed the boat, the darker it became in the cave and we realised we were going to need some light. Michael had brought a torch as well. He was the most prepared organised person I think I had ever met. I still didn’t know why he had packed a bed sheet, but maybe that was going to prove handy at some stage too.
Michael turned the torch on so we could see as we rowed along the river. The cave grew darker and before too long all we had was the torch light and we could no longer see the beach or the daylight from where we had come.
Then all of a sudden we had to stop. There was a wall blocking us from going any further. We weren’t really sure if it was the end, but it looked like the river kept going beyond the wall. Now what were we going to do.
We all sat there looking at each other. The river wasn’t as wide this far down, but there was nowhere to get off the boat. It was just wall all around us except from the direction we had just come.
We decided we would have to turn back and try and figure out if there was a way to get through the wall. Looking around Michael said “I wonder if there is a secret button or something that will make the wall open up”.
“It isn’t such a bad idea” I said. So Michael started shining the torch along the wall looking for anything that would resemble a button to magically open up the wall.
We had almost completed a full circle of looking at the wall when Simon noticed a different colour on one small section of the wall. “Just there” he said and pointed towards the small area that looked a different colour to the rest of the wall. The cave wall was a dark blue or grey colour and this small part was a lot lighter. It was high up and I was sure we would have trouble trying to reach it.
Simon reached up but was not able to reach that part of the wall. Michael said “How about I jump up on your back and then I can reach high enough to touch the wall”. So Michael got up on Simon and got on to his shoulders with me holding onto him so he wouldn’t fall off. Michael was just high enough to reach the wall and started pressing on the wall. Suddenly the wall made a cracking noise and started to rise up. Simon quickly climbed back down off Michael without tipping the boat too much and we all sat there watching the wall open up. “Wow” said Simon. “See I told you the wall would open and there would be more”. We all laughed and waited for the wall to completely open.
I started rowing the boat forward slowly and we were all looking around in amazement. This part of the cave was lit up by lights on the wall. It looked like they were candles, but I wondered how they would stay alight all this time. They had covers over them and looked like something out of a movie.
As we continued slowly I noticed the river had got a lot thinner but the water seemed to keep going.
Rachael said “I think this place is creepy” while we continued to row and move slowly.
“I just want to get off this boat. Are we at the end yet” asked Isabel? Simon and Michael were silent just looking around taking it all in the same as me.
We came to a stop at the end of the river and hopped out of the boat and I pulled the rope so the boat sat just at the edge of the pond.
There were lights all around the walls and there didn’t seem to be anything else here. Michael said “Maybe there is another wall that we need to find to get through, just like the last one”. Although no-one was sure there would be, but we started looking around and feeling the wall.
I was feeling my way along the wall and the next thing we heard a loud crunch type sound and we all froze and looked at one another. The wall I had pressed on was lifting up. Another secret door it seemed. This one seemed to take ages to go up and we all huddled along and walked through the entrance. Once we got through the wall it shut behind us. “Oh no” said Rachael. “Now we’re trapped”.
I didn’t think we were trapped, I just figured we would find the part of the wall that would open it up again or we would find another way out. “We will find a way out, even if it’s not the same way we came” I said as I looked at Rachael reassuring her that everything was going to be alright.
Simon said “Maybe we should look at the map now and see if it can help us. This is why we came after all”. Everyone agreed. This is the reason why we had come to the cave and we hadn’t even taken out the map.
I took the map out of my pocket and opened it up. It showed the river and a skull where the top of the river was on the page. I looked around to see if there was something around that resembled a skull. It was just a big room deep in the cave, although Michael was shining the torch and I could just make out some stairs over in the far corner. I pointed over to the stairs and said “Maybe that’s the way we need to go”. Michael went first as he had the torch and there was only very dull lighting once the wall had shut behind us. These lights were the same as the others, but much duller and didn’t look like they would stay on.
The steps were made of stone, a blue stone. The same colour as the cave walls and were uneven to walk on. They seemed to go on forever until finally we reached the top of the steps and found a door. Michael turned the handle on the door and it opened. No surprises that it wasn’t locked.
We all walked through the door and came across a skeleton of a person. Isabel screamed and then Rachael too once she saw the skeleton. We couldn’t make out much as this skeleton was crushed by a large boulder on top of him.
Simon said “This could be a famous explorer that met his fate right here. I wonder if there are any clues as to who it is”. We all looked around and I found a small pocket book on the ground next to the skeleton. The name written on the first page was John Kirwick. Oh my gosh I thought.
“This is a famous explorer that I have read about when I was in Cookeville” I said. None of the others knew this explorer, but I quickly explained how he had gone on a lot of adventures and explored areas not well known and had brought back artefacts that were now displayed in museums all across the world. Then I noticed a necklace around his neck that had a skull on it. It was the same skull that was on the map.
“Now this is really scary” said Isabel. “If he is here and now we are here, does that mean we are stuck here trapped and we will die just like he did” she asked?
“Of course not” Michael said. “We have come this far and the boulder has obviously been here for a long time if he is a skeleton”.
Simon was looking through the notebook and found a hand drawn picture that was very similar to the map we had. It was ironic that this famous explorer had the same picture that was in my pirate picture and that he was wearing a skull necklace that looked the same on the map.
I leaned carefully over the skeleton and could see that I could probably just squeeze through the gap the boulder had left between the wall. I looked at the others and started to squeeze through with the others following closely behind me.
We all stepped carefully over John Kirwick and squeezed through the gap between the boulder and the cave wall.
Once we had got through there was a large open room that was well lit and almost a red colour.
As I looked around the room, I saw the skull high up on the wall of the cave on the other side of the cave. “This is it” I cried out. “Look, over there, it’s the skull”. Everyone else rushed over to where I was standing and couldn’t believe what we were all looking at.
We started walking towards the skull when Simon cried “Wait, this place could be booby trapped just like the boulder that crushed John Kirwick”. Simon was right. We had already found two secret doors and then one dead explorer crushed by a boulder. Surely this was not going to be as easy as walking over to the skull. The next problem we would encounter would be trying to get up to the skull. It was pretty high up and I couldn’t see any steps that would take us up to the skull.
Isabel noticed some ropes hanging down from the roof. There were six. Isabel said “I think this might be a trap. How do we know which one to pull or do we just leave them and walk past” she asked?
“No” I said, “we have to work out which one to pull or maybe we can just pull one at a time and stand back to see if anything happens”.
Michael stepped forward and offered to pull one rope at a time. We all huddled together and waited for Michael to pull the first rope.
He pulled down on the rope gently and we all waited in silence to see if anything would happen.
Nothing had changed. Michael pulled on the second rope and all of a sudden there was a loud rumbling noise. We all stood back as close to the last boulder that had claimed John Kirwick and saw another large boulder come rolling towards us. The noise was so loud. The boulder came to a sudden stop right in front of us, but there was a small gap that had spared us.
“That was close” said Rachael. We waited for a little bit and it all went quite again.
We needed to squeeze through the boulder to get to the other side to finish pulling the other ropes.
Michael went through first and we all followed closely behind him. Once we got through to the other side of the boulder I looked up at the skull and noticed there were now some steps hanging from a rope not far from the skull.
“Look over there” I said, “that must have come down from the first rope Michael pulled, but none of us noticed it”. Simon and Michael walked ahead of me both convinced this was it. We didn’t need to pull on the other ropes.
“Wait” I said. “Don’t go past the ropes. There could me more traps or boulders if we don’t pull those ropes. Maybe that is part of all this. I mean the first rope must have activated the stairs hanging by the rope over there”.
“Ok” said Michael “Stand back and I will pull one by one on the other remaining ropes and we will see”.
We all stood as close as we could to the second boulder, which was right beside the ropes anyway. Michael pulled on the third rope and we all stood there frozen waiting to hear any sound or see something. Nothing. There was nothing but just silence. Michael pulled on the fourth rope and all of a sudden there was a loud rumbling noise. We all looked around to try and see what the noise was. It seemed as if the roof of the cave was crumbling. Pieces started coming down only small pieces, but a lot of them.
We all huddled together hoping the roof wasn’t going to collapse as we could only go back and squeeze through the second boulder or stay put.
The noise subsided and we all looked around to see if it was clear to get up again. Michael went first and walked towards the remaining two ropes.
Rachael said “Wait; don’t pull the other ropes yet. We need to see what’s happened”.
Slowly looking around we found there was a lot of dust and a lot of small stones and rubble on the ground. This was going to make it a little harder to walk on and get to the skull.
“Over there” said Isabel. She had been so quite, I had almost forgotten she was with us. She was much quieter than Rachael. Earlier I had thought she was the one that spoke a lot more, but since we had entered the cave she had been really quiet. Isabel was pointing at two boulders that were right in our way towards the skull. They must have come down when all the noise of the roof crumbling started. We hadn’t noticed as we were too busy huddling together trying to avoid the bits of stone and rock coming from the roof of the cave.
“Maybe we should turn back” Isabel said. “This is getting really scary”.
“No” I said “we have come this far and we are ok. We are taking it slowly and we will make it through. Everything will be alright” as I looked at Isabel and then at the others.
Michael stepped forward, but before pulling on another rope said “How are we going to get past those two boulders” he asked? He looked trying to see past the boulders and said “Let’s complete pulling on the ropes and then we will manage a way to get through. We have come this far and managed. I’m sure we can manage the rest of the way”.
Simon and I nodded in agreement and the girls just stood there. I don’t think they were sure about anything right now. The noise from the boulders and the crumbling roof had been pretty loud and scary.
Michael was about to pull on the fifth rope when Simon yelled out “No, don’t do it. Let’s just try and get through those two boulders or we may end up trapped”.
The girls nodded and both said “Yes” at the same time.
“Ok” I said and looked at Michael. He nodded in agreement. We had come this far and we didn’t want to end up like John Kirwick.
Michael led the way and we approached the two boulders very slowly while continually looking around for anything else that may have happened.
There was a little space at the bottom of the two boulders and lying on the floor and squeezing through like a worm appeared to be the only way we were going to make it the other side.
Michael went first and crawled along and yelled out that he had made it through. I ushered the girls to go next followed by Simon and I last.
One by one we crawled through the narrow space between the two boulders until we had all reached the other side.
Once on the other side we could see the skull again, but there was a pile of rocks that we would somehow have to walk over to get to the steps that were hanging by a rope.
I suggested that maybe we could throw some of the smaller rocks at the skull and that would make it easier to get across as there would be less to try and walk on.
I picked up some smaller rocks and started throwing them as hard as I could. Aiming at the right eye and then left eye of the skull and then one at the right eye again. Then I picked up some more and threw them at the mouth.
One rock hit the mouth and to my amazement, the mouth started to close.
This place was amazing but scary at the same time. Simon picked up some rocks and started throwing them at the eyes. One rock hit the right eye and a light turned on inside the eye. All of a sudden the light in the right eye was orange. A very bright orange light. We weren’t sure what this meant, but Simon and I both picked up some more rocks and threw them at the left eye.
Eventually one of the rocks hit the left eye and it lit up bright orange just like the right eye had.
Michael had started walking over toward the rope stairs and motioned for us to follow. We stopped throwing rocks feeling we had made a difference after all making the eyes lights turn on. I was sure if it meant anything.
As we walked over the rocks and rubble that now littered the ground of the cave we edged closer to the rope stairs. Michael jumped up to grab onto the first step and started climbing. Once he got to the top he beckoned for Simon to follow. I told the girls to go before me and although hesitant, Isabel and then Rachael started to climb the rope stairs.
Once we were all at the top we started walking towards the entrance of the skull. Well it was probably walking through the head and walking towards the eyes of the skull. We hadn’t walked very far when we came across two separate tunnels inside the skull. As we looked around wondering which way we were going to go, the ledge we were all standing on started to crack. Before we had a chance to do anything the floor completely collapsed and we all fell. The weight of the five of us must have been too much to hold us.
I felt like I was falling for the longest time and I could hear the others screaming out as they fell. Their screams appeared to get further away until I could no longer hear anyone.
Splashing deep into water and going deep into the water I found myself swimming to the top of the water to catch my breath. Once I came up to the surface I looked around, but I was alone. There was no sign of the others and I couldn’t see much as the light was a lot dimmer down here. I wondered how far I had fallen and was thankful for landing in water. Now I just had to find a way out.
Looking around all I could see was walls and no-where to even climb out of the water. I went back under the water and opened my eyes to see if there was anyone else in the water with me. There was still no sign of the others and the water was crystal clear.I came up again for another breath of air and went back under the water. I turned around and could see a lighter part that looked like a tunnel. Before thinking about it I started swimming towards the tunnel and came up again for air.