Climbing over rocks and tree roots,
"That's what you said ten minutes ago! How many more,'not much furthers' am I going to have to hear before we actually reach wherever it is that you are taking me?"
Billy laughed, " seriously, it's right over here."
Denny looked up from the ground to see Billy pointing down towards something at the bottom of the hill. He picked up his footing and quickly reached the top of the hill where Billy was standing.
"I told you it wasn't much further," Denny chuckled as he punched Billy's arm jokingly, before heading down the hill.
"Race you down!" Denny yelled behind him as he already started running.
"That's not fair, you got a head start!" Billy yelled back as he headed after him down the hill. Trying not to let his footing get the best of him, skipping over tree roots and dodging big rocks that could send him flying. He finally reached the entrance where Denny was waiting for him, breathing hard and smiling as Billy knelt beside him.
"I think I'm getting faster." Denny said as he clasped his hands together and placed them on top of his head. Billy smiles,
"yeah, you would say that, cheater!" Both boys now had their hands on their knees as they patiently waited to catch their breath. Denny was the first to say something,
"So, how deep does it go?"
Billy shook his head, " not sure, I haven't gone in myself." Denny whips his head around to look at Billy,
"What the hell did you bring me out here for if you have not even gone in yourself?"
Billy's face turned beet red as he stared at the ground, not saying a word. Seeing how embarrassed Billy was, Denny didn't say anything more. Instead, he started looking into the cave.
"Did you bring any flashlights or anything?"
Billy knelt down as he took the back pack off he had with. He grabbed a couple of flashlights out,
Billy handed Denny a flashlight, " I also have a few extra batteries just in case they don't work. I didn't exactly check before leaving the house, I didn't want Ma to see."
Denny flicked the switch on the flashlight, the light flickered as it turned on. Denny smacked the flashlight against his hand, trying to correct the lighting. Finally, the light beamed into the cave, casting a bright glow off the cave walls.
"How far do you think it goes?" Billy asked as he squinted his eyes, desperately trying to see anything besides the light on the wall in the cave. Denny shook his head
"Not sure, but it would be cool to find something!"
Billy stopped dead in his tracks. Shortly after Denny stopped walking, no longer hearing his brother's footsteps next to him. He turned and shined his flashlight on Billy's face. He looked distraught as the light shone on his face. There was a quiver to his lip as Billy spoke,
"What do you mean..find something?" Denny could hear the frightened tone in Billy's voice as he spoke. Denny smiled,
"Don't worry scaredy-cat, I don't mean nothing bad by it. I'm talkin' like loot, like buried treasure!"
The color in Billy's face returned as he thought of a chest with gold coins, rubies, and emeralds as big as his head, waiting for them at the end of the cave.
A few moments go by and Denny was the one to stop dead in his tracks. "Billy," he whispered to his brother. "Do you hear that?" Billy stopped, listening intently. A moment or two goes by before he finally hears it.
"Is that water?"
The boy continued to walk, the cave walls curving to the left. As they walked, the sound of the water got louder. As the cave walls straightened, there was a bright light at the end of the cave. The boys looked at each other, clicking their flashlights off and putting them in the backpack. Denny finished zipping the backpack up,
"Ready to redeem yourself little brother?"
Billy looked at Denny as his brother smiled deviously at him. Denny had gotten into lunge stance, his fingertips gently against the loose dirt on the ground. Billy smiled, doing the same. Billy spoke like a sports caster,
"Ladies and gentleman we have a rematch against Two Brothers! Which one will come out the winner on the other side!? Will it be Denny? The older, know it all? Or Billy, the handsome, smartest.." Denny socked Billy in his right arm,
"Will you shut up before I clobber you."
Billy laughed as he rubbed his arm where his brother hit him. Denny then started counting out loud,
"3..2..1..GO!" Both boys push off their front leg and start running as fast as they could. Billy's backpack was bouncing all over, swinging up and down as each leg pushed off the ground. Breathing hard, the wind in their face, both boys reached the end of the cave, Billy finishing first this time.
"Got you...this...time." Billy said, gasping for air with each breath. Denny chuckled, but didn't say anything back to his brother. Instead, he looked over to the beautiful waterfall pouring into a pool of water below. There was an opening above the top of the waterfall where some small birds were flying in and out and around vines that dangled from the top. A green blanket of moss covered the rocks and the ground below. Both boys jolted down towards the water, stripped their clothes off and jumped in with just their boxers on.
They did cannon balls, splashed water at each other, spit water into the air and floated on their backs. As the boys waded around in the water, Denny looked around the cave; the walls were damp with moisture, birds were flapping their wings, flying in to the cave and back out through the hole above. As Denny spun around in the water, his eyes caught something. There was something off about a spot in the wall of the cave. There was a stone door. Now it wasn't an actual door, but multiple stones stacked up on top of each other shaping to a stone door. Moss and vines grew around the stones and through it.
"What's that?" Denny asked as he nodded in the directions of the stone door. Billy turned to look in the direction his older brother was looking. Denny swam to the edge, grabbing a handful of moss, pulling himself out of the water. He then walked over and stared at the wall of the cave with the "stone door." As he looked at every stone and vine, he noticed something. There was writing bordering the stone door.
"What kind of writing is that?" Denny asked, as he touched the stones, gliding his hand through the dangling vines and over the moss covered stones. Billy shrugged his shoulders,
"who knows, but i'll grab Ma's camera tomorrow, take some pictures and maybe see if Pa might know." Billy then turned around and jumped back into the pool of water. Denny stood still, staring in a daze at the stones, his fingers clenched around a handful of moss. Whispers were running through his head, calling to him. He closed his eyes to concentrate on the voices, to make out what they were saying. Suddenly, Denny was startled by his brother.
Denny turned around to see Billy jump off a rock from the top of the waterfall, through the hole in the cave, screaming "YAHOOO!" before plunging into the water below.
Denny walked back over where Billy was surfacing, but not before taking another look back at the stones, then jumping into the water with his brother.
"We should probably head back to the house, it's getting dark and mother will worry if we are out past dark," Billy stated as he gathered up his clothes, put them on and swung the back pack over his right shoulder and then left. Denny climbed out of the water, got dressed, walked over to Billy, grabbing a flashlight from his hand. They headed back into the darkness and out of the cave.
Denny kicked a rock towards Billy, Billy kicked the rock further ahead, each boy taking turns as they kicked the rock talking.
"I thought I could hear something when we were in the cave, near the stones." Denny said, looking over at Billy as he watched him kick a rock again.
"I don't know how, I could barley hear you half of the time with the waterfall."
Denny didn't say anything more about the cave or the whispers. Walking up the steps to the front porch, their dad was sitting in his rocking chair, smoking on his tobacco pipe.
"Better git' inside and wash up or yer' Mama will pitch a fit." He puffed on his pipe some more as the boys quickened their pace in to the house, down the hall and into the bathroom.
Their mother set the table as they finished washing up, then heading into the kitchen to help set the table for dinner.
Sitting down, their plates dished up with soft, fluffy mashed potatoes, smothered with chicken gravy. Deep fried chicken and sweet corn on the cob, mom always spent most of her day baking the best thing of all, her dinner rolls. They filled the house with a sweet savory smell with dinner. Billy was the first to grab a roll and break it open. The crisp of the crust crackling as he broke open the roll. Steam pouring out as he exposed the fluffy inside and lathered it with butter. The room filling with fresh bread aroma as they all sat and ate.
"So what did you boys do today? their mother asked with a curious look in her eye. Both boys looked at each other, and in one look, a silent agreement was spoken that they would not say anything to their parents about the cave. Billy was the one to answer their mother,
"we went over to the creek and was searching for bullfrogs." Their mother gave both the boys a very angry look,
"You boys best not be blowin' up them frogs again, so help me!" She took a sip of wine waiting for one of them to reply.
"We were catching them for school, if we get enough for our class we can dissect them." Denny said, with a mouth full of mashed potatoes, gravy dripping down his chin. Their mother shook her head, not convinced of their story.
"Well I didn't like that you boys were out so late, so next time I want you boys home before nightfall." Both boys groaned, their mother looked at their father, giving him that look he knows so well.
"Do as your mother says boys." hearing the stern tone in his voice, the boys knew that what their father says, goes. As they all ate, they continued talking about their day while gradually finishing dinner. The boys helped their mother clear the table as their father went back on the porch, loading his tobacco pipe. After they finished clearing the table they went to their shared room and got ready for bed. As they were changing into their pajamas they talked about the cave.
"what time do you want to get up and head back to the cave?" Billy asked as he finished buttoning up his cowboy pajamas.
"As soon as we get up," Denny said as he jumped into bed, throwing the covers over himself. He watched Billy climb up the ladder and lay down in the bunk above him.
"Don't worry, I'll wake you if I get up before you do, but you have to do the same for me too, alright?"
"Deal, good night Denny."
11:34p.m on the clock, Denny sat straight up in bed. The whispering, he could hear it. Denny got out of bed as quietly as he could, trying not to wake his brother. The window to his room was already open to let the cool night breeze in. Denny didn't bother putting any shoes on, him and his brother were constantly outside with no shoes.
He placed one foot on the ledge and his hands on the frame of the window, looking back at his brother who was fast asleep, before hopping down onto the grass below. He started running, no longer hearing the whispers, they were to faint to hear while running and breathing heavily, but he knew what he needed to do to hear them again. He ran faster, jumping over roots and rocks. Up and up the hill where him and his brother were earlier in the day and there it was, the entrance. He walked down the hill, now standing at the entrance. He could hear the whispering again, louder than before. He still couldn't make out what they were saying. Slowly, he entered the cave. Denny had no flashlight with him, but the whispers, they were guiding him. Speaking to him in the dark, navigating his way till he was in front of the stone door.
The moon-light shone through the hole in the top of the cave. There were no birds, just the sound of the night as the waterfall splashed into the pool of water below. He stood in front of the stones, piled on top of one another, blocking something behind it.
The writing on the wall glowed from the reflection of the moon-light cast from the water. Denny reached his hand out to feel for any loose stones. He slid his hand across the wall, then something sharp, broke the skin in the palm of his hand and slashed his hand, smearing blood across the stone. Denny pulled his hand back towards him and went over to the pool of water to wash his hand. As Denny took his shirt off and wrapped his hand, there was a noise. A small rock falling and echoing through the cave. Another and another, Denny looked over to the wall to see stones, one by one crumbling in front of him. Stone by stone, the wall diminished, revealing a door shaped hole in the wall of the cave. Denny's heart raced as he stared into the darkness that now sat before him. Denny felt the urge to go investigate, but something in the back of his mind was telling him otherwise. He wanted to go home to wake Billy, but as he turned around to do so, a voice stopped him.
"Follow us Denny."