The Alien Artifact


Prologue  From Beyond the Center of Space

Part I:  From Beyond Space and Time

ChapterThe Exploration Association
ChapterThe Expedition for the Last Dinosaur
ChapterThe Secret Chamber
ChapterThe Legend of the Beast
ChapterThe Cave Monster
ChapterThe Mysterious Treasure
ChapterThe Quest
ChapterThe World-Famous Scientist
ChapterThe Monsters from the Abyss
Chapter 10  The Strange Black Object
Chapter 11  The Superbeing
Chapter 12  The Hideous Creatures
Chapter 13  The Silver Sphere
Chapter 14  The Center of Space
Chapter 15  The Magical Dreams
Chapter 16  The Skyscape

Part II:  Beyond Space and Time

Chapter 17  The Voyage into the Abyss
Chapter 18  The Distant Galaxy
Chapter 19  The Far Reaches of the Universe
Chapter 20  The Center of the Universe
Chapter 21  The Voyage Beyond Reality
Chapter 22  The Distant Universe
Chapter 23  The Matter Transference
Chapter 24  The Astral Wonderland
Chapter 25  The Infinite Voyage
Chapter 26  The Outer Limits
Chapter 27  The Transcendent
Chapter 28  The Voyage Ends


From Beyond the Center of Space

In the vast depths of the universe a spectacular brightness appeared, with radiating beams.
A sphere of light floated out like a ghost, going through the darkness, and, again, Sandler realized that it was the telepathic recordings transmitting from the alien artifact, silver sphere – which were covering his entire sight with its vivid visions!
A silent roar vibrated through his mind, and a blur of light swirled in the blackness. The strange sounds and lights sent sensations through his body.
He watched the voyager vanish into faint starlight, at the fringes of deep stretches of intergalactic space.
The starless expanse of space where the voyager had materialized from was beyond a rim of their remote stars. It was hidden within the central galaxies, at the location where the voyager had come from before it went through the galaxies.
Amidst its awesome black abyss he visualized its appearance in more detail – millions of years ago – as a speck appearing, with spectacular beams spraying out into the stars. Its outline emerging out of obscurity! And its shape hurtling on and on, to the star formations – on an expedition to the far reaches of the universe.
At the outer reaches of the Milky Way, the galaxy was a vast line of light stretched across space, with its remote stars going around it.
It was its entry of the galaxy, all those millions years ago! With its unique acceleration allowing it to travel the immense depths of intergalactic space to explore the unexplored galaxies.
The full vision of the voyager’s interior appeared about him so swiftly and vibrantly that Sandler felt his blood explode through him just seeing it!
Its entire horrific dull blue lighted interior so vividly surrounded him, as the visions of deep space vanished, that he could not spot any differences in it to reality.
A dull red radiance gleamed, illuminating the hideous devilish figure of the Superbeing, casting a crimson shadow of its peculiar features.
He glared at its unmoving silhouette in shock, studying it.
The deep blackness so vivid, and objects so real, and alive, he felt deep horror, and thought of his original thoughts of it – as he had first discovered the thing, in the voyager.
A hole magically appeared in a wall at his side, like the entrance of it must have appeared in it at the museum, and its glowing shape floated towards it.
A radiating purple triangular of light magically rotated out of the hole, through the air, while bright colored sparks of energy spun around it, and the Superbeing.
For an instant it altered into a form of energy.
He stood, staggered, wondering what it was!
What strange place had it come from? What wonders of the universe had it? Where had it been traveling to, on its voyage, into the depths of space and time?
The interior vanished into blackness, and the mind-bending visions re-formed to the interior, but with a blue star emitting a faint sparkle on the front screen.
Stars appeared, and began to transform – streaks of light turned into normal stars – and the immense exploding thrust halted simultaneously with it.
The turquoise ocean of a world appeared, rotating wildly below, and a land mass stretched out across the equator.
The being’s green glowing shape held an object to its mind.
Strange ghostly images of life forms flashed about it and him.
The view of the interior dispersed to show the voyager plunging down into the atmosphere of the world.
The dark shadow from it went over the world’s icy rock, while its cold swirling currents of mist blew about its hovering shape, and a wild beast’s blood-chilling screech came from a distant place, hidden out in the landscape.
The pale blue sun peered through clouds of vapor. The desolate world turned silent and motionless, and the voyager lunged forward over a life form, with its shadow shape going over it.
The crimson slime vibrated, clinging to jagged black rocks.
A gust of swirling mist was left, as it hurtled upwards towards the stars.
Its thrust blasted across the sky of the planet, and it continued on going through space, exploring the unexplored galaxy stars, searching for creature specimens, voyaging past the central stars, and traveling through the different star quadrants, exploring the vast billions of stars throughout the expanse of space.
Yet, on exiting the galaxy, patterns of light on the screen altered to show a star swiftly increasing in size, and the voyager maneuvering around its ball of flames. And, while avoiding colliding with it, the planet Earth appeared – directly in its new course – and it crashed into its surface.
A vague gleam appeared, amidst dancing and darting spectral rays. A vortex of shifting outlines magically formed, and Sandler studied the silver sphere’s deactivation transmissions. Swirling patterns from it reshaped reality into a surreal splendor of transforming detail, while the mind-bending display of displacements altered from the visions of space to his room.


The Exploration Association

The science conventions of the Exploration Association were almost always held at distinguished locations, where famous and unknown scientists inaugurated scientific affairs, brought forward scheduled activities, and bestowed a source of an abundance of unknown findings.
It was at one of these conferences, vividly recollected by all, that what probably may become the greatest scientific find in history was revealed by Professor Robert Farrell, when he bestowed a breathtaking lecture.
The presentation began by him showing the eager scientists the magnificent beauty of an old prehistoric skull, resting on a table, at his side, on stage.
At the edge of the platform, a technician activated a deep yellow spotlight, and the artifact lit, as if it were in blazing flames. And he inspected it, with subdued glares, in varied degrees of confusion.
“This is a significant species ...!” he stated, with his fingers at his mouth, considering the creature.
“Details were gathered at its excavation, giving us an insight into the particular habits of the animal. A variety of clues, such as the sort of sedimentary rock it was in and animal and plants found with it, were checked. They determined a hot climate and that an aquatic environment was nearby.
“Likewise much can be learned from the features of these specimens ...”
His eyes dropped, and went onto the governing committee, at the front seats, and on the antics of them prompting him on.
“For the majority of you who never attended the last short meeting that we held, it only mentioned little except vague theories of what our trip to Cornwall would reveal ...
“One year ago,” he stated, “almost to this very day, I had little belief in ever seeing anything – worthwhile. Things of that nature seem to belong to someone else. To others perhaps they are a thing of the past – where wonders of the world were abundant and mind-boggling.
“I received a letter from Professor T. G. Hansen, in Norway, who, if you don’t know him, is extremely captivating and keen. And he, incidentally, has an incredible appetite for paleontology – and keeps a fabulous collection of prehistoric bones, insects ...”
“While, on holiday, he and his wife came across something unusual, in an ancient attic. An aged manuscript, truly unique, was uncovered, with the early explorations of, the Norwegian, V. J. Vega. His descriptions, detailed in Old Norse, have accounts of his travels and discoveries.
“Well, one of this explorer’s interests – almost an obsession! – was searching for unusual creatures. Moreover, his views were strange, and influenced by his interest in the supernatural. Especially things described in Norwegian sagas, and medieval ramblings. One of his assurances basically was that all before him had not looked to a far enough degree.
“He had some success in his search for fossils – finding excellent skulls, such as this, and numerous prehistoric remains – which as you can imagine must have been astonishing to a person of that era. In various remote places perhaps absolutely unheard of!
“He details his findings somewhat astonishingly. He describes them, and details his travels, taking you out into the remote depths of Siberia, where he traveled by himself.
“He was very like an eccentric poet of that time. His emotions and wits occasionally turned strange ... Yet exaggerated due to our bad understanding of his language and reasoning!
“He had heard tales of mammoths living in Siberia. Surely owing to the abundance of mammoths found under the ice in that region.
“He wandered into unexplored and uncharted places, increasingly seeking to enlighten himself, to alter his perception of the real universe, and find a hidden one beyond.
“Later, he explored central Europe, where he heard tales of something immense, in this country.
“He was lucky, and luckier than he could ever have realized. Because he found something of profound significance, and completely unheard of. It proved to be beyond that of a common mammoth. The creature that he uncovered was awesome – and stupendous! Even if it did turn him into believing in the goings on in sagas, and alike. For a long time afterward he continued searching for the existence of what can only be described as supernatural beings ...
“He gave descriptions that went to extraordinary depths describing it, with its preserved condition – which he believed to be held by some form of mystical power.
“The detailed facts were so authentic to Professor Hansen and his companions that they attempted to find its whereabouts, as well as carry out nearly two years research on the vague directions, descriptions, co-ordinates it mentioned. Though they proved to be too indistinguishable, as they continued, with their uncertain classifications.
“We began work on trying to reveal its whereabouts, instigated by Professor Hansen and his depthless belief in it.
“Some members helped! Our research dramatically altered the text, its meanings, and enlightened them further and further. But, once again, the co-ordinates were left unreasonably vague, and far from being comprehensible.
“Our search was a fantasy treasure hunt, until one of the Norwegians claimed he had found the tomb of the great V. J. Vega, which we all went to see. Its location, being somewhat remote, took us through and over fabulous hills and mountains, on foot, to the center of a vast forest – where V. J. Vega, for his reasons, chose to be buried. Maybe he chose to remain in the harmony of solitude in his form of the afterlife.
“At last our detection work was conclusive! The co-ordinates, given in the manuscript, were not co-ordinates.
“They were a code to decipher the real co-ordinates. And the reason that this riddle, cryptogram, had not been deciphered was because the co-ordinates had been lost.
“He had wanted to give the location of his discovery to his son, if he died, as he had known that an illness that he had contracted in due course would kill him. But his son had been too young, and he did not have any relatives or anyone to help.
“But he had adhered to tradition and he had decided to leave the coded co-ordinates, with his other possessions, with someone, to give him – say on his fourteenth birthday ...
“The coded co-ordinates and a message to his son were in his tomb. He had them in a pendant, which his son should have received, and he had taken it with him to his grave.
“Once we lifted the solid stone lid from his tomb, we all at the same time spotted the pendant buried in it – partially hidden away, between the remaining ribs of his skeleton.
“Professor Hansen frantically probed through the disfigured bones to fetch it.
“The pendant had to be valuable: it was made of gold, with tiny jewels embedded in it.
“They played with it beneath my face, turning it around in the bright sunlight, streaking through the pine trees, as we sought an answer to why he had taken it to his grave. I then recognized a faint indentation over its edge.
“I knew that many such pendants opened to reveal inner enclosures, where there were such things as photographs. Perhaps it had a drawing in it, from those days. I remained silent and waited for them to discover this. In the meantime I examined the body of the great explorer, and I soon saw that there was nothing else there.
“Consequently, they opened a bag and removed things that they could use to open it.
“The best thing was a needle, inserted in some thread, which Professor Hansen carefully placed on it, on the faint crack that went along its edge, to avoid damaging the artifact.
“Though after some attempts at it – trying to break it open – it remained stuck. Our patience decreased, and I had horrible thoughts over it breaking ... And it being an incredibly valuable instrument of navigation, in which the explorer might have used, and which could be worth millions.
“Their fidgeting with the object aroused inner emotions, and it seemed that it could not be done. The line around it easily could have been part of the design or there from the way a craftsman had made it, which we started to assume increasingly, due to its insistence in not moving.
“As I started to accept it, the cover of the pendent shifted upwards, by a few millimeters, giving us the knowledge that it had a chamber.
“Even though it had lifted, the problem of opening it was still there – as something was jamming it. It neither lifted any further nor went back down. It had too much value to break in any way. Especially if it were a navigational instrument.
“We rummaged through our stuff, while we painstakingly considered individual parts of things – considering them as tools. But there did not seem to be anything! Except, as I was doing that, one of the Norwegians, bored with our unconventional lingering over such a meaningless inconvenience, yanked it opened with his fingers, and the lid squeaked and lifted. It consequently went up and revealed a tattered bit of material.
“My next impression was that it could be just a lucky pendant. And, as he shifted the piece of cloth around, I believed that something could be in it. A lump was in it, but it turned out to be a piece of parchment. The pendant otherwise was empty!
“This piece of parchment was found to be priceless though! In only one day we were able to find the co-ordinates. Though inaccurate ...!
“We arranged a proper expedition to enable us to go to find this animal, which taunted V. J. Vega so much. But the co-ordinates were still too vague, to our great disappointment, and the landscape differed far too much from what was described throughout the text.
“And we could not acquire any more help there due to the nature of the investigation. But, before we returned to the UK, we went to Norway, where our luck changed again.
“David Parker, a US scientist, helped us out. He happened to be visiting Norway, and wished to meet us.
“He had heard about our expedition, which he claimed had come from one of the Norwegians. And he had realized the situation before it had happened.
“Parker is a paleontologist and archaeologist. He is a distinguished fossil hunter and collector. His collection of Jurassic fossils is priceless.
“He expeditiously declared how he could help us. And he gave us an insight into a fantastic new technology.
“You will be familiar with the types of technology used by archaeologists, as well as by geologist, mineralogists, and oil surveyors. Modern techniques such as geophysical prospecting and seismic reflection methods ...
“The concept of seismic work is similar to echo sounding ...
“A multitude of electrical methods are applied in mineral exploration. They depend on electrochemical activity, permittivity, and resistivity effects.
“A degree of electrical conductivity exists in the soil, and some materials act as natural batteries, whose vague effects can be measured ...
“Magnetic methods of prospecting detect buried features by locating the magnetic disturbances that they cause.
“Gravity methods are used from airplanes and helicopters. But because the surveying is done with gravimeters, the airplanes and helicopters accelerations, movements, can affect the readings and limit the accuracy, and they are only used for regional studies.
“Gravimeters are fundamentally a weight attached to a spring that stretches or contracts corresponding to the increase or decrease in gravity. They have an accuracy capable of detecting a difference in the gravitational field as small as one part in a hundred million. But their accuracy does not produce accurate results, and they can only detect such things as salt domes, which trap oil. And they are used in oil exploration, as well as to detect high-density minerals in ore bodies.
“Of course, some forms of radar detection can be used. More accurately than before, I’ve heard! But that also does not produce accurate results.
“The gravity surveying equipment that Parker told us of can scan – without being influenced by any movements! – more accurately, deeper, and faster, from airplanes and helicopters, than anything so far invented. The gravity detection components were once highly confidential, and produced by leading establishments.
“It is accurate, and produces detailed mapping below the ground, at various depths, making it possible to observe objects with the dimensions of a dinosaur fossil.
“Its potential had been rapidly acknowledged and paid for by the American military, which had put a sizable investment into the invention.
“Though it was confidential, it did not last long. Though they intended to use this technology with the regular US military, to detect such things as underground bunkers and mines, which are extremely hard to detect.
“Parker had been currently on an exciting project over in Greenland, searching the depths of ice ...
“They were targeting locations at the oldest regions of ice recorded by scientists, at particular deep depths that the technology could handle, and drilling at particular sites.
“The continents have shifted considerably since the dinosaurs existed, and the right locations must be rare. If they exist there at all!
“They had notably considered going to the Antarctic, where the ice in regions has been proven to have been on the land there for millions of years. Perhaps amphibious or other prehistoric animals, which were there, are buried there. Extinct species, and even some remaining dinosaurs, might have been roaming there, and could have been killed in avalanches or snowstorms, just before it froze.
“We were allowed to use the results of their findings, and, if we needed it their equipment, planes, technicians and pilots.
“This technology is a scientific breakthrough, and it would have been a real shame if it had not been used for science.
“They have already been using it to scan and map miles of rural Britain, the coast, and expertly examine beneath fields, forests, hills, lakes in distinct detail. Even though it has not so far given anything of what they were searching for. But, from examining their maps of a coastal region of Cornwall, which was in the central region of our co-ordinates, I caught sight of something, which seemed little to them. And when we had it checked again, we soon realized that we had to have found it.
“We have a great deal to do, to get our prize, and in good order – and photography and study this astonishing creature.
“We have arranged more expeditions for members of the Exploration Association to see it …
“Has anyone any queries?”
A man sitting alone, at the edge the audience, hastily stood, before anyone else.
He lifted his hand for him to acknowledge him.
“Have you a more elaborate description of it?”
“What precisely do you wish to know?”
“What species is it?”
“I can’t tell you that – at this moment!”
“Did it have two or four legs? And was it a carnivore or herbivore?”
“I couldn’t distinguish neither, from what we have found ...”
“What were the theories ...?”
“By all means,” he spoke with an optimistic glare, “I’ll tell you the last theory put forward, which I’ll not elaborate. They believe that it’s either an early form of prehistoric animal or one of the last dinosaurs to roam this planet.”
“Tell us of the strange magnetic phenomenon you found …!”
His brisk halt, defined composure, rapidly drew them to him.
“By some phenomenon, which has not been properly explained, an instrument – an accurate scientific compass – wildly oscillates and spins when turned in the direction of the site.
“Some form of powerful magnetic influence, or something of that nature, acts upon it.
“What could create such power? It has to be tremendous!”
“Someone may be playing around with something there!”
“Yet why would they be experimenting on something out there though?”
“Perhaps they were creating some sort of weather machine – to combat global warming – by influencing the world’s magnetic field. Perhaps it was one of many random locations using some form of manipulation on the Earth’s core.
Some aged and stately scientists watched on bemused, resembling apparitions with their bright gray features and slow movements.
Every shadow about Professor Farrell held a mystery now.
Existence was strange, but sane, and out of the reaches of chaos.
“What are your assumptions?” Dr Davidson – a tall silent man – uttered, breaking the deep silence.
“I’ve not drawn any proper conclusions,” Professor Farrell confessed, looking over at Professor Thomas for guidance. His knowledge in physics and of things of that nature was great.
“Whatever it is – it has incredible power!” Professor Farrell swiftly continued. “We need more reasonable clues.”
“Even in our little cluster of planets, unknown and unexplained phenomena still exist,” Davidson reassured them. “Who knows what exists out there in the depths of space – and even unseen about us – which could very well be beyond our comprehension.”
Some strange thought ran through the mind of Professor Farrell, and he figured through possibilities. He also occasionally had the look of a person who somehow sensed an oncoming consequence, and was checking ways to tackle it.
Had he found something? Or had he dreamed of scientific finds far too many times?
His adrenalin was visibly rushing through his veins, and it frequently exploded into his brain, almost overwhelming him.
“At any rate, there are other mentions of such occurrences from all over the globe. Even if most are antiquated and mythological! For instance – how about the Bermuda Triangle? That was reputed to cause such an effect – just before ships and planes vanished!”
“Though mystifying, there could be some sort of mineral around – perhaps a mass of magnetic iron – or the reactions created by ...!” Davidson assured.
“I’ve not heard of such a mass of minerals – iron, nickel ...” he argued. “Neither a magnetic mountain of iron ore nor a hill of iron in a purer state – even as a tremendous meteorite. And the magnetic field of the globe has been recorded at places, and though not altogether investigated, it is very unlikely to have such an intensity, nature, and be confined to such a zone, even in northern regions ...”
“Okay! It’s coming from where we are going ... And it will be beneficial to check this great disturbance – which cannot be explained by normal science.”
“And, of course, the preservation of our creature specimen could be connected with it!”
Many of the scientists showed mild curiosity, genuinely surprised. Now not knowing what to think! While silently observing him, and that he believed that he had passed the boundaries of what could be explained.
Surely this excited professor meant something else! But what he meant was not fully clear, and by his behavior there seemed to be far more to come.
“Say that again!” Davidson stated, not believing his luck.
“Let me explain ...! My lecture to the Exploration Association is not entirely complete.
“When I had questioned the crew, which had been on board the plane, they had told me their scanning equipment had begun to blank out, as though it had been running out of power, or fluctuations of energy had been overpowering it.
“We attempted to find out if someone had something around there, or was using something capable of affecting it. Yet there was nothing for at least thirty miles in every direction.
“When we flew over the site, the equipment barely functioned. Strange images flashed on its screen, at the precise spot. It was there that they spotted an unusual formation, in the blur of flickers!”


The Secret Chamber

A gold radiance loomed over the dreamy sight, probing its way amidst the abyss below, scattering beams through clouds of silky dust; and the air stuck deep in Sandler’s lungs, causing him to convulse, but he continued to unleash the rope from himself, allowing him to inhale a proper amount of air.
Faint echoes of his own breathing could be heard in an extraordinary silence, as he gasped for air; while he fell endlessly downwards, dangling over obscurity, with hideous expectations of plunging into murky water.
Glimpses of the darkened figures of the scientists and archaeologists appeared above, against the changing shades of the blue sky, as they vigorously checked through debris on the above foundations, of the ancient castle ruins.
By their frantic reactions he sensed that they believed that something was actually buried beneath him. Although the descriptions that some of the archaeologists had given him still made it too unacceptable to him to believe fully what they had suggested the secret chamber was. In vivid detail they had specified that the location was a resting place of something. His mind conjured up vague visions of spooky medieval ghosts roaming an ancient dungeon.
A distant thud rumbled down, releasing debris from overhead.
Miranda, his wife, and Professor Farrell’s daughter, appeared over the edge of the hole, with her long golden hair blowing about, over her face.
In seconds, the rope wildly jerked and oscillated, and Miranda’s face vanished into the dark, as he spun uncontrollably around, and a surge of blackness engulfed him.
The hole became a spot of light, which gave little light.
A surge of water splashed into his face, and poured down in streams. In the turmoil, he felt himself fall sideways into the water. Yet, he felt the ground, and balanced himself upright again, while releasing the rope’s tightened grip from him.
With the pain away, he cleaned away the water from his face, and grabbed the lamp, fixed at his side; then fumbled through his pocket, and removed his matches.
He tenderly lit it, as he imagined the thick castle stones illuminating in the shape of a large well around him. Yet, its brightness beamed out lighting up a vast cavern-like structure.
A cloud of dust sprayed down, through the warm air, and he cleaned it from his wet eyes.
While he walked away, ripples rhythmically caressed the edges of an embankment, along the pool of water.
Vague sounds came from its vaulted stones in hollow surges.
The chamber’s vaulted roof rose to a height of a hundred feet, where a profusion of lamp projections went over it, and he caught glimpses of art moldings in its changing shades.
Voices made surreal echoes, from Professor Farrell’s heavy voice mingled with an archaeologist’s silent explanations.
With some amusement he watched Professor Farrell’s figure dangling back and forth, below the roof, as he held the rope.
Sandler moved across its outer fringes, illuminating the dampness across its square stones, while white insects scurried on them, feeling his loud movements.
At the front of him an oblong object came into his sight.
His fingertips caressed its rough stone, through thick webs and dirt, obscuring a proper view of it. And he pushed his hands over it, in the dim light there, while crumbling bits of gray rot fell over its side onto him.
His mind slowly grasping its hideous outline, and he stepped back, jerking his hand away, finally knowing what he was rummaging through. It was an open-mouth skeleton with a rusted knife on it. The place must have been where the devil or witchcraft had been worshipped!
He then mechanically tried to place his arm against an area of the wall behind it, expecting to find stone, but all he found were thick webs, covering a gap in the wall, where an area of stone had crumbled and collapsed across the ground.
With the lamp held out, towards the space, a rectangular gap became visible. Then the lamplight became fainter and gleamed brighter, illuminating a thin tunnel going downwards.
A shadow flickered along its damp stone, and his unblinking eyes watched the ground in the glimmer, searching for obstructions or loose steps; and he gently moved down the ancient steps.
Cobwebs crawled over his face, and he no longer heard the murmurs of the archaeologists. Its creepy blackness made his heart beat quickly. And, at any second, he expected to find something deadly.
How many centuries had the secret chamber been hidden away for? The distant obscurity was full of chilling silence, which made him feel isolated. Webs shrouded imaginary things about him, and he waved his hand in circles, scraping them away, while the vibrating radiance from the flame made a marble-like wall glow.
Out in front, of the lamplight’s range, he watched a dim gleam, from stone lit up, from a mysterious source.
At it, he saw a stream of light was inundating a cave going across the end of the tunnel, producing a magical effect upon his hazy sight.
At the end of it, he looked through a gap in an artificially built wall of stones, and watched the sea, as it splashed wildly against rocks on the shore. The heavily scented salty sea air lightly blew up at him, as he watched a bit of driftwood bob about on the waves, in the gold shades of the descending sun.
In the wet rocks he glimpsed chunks of wood from the above cliff, and he recognized that he was just along the coast from the beach, where he had observed reflections of large birds skimming over the surface of the sea.
The outside of the wall seemed to be camouflaged, and he doubted if anyone would have ever have found it in the rugged rock of the steep cliff.
Had the devil worshippers, or whoever they had been, been smugglers? The Cornish coast had been famous for having them, which might have been why they had built the castle at the site in the first place? The place was perfect for it, being hidden away by coves, allowing a small rowing boat to land just below it, with contraband.
He heard distinct coughs and breathing from behind him, and he knew that it had to be Professor Farrell coming down the tunnel, and he made his way back along to him.
In the pale illumination, the cave went straight into the cliff, and it was distinctively different from the other tunnel. Its sides had a smooth rock that was not man-made.
“Did you find anything?” A voice eagerly called down, from out of the darkness.
In the vibrating light, Professor Farrell’s face appeared above him. He was in complete darkness, which meant something had happened to his lamp.
“This is all I found!” he answered, examining rocks scattered over the ground. “Except that skeleton up there? They seemed to have made a human sacrifice to something! Did you see it?”
Sandler touched the walls of it with the palm of his hand.
Professor Farrell panted deeply, getting air into his lungs, while he held his side.
“Why is this surface so smooth? It’s as though it were bored by some form of drilling machine!”
Professor Farrell rubbed his hand over it, feeling its texture.
“I don’t know ...!” he finally answered, coughing loudly into his worn white handkerchief, which had normally been kept neatly tucked in his upper jacket pocket.
At the side of his eyes, Sandler saw sunshine appear, and its rays of light probe through the cave. And the sun disappeared into clouds.
The almost perfect formation, going straight into the cliff, kept him fascinated. And he saw something faintly glowing in its dark depths. Yet he was sure that it was light reflecting off shiny stone.
Professor Farrell’s loud breathing echoed in silent tones along it, as they went on, trying to avoid tripping over rocks.
The air took a musty smell, from the dampness accumulated.
Sandler’s sight fixed on a magical glow, where the wall shone like white lava. A small patch of wall glowed out bright rays of light, as though it contained energy.
“What could that be?” Professor Farrell muttered, leaning close to it.
“There’s no heat from it!” he replied, placing his hand to it.
“Could it be radioactive ...?”
Professor Farrell took out his old penknife from his inside pocket, and he took a crumbling sample of the rock, and carefully placed it into a matchbox.
The cave seemed to continue on into the depths of the cliff. As they journeyed on, the noises of waves splashing against rocks disappeared into the darkness behind them.
The pace of Professor Farrell was too slow, and he moved on, leaving Professor Farrell with the lamp – with only a faint gleam, vaguely lighting his surroundings.
Sandler continued on and on, surrounded in darkness, unable to see a thing, captivated in it.
The jagged ground brushed under his shoes, and he felt rocks pile up across his front; and he blindly touched shapes embedded within them. It was strange, as though it were ice, and it sent horrific shivers through him.
To his horror, now scarcely believing his senses, a creature’s face, with the dimensions of the cave, faintly became visible, in the dim lamp illuminations; and he briskly removed his hand from its jaws.