Gloria’s face lit up as she started to speak, “As you know, Edward and I headed for the largest opening to the right of the large room. We saw many little pathways going in different directions, but Edward said that we should stay on the main path, the first time out. I believe he was worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up if the going got rough. I was a bit upset at first, however after an hour of walking; I was inclined to agree with him. It was at that time I finally decided I need to take a break. Edward found a couple of large rocks for us to sit on, and by that time I was so tired, I was ready to sit on the stone floor if I had to. We had just sat down when Edward decided to shine his light on the walls around us to see how large the room was that we were in. That’s when I thought I saw a flash of light.”
Gloria stopped talking so that she could take a sip of coffee.
She continued, “Edward hadn’t noticed the flash and continued scanning the area, until I asked if he had seen a flash. He told me that he hadn’t, but asked where I had seen it at. I showed him where I thought I had seen it at, but when he shown his light there, we saw nothing. I figured it had been my eyes, as well as my imagination playing tricks on me. We forgot about it and had started talking about the timeless beauty of these underground rooms, when Edward pointed his flashlight toward what appeared to be an arch way, and that’s when we saw the flash again.”
Gloria looked to Edward Rothman, and he continued taking over where she had stopped, “I saw the flash, so I walked over to take a closer look at the sandstone arch. Shinning my light up I saw small veins of silver that ran through the arch and that seemed to widen as they headed off into a smaller chamber just ahead. Gloria and I decided to follow the veins to see if indeed they led to larger veins. As we walked up to the smaller chamber, we saw that the veins of silver were getting smaller the closer to the opening that we went. I told Gloria that what we were seeing was probably a small amount of silver, and wouldn’t amount too much, when Gloria shined her light into the room. The room sparkled like one monster of a flashlight.”
“Are you seriously saying you found a room full of silver?” Candace had a look of shock on her face as she asked, looking from one face to the other.
“Serious as my ex-wife wanting alimony,” Rothman said as he crossed his heart with his index finger.
Candace looked around at all of her friends, and then burst out laughing.
“I think you may have just found what it was Francois Dubois wanted. Somehow he must have found out about the silver.”
“I don’t see how he would expect to load it up in his van and be out of here quickly. Think about it Candace. He hurt Mom and Sheila, and then he went so far as to kidnapped you. What with the police looking for him now, he would need to get the silver out of the limestone and somehow get it out of the country, all before getting caught,” Tommy Collins said thoughtfully.
“Collins’s right Candace, it just doesn’t fit,” Sheila said.
“I agree, also if he did not have time to melt it and remove it from the limestone, it would be too heavy to be able to carry much with him,” Mead said as he got up from the table and headed for the kitchen.
“Darn, I was hoping we had found what he was looking for at least. I guess we will just have to keep looking,” Candace grumpily said.
“Humph,” Gloria said to Candace. “I would’ve thought you would have at least been excited over finding out how wealthy you are now.”
“Yeah, Candace my girl, and just think, if you ask me to marry you now that you are wealthy, not to mention a good cook, I guess I would just have to say yes,” Blaster said jokingly.
Dogging the napkins that everyone at the table was throwing at him, and laughing at the glare Stacks aimed his way, Blaster said, “Well I would have to break a lot of young ladies hearts, but I could be talked into it.”
“Sorry Blaster, I really hate to break your heart, however I must decline your offer. I am not so sure I want the world to know what is under my home. I love the peace and quiet I have here, and could not imagine giving up my home so that others can destroy what my ancestors so judicially kept hidden, all these years,” Candace said, smiling at the thought of how many years the local Indians, and then her family members had known the secrets of her land.
“Alright then, if not wealthy in the financial sense, you are certainly wealthy in ancestral family history,” Gloria said smiling at Candace.
Stacks deep in thought, jumped when Mead asked, “What’s on your mind Stacks?”
“Dubois could not have known about the cavern. If he knew about it he would not have had his men digging up the yard. I think it has to be something else he’s searching for.”
Running his fingers through his thick sandy blond hair and sighing, Stacks said, “I think we need to keep searching, for now at least.”
“Sheila, did you and Mead find anything interesting tonight?” Candace asked.
“If you mean like an ancient Indian village, or a silver mine, or even a room full of bones, the answer is no. However what we did find was fairly interesting,” Sheila said with a wicked grin.
“Yeah right,” Mead said as he gave Sheila a look that said he would get even with her later.
Sheila continued, saying, “I shouldn’t be telling the first part of this, after all it was Mead who made the discovery.”
“You’re on Mead, and from the looks you and Sheila are giving each other, I think it won’t do you any good to try to leave parts out of what you tell us,” Stacks told him in a voice full of sympathy.
“That’s the truth,” Mead answered quickly.
“When we left you guys, Sheila said she wanted to follow the opening that headed directly to the left. Our path went straight for a while, then it started curving right and left, but besides that, it was going down and soon the walls started closing in around us. We also saw a lot of other paths we could follow, but some were full of large rocks and the others looked to be low entrances, so we decided to go as far as we could on our current path. After a while the walls started to close in around us. We agreed that we needed to turn back and try another one. I had started hearing a strange sound, but when we entered a small chamber, it sounded louder. At first I couldn’t make out the sound, but when we followed the only other path leaving the little room, the sound starting getting louder. I told Sheila that I thought it was the sound of rushing water. I asked her if she wanted to see if we could find the source of the sound, or turn back and take another path we had seen earlier. Sheila said she wanted to continue on, so that is what we did.”
Sheila took over from there, “The sound of water rushing interested me, and I wanted to see it, but the longer we walked the louder it became until it sounded like a roar. I was just about to tell Mead I thought we needed to turn back and bring ear plugs next time, when we walked through a doorway, for lack of anything else to call it, and both Mead and I stopped dead in our tracks. There about twenty feet below us was a grand room filled with stalagmites and stalactites, which reached out to touch each other for what looked like miles. We were standing on a craggy ledge, with what looked to be no safe way down. We could see there was a river running through the entire room. The whole room looked surreal, in its overwhelming splendor. I found I was speechless from its beauty.”
“Yeah it was something to look at all right. I was a little worried about being on the ledge, not knowing if it was strong enough to hold our weight, when the jagged piece I was standing on, broke. I had been on the left side of the ledge, and I remember thinking why on earth did I ever step so close to the edge, when the floor fell out from under me. I thought I was going to die; I closed my eyes and screamed as I fell. You can imagine my embarrassment when I realized I had fallen only a foot and right onto a wide stone step that was the first of many steps down to the cavern floor. Sheila, of course, was standing there laughing,” Mead said indignantly.
“Screamed like a banshee, he did.” With a grin on her face and with Mead’s eyes trying to shoot arrows through her, Sheila continued the story. “Teasing aside, I was terrified when Mead fell. I screamed for him and fell to my stomach to look over the edge, and found my face staring directly into his. Surprised, I looked past him to see steps that went all the way down. The only reason we had not seen them before was that the thin ledge obscured our view. The path quickly curved so that the whole think was impossible to see if you did not know it was there. I asked Mead if he thought the path was man-made or natural. He said it looked as if the stone had been chiseled, so it was probably man-made.”
“I am not sure, but I think someone worked awful hard to turn a stone path into level steps.” Mead told them. Continuing, Mead said, “When we reached the bottom of the stairs and started looking around, we discovered that there was a part of the room we could not see from the ledge. There was a small, but loud, waterfall that emptied into a pool, and from there it flowed over the edge and down into a channel that continued on as a river running farther into the cavern.”
“Did either of you taste the water?” Candace asked them.
“The water is so crystal clear, that I could not resist tasting it,” Sheila told them.
“That’s the truth. It was great tasting and ice-cold. I think the waterfall we found, would be downstream from the part of the river that Collins and Blaster found,” Mead said thoughtfully.
“What makes you think that?” Gloria asked him.
“No one else said that they were walking down as deep as we went. That makes me think that it has to be farther downstream,” Mead answered.
“Collins, did you or Blaster notice any other way out of the part of the cavern you were in?” Stacks asked.
“Not me, I was too busy looking at the strange beehive shaped Indian homes. We can look for one tomorrow when we go back, if that will help,” Blaster offered.
“I’m guilty of not looking also. Wait till you see the place, you guys are going to be shocked at all the stuff we found down there. I wonder what Indian tribe built their homes to resemble bee hives. I don’t remember ever reading about anything but teepee’s and adobe huts,” Collins said, slowly shaking his head.
“I know of only one tribe, it was the Mayans in Southern Belize, but not here,” Candace said.
“You know, kids, there are a lot of things about the Native Americans ancient past that our ancestors never stopped to learn about, before they tried to annihilate them. I am ashamed to say,” Gloria said, truly sadden by this truth.
Everyone sadly agreed with her. Candace looked at the clock, and announced that it was after midnight, and if they were planning to go back into the cavern tomorrow, they needed to get some rest.
Candace and Stacks volunteered to wash their coffee cups before going up to bed. After saying goodnight, they were alone in the kitchen when Stacks said, “Candace, would you mind if I kissed you goodnight?”
Scrunching up her face in a thoughtful manner, Candace said, “Why are you asking my permission tonight? I seem to remember two kisses where you did not ask if it was alright.”
“I- I guess it’s because I hope to take our relationship farther than just stealing a kiss every once in a while,” Stacks said nervously.
When Candace raised her eyebrow uncertain as to the meaning of his statement, Stacks quickly understood what she was thinking.
“I didn’t mean it that way, but I would be a liar if I said I wasn’t interested in going to bed with you Candace. What I meant was I want to really kiss you and when this is over, take you out for dinner and all the other stuff that goes with dating.”
Placing her dish towl on the counter Candace said, “what took you so long?’
Reaching up and standing on her tip toes, Candace slid her arms around the neck of the most handsome man she had ever seen. When their lips met, Candace knew from deep inside of her, that this muscle-bound golden Adonis, was her Adonis and her soul mate.
To be continued…