UP THE SHAFT

Scene 23  1560 4D

The climb wearied Derizan and the others, forcing them to stop again and again, wheezing and gasping. The air seemed clearer, except for dust motes dislodged by their climb that sparkled blue-white in the dim glow of their lights. At the stops, Ajina passed around a waterskin, and everyone sipped.

A glow from above grew in size and brightness each time Derizan looked up, and at last he climbed to step out into the domed chamber. Its central pedestal shed enough light from the one symbol on it that the four climbers, coming out, could turn down their glowlights, saving their stored energy.

Selech immediately came over to the pedestal, looking at the glowing symbol. As Derizan shouted “Don’t!” he touched the symbol with a fingertip.

The whole chamber welled into blinding blue-white light that flicked off and on, off and on, five times, in a few heartbeats. Then the chamber faded back again.

“Look,” Derizan warned. “Don’t touch anything else! We don’t know anything about this place or these things!”

They all looked around in wonder as their eyes readjusted to the low level of illumination.

Denzari said, “No exits except the way we came in. It makes me wonder why this is here at all – it must have some purpose or function. The marks on that pedestal make me think of the lifts in the City, with their panels of buttons for choosing a level for a destination. Could this be some kind of transport or communication node?”

“If it is, we don’t know how it works or what it does,” Derizan. “Let’s be very careful.” He glared at Selech, who was hovering near the pedestal.

Ajina inspected the walls, her hands hovering just above the grimy-looking surfaces. “There are patterns here underneath a layer of dust. Oh, look at this.” She relit her glowstick, holding it close to the wall. The others all came over.

On the wall opposite the shaft entrance, sketched under the dust and grime, the faint outline of a naked, male, standing human figure became apparent, its right hand extended to the right and open in a gesture of invitation. The four stood staring at it for a long moment. “Selech, don’t touch it,” Derizan warned again. Ajina took her husband’s arm as if to restrain him.

“It may be a trigger,” Denzari said. “Not everything is a button to be pushed.”

Derizan moved a little closer, moving his hand to align with the extended hand of the figure, keeping a hand’s-length away from the wall. Maybe it’s a sensor, or…

Kicking out dust and dirt, the hand and arm of the figure stretched the wall out to seize his hand, and he faded away.

 

Next scene.

Last Updated Tuesday, June 25 2024 @ 10:04 am  14 Hits   
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