Chapter sixty six
The first cave-in, or what was left of it, was on the west side of the tunnel. The damage to the pipe works was obvious, so was the attempt to cover it up. The other two collapses appeared shortly after. Although the entire area was shored up with extra beams it was clear that it could still crumble at any time. Jed felt much better when the dirt ceiling above them and the walls beside them eventually became stone.
“Well this is my cue to skidoo.” Pete said, once they had passed into the caverns.
They stopped and said their good-byes. Pete swept Winsley up into his arms and gave her a hug.
“Am I ever going to see you again?” She asked.
“I’ll miss you until someday comes.”
“I’ll miss you too.” Pete said, giving her a peck on the forehead.
Pete put her down then shook Jeds hand.
“I wish I could go with you.”
“I wish you could too.” Jed answered, nodding towards his shoulders.
“When you get out of here,” Pete said pointing to the cell phone in Jeds pocket. “That thing will probably be ringing off the hook.”
“Probably.” Jed said. I hope so, he thought.
Jed and Winsley watched as Pete started out through the tunnel. They waited until he was out of sight then turned and headed through the caverns.
Some of the minerals on the cavern walls absorbed the light from the head lamps. Winsley watched in awe as striation after striation lit up beside them. Occasionally Jed had to stop and wait as Winsley stopped and spun around, covering her head lamp with her hand, to watch the different colors glow and then wink out one by one behind them.
A few hundred feet in they heard movement.
“Bats?” Winsley asked, referring to the scuffling noises in the rock above.
“Bats.” Jed confirmed, looking up with his light and seeing a small cluster of the little black sacks hanging from the rock ceiling.
Winsley reached up and grabbed his hand, letting him lead her as she watched the sleeping creatures above them.
Once they were past the cluster she let go. But a few moments later she grabbed his hand again, tugging at it indicating for him to slow down. Jed looked up there was another cluster over head, this one was slightly larger.
He slowed down and began side swiping the piles of guano as best he could. The stench was horrible but Winsley didn’t seem to notice. Occasionally one of the creatures would let out a screech and Winsley would tighten her grip. The sound was louder than it would have been if they had been outside. Jed reminded himself of the time. It was night. Eventually the bats would take off to feed. When they did they would take off in a cloud of wings and claws. The bats seemed to read his mind. The rustling grew louder and the screeches more frequent. Jed pulled Winsley up beside him and readied himself to cover her.
“What’s the matter?” She asked when he drew her close.
“They are going to fly soon.” He whispered.
As if they had heard him suddenly the ceiling above them seemed to drop and come alive. Jed pushed Winsley to the floor of the cavern and covered her with his body. Beneath him she contorted herself so that she could see from under his arm.
“Ooooh.” She said as she watched the fervor of activity only a couple of feet above them.
It only lasted a few seconds but it had felt like minutes. When Jed was sure that they were all gone he stood up and let Winsley do the same.
“That was cool!” Winsley exclaimed. Her tiny voice echoed through the caverns.
Jed was about to warn her that she should keep her voice down because all the bats may not be gone when he heard a rustling deep in the darkness in front of them. Jed started to turn to cover Winsley again. That’s when he heard the click and realized that the rustling sound wasn’t bats. He stopped turning and looked ahead of him.
A form stepped out of the shadows and came into view. It was Lauren. She was holding a Glock in her hand.
It was aimed at Jed.