We made sure we had everything and that the ropes were tightly attached to the top of the cave. One by one everyone started going down, but they let Helen and me go last, just in case something happens. After all seven of them were safely at the bottom it was our turn. We went together.
I called out.
We finished the count together and slowly threw our feet off the edge and started making our way down. Below us I heard voices, I couldn’t make out whose they were but they were talking about which way we should go.
“This is so exciting!”
I heard Helen say next to me.
“Yeah, let’s just get down in one peace.”
I replied. It was getting darker and darker and the edge of the cave was getting smaller with each step we took. Eventually I felt a hand on my back, it was my dad, he was reassuring me I was at the end and then he helped me detach myself from the rope. Nick was doing the same thing to Helen.
“You girls ok?”
Danny said as he approached us.
“Yeah we’re fine.”
Helen said and looked at me as if trying to tell me to agree with her answer.
“Yeah, we are. That was fun!”
I answered smiling at both of them, but I wasn’t lying, even though it was terrifying not knowing where the bottom is and feeling like I could fall each second it was the most fun I’ve had in a while.
“Well that’s great, since this is an underground cave there might be more of that.”
Cindy joined the conversation while my dad was talking to the others still deciding which way to go.
“What are they talking about?”
I asked Cindy and pointed toward the four guys and my dad.
“There are a lot of tunnels, we have to decide which one to take.”
“Oh, ok. But how are we going to know where we came from?”
“We leave small tracking devices on the walls of the cave, every fifty meters or so, which we can locate on our GPS and find our way back.”
When she says it like that it sounds so obvious.
“Ok then, for how long can we go before we run out of them?”
“We have enough for about two kilometers.”
“How small are those devices if you can carry so many?”
“You sure like to ask a lot of questions.”
Cindy said laughing. Then she pulled something out of her back pack and showed it to me. It was hard to focus on something small in the dim light of the electronic lanterns which by now were the only source of light we had, but I could just make out a small metal chip, not bigger than my finger nail.
“Ok, so that small.”
This time I’m the one to laugh a bit. While we were talking about chips and pathways, next to us Helen and Danny were listening closely.
“How long doe it usually take for them to decide on a route?”
This time Helen was the one to ask a question.
“They should be done soon” Danny said “but they have never taken this long before.”
He looks at his mom telling her that, that was a question and that she should answer it.
“Well this time we have two stubborn guys instead of just one. Your dad was always like that.”
She says looking at Danny and then at me, I knew that the ‘your dad’ was referring to my dad.
“Yeah I know.”
I said with a smile. Sometimes I liked that about my dad, other times not so much.
“Ok are we ready to get going.”
I heard my dad yell out from about six meters left of us.
“Always, which way?”
It was Cindy that asked the question that was on everyone’s mind. We grouped together and slowly started down the tunnel that was on our left.
I asked. My dad looked at me questioningly probably wondering ‘who won what?’ I knew an answer was expected.
“Who was the one that chose to go down this way?”
“Oh, I did.”
My dad said laughing as if it was obviously going to turn out like that, although it was the most likely outcome to a discussion with my dad. The thrill of adventure was so high in all of us that we just kept quiet and walked down the never ending dark tunnel, leaving small metal chips along the way as we go. The silence was nice for a change; I guess it gave me some time to think about what I really think about this trip. As I thought so far I was really excited and I definitely wanted to go but the longer the silence lasted the more I found a feeling deep inside that was just starting to come out, it was fear, only now have the thoughts of getting stuck down here or something similar occurred to me.
“We’ve been walking for hours! Is anyone else tired?”
Helen was the first one to speak and break the silence.
Almost all of us shouted at the same time.
“We can take a short break here then.”
Cindy said, after a few seconds. The cave walls were twisting and wide so any place was good enough to stop for about an hour to take a break.