The Consequences of Curiosity
After wandering and exploring various new caverns in the old cave that extended through the center of the mountain, the weary explorers quite literally tripped over an old passageway that looked like it had been hundreds of years since anyone had been down that way, if at all. The taller man, who had tripped and seen the passageway as he looked up, stood and brushed himself off.
“Well, that was graceful,” he said sarcastically to himself, “I wonder where that leads.”
“Well, let’s find out.” Said a shorter man that was traveling with him. His blonde hair matched well with his baby blue eyes. He was the type who could easily find a hundred girlfriends, but refused to do so in his search for the perfect woman. His friend, the taller man, had dark hair that was long and pulled back into a braid. His blue eyes were friendly and warm, and his demeanor was calm and laid-back.
“We have been finding out where different passages go all day, Riley,” said the taller one with the dark, braided hair.
“I know, but this doesn’t look like it has been used in hundreds of years, Jacob.” Said the shorter with the blonde hair.
“It doesn’t look like it has been used at all.”
“That’s my point. Maybe we will find something. It certainly is interesting. We thought this whole cave had been explored many times and everything of discovery had been discovered. Here we have something new to report to the world.”
“All right, all right,” said Jacob as he raised his hands in submission, “you and your curiosity are going to get us killed some day.”
“Maybe, but not today. The walls and ceiling look solid.” Said Riley as he turned down the little tunnel, lighting the path with his lantern.
After what seemed like an hour or more of walking down that particular cavern, they came upon a room filled with crystals. The light from the lantern bounced off of, or shone through, the crystal filled room, lighting the entire room. For the most part, the crystals were clear, leaving the two to wonder if they were diamond, or zirconia, or something else entirely. Very few had any kind of color, but those that were colored were vibrant and beautiful. Jacob and Riley stood in the doorway, their mouths agape in awe.
“Riley, I think we really found something this time.”
“No kidding! It is beautiful in here! Look at all these crystals! I don’t think anyone has ever seen this room, otherwise it would be barren, like the rest of the cave. Let’s take a closer look.” He said as he set the lantern on the floor and entered the crystal cavern.
Jacob went off to the left side of the cavern, and Riley to the right. They stood in awe as they stared at the beauty of all the crystals that filled the cavern, not only observing, but also examining them carefully. They were sure to be rich!
They moved slowly towards the center of the cavern, each becoming more and more excited as they found more and more deposits of raw, precious gems. Riley was the first to fully turn and see the column in the center of the cavern. In the middle of the column, which seemed to be one giant crystal, was a dark area, as though something was trapped in the middle of the column of crystal.
“Hey, Jacob, I think I found something!”
“What else could you find? It’s all crystal!”
“It looks more like a someone rather than a something.” Riley said as he got closer.
He stood in front of the crystal column, now examining it and the dark figure. Trapped inside was a young woman with ebony hair and fair skin. She wore a black cloak draped over her body, reaching down to her knees, and clasped with a crystal brooch in the shape of a moon and star. Her clothes were very old, as though she had been alive centuries before. Her black pants seemed to be loose fitting, and made of cotton. Her shirt was not visible beneath her black cloak, which was closed in front of her, hiding her arms and midsection.
Jacob soon joined Riley as they stood in front of the crystal column, staring in awe at the young woman trapped in the crystal.
“I think we should get her out of there,” Riley suggested.
“She’s dead. She would have to be. Look how old her clothes are! A cloak and pants like that have not been seen since twenty-twenty-three. Besides, being trapped in crystal like that would kill anyone.”
“It’s also impossible. If you’re alive, and in this cave, would you submit to hundreds of years of water dripping on you and forming crystal around you? She doesn’t look any older than twenty. She certainly is strange.”
“So, do you think she is human? I mean for this much crystal to form around her, she would have to be at least a hundred years old, but she still looks like she is barely out of her teens.”
“Probably not. This seems fishy. I would like to examine her more closely, though, and find out what she is.”
“Yeah, I bet you would like to do just that.” Said Jacob jokingly.
“Very funny,” Riley shot back, “But I admit she has sparked my curiosity.”
“You mean like the passageway?”
“More than that. I have a lot of questions.”
“How could you answer them? You are not a scientist. Besides, how would we get her out? We don’t have anything to break through that crystal coffin of hers.”
“Good point. If we leave now, though, we most likely won’t be able to come back. We will have to think of something.”
“Wait, I think I see something,” said Jacob as he circled around to the back of the column. Carved into the crystal was what appeared to be writing. Because of the transparency of the crystal, it was difficult to read, so Riley pulled out a piece of paper and colored wax that was soft. He rubbed the wax over the writing until it made a clear imprint on the paper.
“Well, at least it is English,” Jacob said, “But it is old English. Can you read it, Mr.Brainiac?”
“Yes, I can.”
“Then do it! I want to know what it says.”
“It says, ‘To the discoverer of this precious girl, The one who once had saved the world, A day must come when she awake, To save the world her life must take, A crystal is her coffin tomb, A crystal the key to unlock the womb.’”
“’A crystal the key to unlock the womb’?” Jacob repeated, “What does that mean? You can’t open a womb with a key, much less a crystal.”
“I think the ‘womb’ mentioned here means this crystal column. It also said, ‘A crystal is her coffin tomb’. I think it means she was, in a sense, ‘buried’ in this crystal column.”
“But it also said, ‘A day must come when she awake, To save the world her life must take’. I think it means she is still alive in there.”
“Good! Maybe we can wake her up and find out just who, or what, she is.”
“Careful what you wish for. It also said, ‘A day must come when she awake, to save the world her life must take’.”
“So you think that when she wakes up, it will be near the end of the world?”
“We’re close enough right now, aren’t we?”
“That was my point in the first place.”
“So, that was a verbal trap?”
“Let’s wake her up and see what happens.”
“Where’s the key, I wonder?”
“Remember? It said ‘A crystal is the key to unlock the womb’.”
“Good luck finding the crystal. This place is full of them!”
They began to search around the room, looking for a crystal that would perhaps be different from the rest. They were all of different shapes, sizes, and colors, so trying to find a “crystal key” would be like looking for a needle in the proverbial haystack. After what seemed like an hour of searching, the crystal that Jacob had been wearing around his neck since he was a young child, slipped out from the cover of his shirt. Riley looked at it for a moment, then did a double take. The shape of his necklace seemed familiar.
“Hey, Jacob, your crystal seems familiar.”
“It ought to! We’ve been friends our whole lives, and I have worn this my whole life, and you are just now noticing this?”
“No, what I mean is the shape. I thought I saw an indentation below the writing in that shape. And that crystal has always seemed unusual. I have never seen a black crystal, especially not one like yours. Where did you say you got it?”
“My mom gave it to be before she and dad died when I was little.”
“And where did she get it?”
“She said it was passed down through her family for hundreds of years. Apparently the first person in her family bought it from a thief and gave it to her daughter for her birthday. Since then it was passed down from mother to first child.”
“And you’re an only child so she gave it to you. I wonder where the thief got it.”
“I don’t know. Mom never said.”
“Well, from all the books I have read, I have never ever seen a crystal like that before. To be perfectly honest with you, I don’t think it is from Earth. Perhaps the girl and that crystal go hand in hand some how. It’s worth a try, don’t you think?”
Jacob removed the necklace from around his neck and handed it to Riley. Riley placed it over the indentation in different positions until the crystal fit into the indentation like a piece of a puzzle. The crystal suddenly glowed with a bright white light, enough to fill the cave and nearly blind the two explorers.
Though they felt no heat, the glowing light seemed to melt away the crystal coffin from around the girl. Only moments later the girl collapsed to the floor of the crystal cavern, still unconscious. After their eyes cleared enough to see what was going on, Jacob and Riley crawled up to the girl lying unconscious on the floor.
“Well, we got her out. What now?” said Jacob.
“It said that was supposed to wake her up.”
“Maybe she just needs a minute. You know, like a kid that does not like to wake up in the morning.”
“Yeah, I can imagine it now. She peeks her eyes open and complains, ‘Aw, come on you guys, just five more minutes!’”
At the mention of such a scene, Jacob and Riley burst out laughing and could not stop until they were positive that their sides would burst. They cleared the tears from laughing so hard from their eyes and looked over to find the girl standing up straight, looking down at them.