Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Hidden in the tall reeds was a raft that looked as if it would sink with the weight of the family of ducks swimming nearby. However, when Patrick climbed on, the craft barely dipped before stabilizing. He turned and reached out his hand in invitation. Cautious but curious, Claudia climbed aboard.
Using a long pole, Patrick pushed them across the lake and under a rocky outcropping. He secured the raft to a sawed-off tree stump that served as a pier post for a make-shift dock and stepped off. "Be careful. It can be slippery."
Intrigued, Claudia once again took Patrick's hand and climbed off the raft. They walked toward a sheer rock cliff topped by ruins of what could have been an ancient stone cathedral. However, as they reached the cliff, Patrick slipped through a notch in one of the rocks. Once inside, he retrieved a flashlight from a pocket in the rock wall and turned it on, revealing a narrow corridor. Claudia followed him down a winding pathway for what seemed like miles. Patrick walked without hesitation, turning down side tunnels until she felt totally disoriented.
At last he stopped in front of a solid rock wall. Well, it appeared solid. Until he slid aside what must have been a doorway, revealing into a cavernous room.
"Where are we?" Claudia asked.
Patrick turned with a half-smile. "Safe. That's what you wanted, right?"
Claudia watched him light sconces in pockets of the stone walls and build a fire, illuminating several carved stone benches arranged around a raised fire pit. "How did you know about this place?"
"At times I've needed...a sanctuary." Patrick didn't elaborate, but continued preparations to make them comfortable. He walked to a corner of the cavern and retrieved several cushions from what appeared to be a large vinyl bag. Then he laid them on the benches, as if he was fluffing cushions on a couch.
Warily, Claudia glanced around. In addition to the benches, tables and several chairs had been fashioned from stone. The cavern looked like a living room with furniture made out of stone. The wispy smoke from the fire curled upward toward a domed ceiling that arched high overhead, disappearing in darkness.
"The bathroom area is behind the wall in the back." Patrick waved toward a golden wall fringed with jagged tooth-like structures. Stalactites or stalagmites--Claudia could never remember which pointed up and which hung down.
"Sorry, no running water in this area." Patrick smiled gently. "But there is a hot springs bath beside the restroom area."
**Excerpt from LEGACY OF ANGELS, copyright Genie Gabriel aka Genene Valleau