The darkness fell behind William, while he slowly walked down the path back home. He tried to recall his steps, but the dense clouds covered everything around him, and his surroundings turned into a maze he couldn’t remember.
Just a few hours ago, sunlight illuminated the beautiful landscaping of the Andean mountains—now he was only able to see a few steps in front of him.
I’m lost, he thought, noticing that the heavy mist stood lifeless on top of him. I’ll have to find shelter.
Nevertheless, the first drops of rain fell on his forehead and his possibilities for survival diminished.
The mountain is treacherous to those who are not aware of its signs. The day was supposed to be relaxing, although William had almost forgotten all the troubles awaiting him back home.
Perhaps this was the way the universe answered his prayers. After all, William had been repeating in his mind, over and over again, his desire to get away from his problems. Life was giving him what he wanted in the least expected way.
William moved quickly through the branches and bushes of an unfamiliar forest. Trying in vain to find shelter from the rain. To his surprise, the hill had prepared an abandoned tunnel for him. There, he could hide from the rain… although he was not the only one seeking shelter.
Even in a forest so close to a city, nature laws expanded its domain. Unknowingly, William found peace when he saw the perfectly circular cave entrance at the distance, and without consideration for his safety he entered it.
The tunnel looked like a human construction without an apparent function. It seemed like a pipeline to prevent landslides, William thought unsure of his imagination. The scarce sunlight only reached a few meters inside the artificial cave, beyond it one could only see an endless dark void. Even the sounds of his step seemed different, from what he was used to, as he walked inside.
William did not intend to inspect the cave, staying only at the entrance to cover himself from the rain—trying not to look at the depth that seemed to call his name. It was impossible for him to remain calm without knowing that something else could be found in the dark. So he took his cell phone and turned on his flashlight.
Lying against the tunnel wall was a creature with bare skin and long thin arms—with deep dark circles around its eyes. William blinked, holding his breath and noticed with surprise that the figure disappeared.
I have to get out of here, he told himself, turning to see the heavy rain falling outside the cave.
“Where are you going?”
The deep voice came suddenly. William lost control of his body, he even tried to scream, but fear kept him frozen for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, he regained his breath and slowly turned to look inside the cave.
It’s all in my head, he thought to reassure himself. As his body stopped trembling.
A pair of glowing eyes appeared in the tunnel. William graved his cell phone to illuminate the darkness, but he couldn’t see the lurking creature.
I should have a signal by now, he thought while looking at the screen of his cell phone. When a loud sound, like the bursting of two rocks, came from the deepness of the tunnel.
I rather get wet by the rain, William thought and turned to walk out of the cave. Then, he saw a panther for the first time. The animal lurked slowly under the rain—driving its powerful paws on the mud with every step.
William’s mind went blank, he finally managed to lose focus on everything that wasn’t behind the menacing eyes of the beast. A strange sensation, almost like a wave took everything with it, just like the feeling of having lost everything. The only thing left was right in front of him.
Without consideration, William ran back into the tunnel—the darkness absorbed him completely and after a few steps the ground disappeared under his feet. The fall didn’t seem to have an end, meanwhile William couldn’t imagine what would happen when his body crashed at the bottom. Somehow, the only thing he could see was the present.
William flew through a perpetual darkness; floating on an endless void. Until, to his surprise, his back made contact with a wall that gradually slowed his fall, and safely let him at the foot of a stone slide.
There, a brightly shining light blinded him for an instant. William looked at the source of radiance and understood, this was the reason why his ancestors hid the most precious treasures in the heart of a volcano.
Knowledge engulfed him like a cascade of wisdom crashing over his head.
William’s eyes widened when the rescue team secured him to the helicopter’s stretcher. The search party had been looking for him for two weeks, although for him it felt just like a couple of hours.
Few know the secrets of our ancestors, and despite his attempts, William wasn’t able to find the portal’s door again.