- By S.T.Y.A
"What the hell…?"
Peter turned to face his companion. "What is it?" They'd been digging for ancient bones for a couple of months, and, to put it bluntly, they were getting quite impatient. Their sponsors were even threatening to back out, making Gordon say that "them sponsors are more interested in money than the past" several times, but that didn't make this any less a giant project. Heck, this was nearly the biggest project in the history of archaeology. It had taken them six months just to dig the hole, and now they finally had a chance to find clues to how life had originated. Well, at least it had seemed interesting in the beginning, but now, after so many months of finding nothing but hard, rocky earth, Peter would give his right hand for the slightest bonelike finding.
Gordon examined the object a little closer. "Iron."
Peter had to let go of a sigh. "So, we've hit iron? Great… Now we'll have to move the camp to another place." Peter knew that they wouldn't have to do so. This delay would surely cause their sponsors to back out, meaning that they would have to go back without having found anything.
"No, it's just a little piece of it."
Peter rolled his eyes. "So, we're close to iron? Well, that certainly saves my mood," he muttered with a voice filled with so much sarcasm that even Gordon's wife would be jealous.
"Actually…" Gordon sounded doubtful. "I think it's a spoon."
"Oh, gimme that thing," Peter said, and snatched the object from Gordon. He had to admit that the object had a certain resemblance to a spoon. "Do you think that we can use this to satisfy our sponsors?"
Gordon shrugged. "Depends. First of all, we need to figure out what it is. If here has been hot enough to melt that iron, we might be standing on top of an ancient volcano, and that would mean having to move, and that would defiantly make our sponsors decide on something. I just don't think that we'll be satisfied with what they decide."
"Yeah, I suppose you're right," Peter muttered, but suddenly his attention was drawn to something else.
"What is it?" Gordon asked when he noticed that Peter was starring at the wall that surrounded the great hole.
Peter started examining the eastern wall, and suddenly, without notice, he started hitting it. "Don't you hear it?" he exclaimed happily.
Peter hit the wall again. "It's hollow."
Gordon looked at him with a mixture of pity and worry glued to his face. "Listen, any cavelike formations would have crushed by the earth on top of it. Jesus, Peter, do you even realise how much earth there is above us?"
"But it's hollow," Peter whined, and continued hitting it. Then, without considering it any further, he picked up a pickaxe and hit the wall.
"Hey, stop that!" Gordon said. "You might make it collapse!"
"I got through." Peter said.
Gordon didn't say anything for a second, but then he started understanding what Peter said. Actually, it was quite funny how your brain always seemed to break down for a couple of seconds when you got surprised. "You got through?"
"Yup. There's a cave in here."
Gordon thought that he was prepared for whatever there might have been inside this cave, but he still gasped as the insides were revealed.
"This is… What is this?" Peter said in a fairly shocked voice. The 'cave' had furniture. Not new furniture or anything, but it was still easy to see the forms of what had been a couch. Heck, Gordon thought that he could see a fridge in the corner.
"This is a joke," Peter mumbled. "Nothing this old could be so well-preserved."
Gordon shook his head. "No. Nobody could have made this place before the hole was made, and we're the first ones here."
Peter started examining the table that were standing in the middle of the cave, and before long, he had whipped the dirt off it. "You gotta be kidding."
"This table is new."
It took Gordon a while before he repeated his previous statement. "What?"
"You heard me. This table is in perfect condition. It can't be more than a couple of months old."
Gordon starred at the table in pure disbelief. "Hey, what's this?" He said and removed the dust from a little, flat square on the table. When he'd cleaned it, he took a long hard look at it.
Gordon continued looking at the object. "I think you better take a look at this, Peter."
"What?" Peter snatched the object from Gordon. "Well, it's too bad that we can't decipher this thing right now." Noticing that it could bend, Peter decided that it was some sort of paper.
"We wont have to."
Gordon gave Peter a long, hard look. "It's not in any ancient language."
Peter looked at the paper with the same expression of disbelief as Gordon had given it, as he realized what it was. "New York Times. 19th of august 2014" He paused. "Jesus Christ, Gordon, what is this?"
Gordon shrugged. "I really don't know, but I suppose that our sponsors are going to like it."
Peter started laughing. "You got that right," he said, noticing that he was beginning to develop a headache. He instantly decided that he needed some fresh air. Not that there was a lot of fresh air in the hole, but at least they had a ventilation-system.
Gordon smiled. "Listen, Jack and Bob will be here tomorrow, and the rest of the team will be here in a week, okay? I'll call them and ask them to bring some equipment with them, so we can determine if this is a sick joke or not."
Peter nodded, and started towards the exit. "By the way, Gordon, even if this thing is for real, and if it's really some ancient apartment, how come everything looks so new?"
"I don't really know," he answered and shrugged, "I once heard that radiation can keep fruit fresh for a very long time, maybe it's the same with tables underground?"
Peter smiled, and headed outside. Standing outside, breathing the fresh air, everything suddenly darkened. He almost collapsed on the ground, coughing and gasping for the air that had merely been something he desired before. Now he needed it. A terrible mixture of slime and blood started coming out of his mouth as he coughed, and, just to make his day, he started loosing his hair.
Gasping for breath, he tried getting up, but as soon as he tried to let the slightest of his weight rest on his leg, it broke off, letting even more blood hit the bottom of the hole. If Peter had worried about anything else, but getting air through the slime and blood in his mouth, he would have noticed how all the fat in his body was beginning to melt, and how some sort of pressure inside of him forced it to get out through his eyes. The eyes couldn't take so much pressure, and before long they we're lying next to a body still gasping desperately for air, and barely noticed that the eyes' only connection to him was two red strings.
He started trembling and his body, which was now so unstable that pouring water on it would be enough to make him explode, started breaking into little parts. Luckily Peter never lived to see how his heart exploded inside of him. In his last living moments all he thought about was his daughter, Susanne, and how she'd used to kiss her doll goodnight. Now, he was the doll, and he imagined her kissing him goodnight and placing him in a little bed before complete darkness came and forced him away from her.
Jack had always hated the elevator, but unfortunately it was the only way to get to the bottom of the hole. His friend, Bob, and him had been out buying the needed supplies, and had left Gordon and Peter down in the hole. The girl in the elevator was Susanne, Peter's daughter. Peter didn't know that she was coming, so Bob had decided to bring her with them to say hello to her father. For some reason, she always made Peter happy.
Right now, they were the only people to maintain the hole. The rest of the team would arrive once a week, and they'd dig further down. They would gladly be digging from five to eleven, but their budget didn't make them able to have the equipment for such periods.
"So, Susanne, how long has it been since you saw Peter?" Bob asked, and sounded sincerely interested in what she would answer.
Susanne thought about this for some time, and finally answered that it had been a week. She remembered this, because she'd only seen one episode of her favourite cartoon that she hadn't told her father about.
Finally, the elevator stopped, and they got off. As always, Jack was the first to practically flee from the elevator. Not that he was claustrophobic; he just hated the elevator for some reason.
"So, did we get all of the supplies?" he asked, and reached for the switch to turn on the light, and realizing just how bad his timing was when it came to asking that question. "I can't imagine that you would forget anything, eh?"
Bob smiled. "Yeah, yeah, laugh at the fat guy."
"Don't worry, I will," Jack stated with half of his mouth shaped like a smile. This was the closest you would ever get to see him smile.
Susanne pulled her doll out of her bag, and hugged it. She had always been afraid of the dark, and a big, dark hole was no exception.
"Yo, Peter! Gordon! We're back, and we – well, actually it was Bob – have brought some goodies this time!" Jack yelled.
Nobody answered, and Jack assumed that they had gone to sleep. However, reaching in his pocket for the remote control that would turn on the lights, he discovered that he had left it in the elevator.
"Bob, I'm going up again, okay? I've forgotten the damn remote."
Bob nodded, and opened a bag of candy. "Sure thing," he answered, and turned to Susanne. "Hey, kiddo, do you want some?" he asked, offering some candy like any other would offer you their lungs.
Jack went into the hated elevator once more, and started searching for the remote. They always kept it in here. It took him five minutes before he had searched the whole elevator, and finally found it inside his pocket. Deciding that he wouldn't tell Bob about this detail, he went out of the elevator again, and turned on the lights.
In the corner, a bloody substance in the shape of a human, and with bits of bones in it - like carrots in soup – lay, and a shaking figure that reminded him of Bob was in the middle of the room, shaking and gasping for breath.
Discovering a cave, Jack went inside, and found Susanne. She was crying. When she discovered him, she ran over to him and started letting her tears mess up his pants. "Bob is sick," she mumbled between sobs.
Jack placed a hand on her head, and eyed the cave. The interiors looked just like an apartment, and a human body all covered with green spots in the corner looked just like Gordon.
He noticed that Susanne wasn't crying anymore, and when he looked down, he saw that she wasn't breathing.
"Any questions?" a man wearing a long, black coat asked.
Frank turned around and saw him. "Who are you?"
"Oh, me?" the man smiled. "I'm just here to watch you guys, but, surely, that's not your only question, right?"
Jack shook his head. "When will I die?" he asked. He'd always wondered about this.
Once again, the man replied with a smile. "Oh, very soon. Yes, in a matter of minutes. But I'm sure that there's something that you'd rather know, right?"
Jack realized what the man wanted him to ask. "What is this place?"
"Ding Dong! I thought you'd never ask! This place, my friend, is what's left of an ancient civilisation. You see, a bomb caused a chainreaction, and accidentally wiped out the whole planet, leaving everything in flames. Sorry folks! Excuses for everyone! We made a li'l error here, when calculating the bomb's effects! You know, good old-fashioned end of the world. Gotta love it, eh? God knows how many books have been written about that over the years. Anyway, I'm sure that you're aware of what happened after that right?"
Jack shook his head.
"Arw, come on, you're an archaeologist, for crying out loud! Haven't you heard that the whole planet was engulfed by flames once?"
"Yes, but that was after the Big Bang, not…"
The man interrupted him. "Exactly! The first time was after the Big Bang, but it happened again, and just like before, life originated, and before long birds was picking up the bread people threw them once again."
"So, you're saying that we're destined to kill ourselves over and over?"
"No, no, no. Sooner or later, the sun will burst, and this little unending story will end."
Jack started walking towards the elevator, even though his legs were hurting like hell.
The man looked at him. "You do realize that you're not going to survive the trip up there?"
Jack opened the door to the elevator and pulled the handle to get it moving. Before long, he was coughing slime and blood, and feeling his bones melt.
Down in the cave, the man opened the refrigerator, and retrieved a bottle of milk. "I really didn't want to do this, Jack, but you leave me no choice." He snapped his fingers. "Boom, Jack. Boom."
NEW YORK TIMES: 3rd of April 2004.
Yesterday, the body of three archaeologists was found in the so-called "Hole A". The cause is not yet determined, but most of the hole had collapsed on them due to an unfortunate explosion. Four men and a young girl were supposed to have been in there, but only the three has been found. One of the located men had taken the elevator, and was going up when the dynamite had exploded, making the elevator fall.
However, the located men are supposed to have died from a new type of what could be called radiation, and therefore the collapsing cave can't have caused their deaths. Where this radiation came from is unknown. The men's bodies had almost melted, and without showing any signs of being burned their temperature had risen to an amazing 400 degrees above the normal.
"Hole A" was supposed to have been the first in a series of giant holes made to determine where life originated, but the explosion have caused most major sponsors to cut off the funding, and therefore the project is officially closed. The bodies are being examined closer, but Bert Troak, a scientist who worked at Hole A, says that having found a piece of metal, they've decided that the men must've been near a volcano.
NEW YORK TIMES: 25th of June 2010.
Yesterday, the president ordered the weapon-supplies to be increased by 200%, due to the treat from the northern part of Europe. The president states that these weapons "Isn't for actual use, but for preventing a war." and also mentions that using these weapons for actual war would be a crime against the American way of life.
NEW YORK TIMES: 2nd of August 2014.
As the war goes on, the number of hallucinations increases. The most popular one seems to be a black three-legged dog. Nobody has claimed having actually seen it, but most people claims that they dream about it, and hear howls when they wake up after these nightmares. Also, these people claims that they feel watched at night, and that they dream about a man covered in fur. The well-known doctor, George Hanson, claims that such dreams are normal in times of war.
NEW YORK TIMES: 19th of August 2014
New weapon developed!
Tonight, this weapon will be tested to see if it is capable of causing as much damage as the nuclear weapons. If it turns out to be capable of doing so, more weapons will be produced. The new 'E-bomb' as it's called, will be able to shatter electrons and thereby causing a chainreaction. When asked when this bomb should be used against Europe, the president refused to answer, saying that such information was unknown as of yet, and that even if he knew, giving away such information would be foolish, and that he didn't even think that they would ever use it. "Having such weapons," he stated. "Is more than enough to assure that they'll never be used."
Jack shook all over his body, and just like Peter, he had broken his leg when trying to stand up. Around him, a cloudy figure began appearing, telling him tales of a world in flames. Telling him tales of a people caught in limbo, and whispering a quiet song about a long-gone race that had the power to share their fate with whoever entered the cave.
A people who had lost their humanity after an eternity in darkness, and a people who desperately sought release from their torments.
Only one thing can release me. The whisper whispered. I will take your place, and you will take mine.
Then every light disappeared, and only a weak star seemed to glow above him. For some reason he wanted to go there, but billions of whispers kept him back.
His arms weren't melting anymore. The only thing left of him was a cloudy figure. Flabbergasted, he could do nothing but to stand in his darkness and watch the whisper take his earlier form and fly towards the star that shut its lights as soon as the whisper had reached it.
Before an hour had passed, Jack – who was now the new whisper – was already crying. Nothing left for him, but to wait for the day the sun would burst. Then he would be released.
It might've been a day. Might've been a millennium, but before long the whisper had forgotten everything from its life, and began searching for someone who could take its place. Soon, it went back to the cave, where so many whispers had lived before, and it started waiting for Jack to arrive. Jack was special, and only by making him the whisper could it ever be released. Putting on its long, black coat, it sat down and waited. It was in constant pain, but sooner or later it would be released. Someday, fish would swim in the ocean above its head, and humans would come here. Thousands of billions of years would have to pass, but as soon as the thinking ape began walking, only millenniums would be left. Then it would be released from a bomb that could ravage even a soul.
And after the first couple of billions of years it began adjusting to the constant pain, and at the same time as the fish started walking the land, the whisper whispered its first words below the fish.
"When will I die?" it muttered, and tasted the words. They seemed familiar, and though it had forgotten their meaning, it knew that they were important.
Billions of years passed, and the whisper continued waiting patiently. Then, when only a few thousands of years were left, a human touched the place that the bomb had hit, and the whisper arose from its prison. On it's way up it passed a forgotten civilisation where it would soon meet Jack.
And it started walking through the forests of America, and started learning the ways of the humans. Memories it didn't know it possessed came back to it, and a picture of a woman kept returning. However, not knowing who she was, it continued roaming across the continent, and watched forests slowly changing into cities.
It even saw the baby being born. The baby that would turn into Jack, and one day release it from its prison. Sometimes, late at night, Jack would wake up, feeling watched, but not knowing the origins of the feeling. Not knowing that a whisper was standing outside his window, waiting for him to go down into that hole. It wouldn't take more than twenty years, and then an eternity of waiting would be over.
It wouldn't take more than thirty years before a bomb would ravage every soul on the planet, forever denying them their rest.