Friday, October 06, 2006

Cavern Diving

We're going pink for October!

The state of TIAH

October 6th, 2006

in 1972, after a surprisingly uneventful night, Professor Karl Ainsworth and Officer Xavier Hely attend the funeral of Doctor Roman Pelliot, the archaeologist who had been in charge of the Lascaux Cave. Father Vincent Laval, the priest of the Montignac parish, delivers a moving eulogy to the handful of mourners there, and Ainsworth quietly vows to himself that Dr. Pelliot's murderers will be brought to justice. He is shaken out of his thoughts by Officer Hely, who points out one of the mourners. “That's one of the people who attacked us at the police station,” he whispers. “I'm positive of it.” After the funeral, they watch this man as he goes up to Father Laval and receives a blessing, then leaves. They follow as he walks away into the woods in the general direction of the cave. He loses them for a few minutes, but they catch back up with him just as he drops into a hole in the ground. They rush up to the hole and examine it carefully. Both are reluctant to drop down after the man, but feel that it's necessary. Professor Ainsworth gestures at the hole and says, “Apres-vous.” Officer Hely pulls his gun and jumps in. Ainsworth follows, and the two are soon spelunking through a narrow tunnel. “I think we're heading away from the cave,” Ainsworth whispers. Hely agrees, and says, “I think I hear something up ahead.” They proceed forward cautiously, and soon notice the glow of torchlight ahead of them. They sneak up to a wide opening, and peek through it to a large cavern. Inside that cavern, lit by a half-dozen torches, they see the man they had been following tossing food to something large. They hear the satisfied grunting of the creature feeding and the clinking of a chain as it moves. After feeding time, the man leaves via a different tunnel. Officer Hely turns to Professor Ainsworth and asks, “Shall we examine the beast?” Ainsworth nods, and they cautiously sneak forward into the cavern. They hear the beast sniffing at them, and it lets out a terrifying roar that echoes throughout the cavern. They flee back down the tunnel they came from as they hear the pelting of many feet towards the cavern. They burst from the hole in the woods and run back towards Montignac. Only when they are within sight of the church again do they slow down to look behind them. Officer Hely, catching his breath, says, “What was that?” Professor Ainsworth answers, “The largest bear I've ever seen in my life. I think,” he continues hesitantly, “it's a species that's not supposed to exist anymore.”

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