Read Part I
The sound of the collapse reverberated through the dark, empty mine surrounding Cassie on all sides as she ran frantically deeper and deeper under the ground. Afraid that the tunnel was continuing to cave in behind her, she pounded forward without looking back, listening to the fading rumbles until all she could hear was her own gasping breath and loudly echoing footfalls.
Slowing to a walk she turned the flashlight back the direction they had come, wondering nervously if it was really done collapsing, or if the horrendous noise and terror would begin again without warning.
She called Joe, stifling her loud breathing long enough to listen for the clink of his collar, but all was silent. "Joe!" she called again. Her voice's echo bounced around the surrounding emptiness before falling still, leaving her listening to the sound of the blood pounding in her ears.
"Great" she grunted heading still deeper into the earth. She pushed the hopelessness of her predicament out of her mind by concentrating her attention on finding Joe... instead of picturing what it would be like to wander for days through a massive maze of abandoned tunnels blindly searching for a way out.
But she hadn't gone 100 yards before she thought she saw something up ahead. Cassie turned off her phone and closed her eyes before opening them to focus on the spot directly in front of her. There was a light at the end of the tunnel!
As she approached, the light took the shape of a circular opening. At first it seemed as though its dancing illumination could only be made by the flickering light of a flame, maybe a torch.
Staying hidden in the shadow, Cassie reached the entrance of a cavern. She realized what she was seeing wasn't the flicker of a flame at all. It was light being refracted off of water dappling the cavern walls, only she couldn't see its source.
That was when she heard a familiar sound, a soft unmistakable clink accompanied by a "click, click, click, click, click" and Joe came walking into view! He sat down several yards away, smiling and looking at her expectantly.
Not wanting to reveal her presence Cassie angrily stage whispered his name. The large dog glanced back in the direction the orangey glow, wagged his tail and looked back at Cassie apologetically.
"Joe! C'mere!" she silently slapped her thigh. Cocking his head to one side, he let out a soft whine, but still wouldn't budge.
In furious exasperation she hesitantly approached him, while glancing nervously around the cavern. All of a sudden she saw what Joe had been looking at and let out a short involuntary shriek, before managing to clap her hand over her mouth. She stared at what lay in front of her in uncomprehending confusion.
The source of the light was a tunnel, half submerged in water, on the far side of the cave. A shallow pool was covering much of the cavern floor and, standing thigh deep in the water, was a woman, wearing some sort of metal, studded with red gem stones.
"Oh my God!" Cassie half croaked. Her throat felt like she'd just swallowed sandpaper.
The woman, looking back at her seemed unsurprised by Joe and Cassie's appearance.
"Don't be afraid." she stated calmly, "I don't intend to harm you." And although She stood half submerged in water and clearly was unarmed, somehow Cassie didn't doubt her ability to do so.
"Who are you?" she asked
"Who am I?" Her liquidy smooth voice echoed Cassie's question. "Known by many names, I am one of the Four Elemental Beings, the Goddess of the Waters. My domain is the realm of the emotions and the dreamtime. You can call me Chalcietle" She paused tilting Her head to one side.
"So is this a dream then?" Cassie asked, warmly welcoming the idea of a rational explanation.
"No, you are not dreaming Cassie" the Goddess responded, "You are here because I summoned you."
"How do you know me?" Cassie was incredulous. "You summoned me?" It was getting weirder and weirder. "This has so got to be a dream." she thought to herself.
"I assure you, you are not dreaming. You are here because you have an important role to play. A role that is your destiny, the reason you exist, planned from the beginning of time itself." Her voice was forceful. Cassie wanted to believe this all was joke, but felt the gravity of Her words sinking deeper into the lower levels of her being, well beyond the reach of mere understanding.
"My Destiny? Whadda you mean? What is my Destiny"
"Before I can explain that to you, there is much you need to know. Way too much for your mind to possibly grasp.
Your world is only the stage on which a much deeper more significant Truth plays itself out. The real drama has been hidden from the eyes of men. But the Universe is going through an important transformation. For centuries it has been torn in two and now is returning to its original state. A great deal is going to change Cassie, in ways that haven't been witnessed for thousands of years."
Although Her words seemed more than strange and beyond preposterous. On some level Cassie's body recognized their truth and she felt oddly excited by this mysterious revelation.
The Goddess raised her arms in Cassie's direction, softly saying words that sounded like a foreign language and yet were oddly familiar.
Cassie felt pressure on her forehead, as though there was something pushing against the inside her skull.
The voice continued, louder, more forcefully; "Desta lafreda unikki! Utando las ness jabbek!"
Suddenly the cavern started to spin. Cassie sunk down next to Joe holding onto him, solid and comforting.
"What's happening to me?" she heard herself asking, from very far away.
"I'm bringing together the pairs of opposites." the Goddess responded. "Relax, don't fight it. It's easier if you let go and flow with it."
But it didn't seem to Cassie she had much choice as she found herself abruptly plunged into the water and sucked down the circular tunnel towards what looked like a giant compass. Smashing through, Cassie felt like she was falling backwards through her own DNA. The dizzying trip moved her past the beginning of her current duality.
Spinning and turning, she hurdled backwards through the evolution of all mammals that ever walked on the face of the earth, and continued through time gone by, to be washed back to life's earliest beginnings in the oceanic womb. And further and further, back, back, back before the first dawn of planet earth, before the birth of the stars, of the galaxy. Back to energy's purest initial state, the realm of the first archetype, to the secret origin of all time and space, back at its very beginning...
Thanks so much for reading part II of my story. I will be posting parts III-V for the next three days. So tune in for part III tomorrow:)
For details and a quick overview of the series, you can read my intropost here.
Read Part III