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Black Hole

Short Story by Les Furnanz  October 1, 2009

Page 6 - Foul

They walked close to the cliff above the valley, looking for the closest match to yesterday’s GPS reading. The sun had just risen, highlighting the plateau on the opposite side of the valley. "This is our best spot to search the cliff face," said David. "We must be within a few meters of the spot directly above the cave entrance. Let's spread ourselves out by about three meters either side of me. We can crawl up to the edge."

They got to their knees, lowering to their stomachs as they approached the cliff. The tan vertical face below was illuminated for the first two hundred feet, while the lower face and valley lay in shadow. "Here it is! I've found the spot where the landslide started," said Raphael.

David and Michel crawled over and peered down. Darker unweathered rock was exposed near the top. After examining the cliff thoroughly Raphael offered, "I don't see any unusual weakness in this area of the wall. I think it will be OK to continue our work below."

The others nodded, but Michel kept scanning the wall. "Let me borrow your binoculars, Dad. Something looks suspicious." After taking the glasses he searched again until finding the suspect area. "That's a crowbar sitting there two hundred feet below us on that ledge. I didn't notice it until the sun hit it."

Raphael, then David, took the binoculars. "I'm pretty sure I know what this means," offered David. "It has to be Jules and Arnaud. We can't prove it, but I'm sure they caused the slide... wanted to scare us... didn't care if it killed us. And they weren't even careful enough to hide their handiwork."

They now looked closer at the spot where the slide had started. With close inspection they found a couple of markings likely to be from a crowbar and hammer splitting the relatively soft calcite.

"We need to go to the police," said David. "This is no longer just a game."

"Good luck," responded Raphael. "The only policeman here in the valley is a volunteer on call, from the next village of Saint Sulpice. The problem is that he was decommissioned from the Cahors city police department a couple of years back. He is a good friend of Jules and Arnaud. Nobody here trusts him."



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