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Black Hole

Short Story by Les Furnanz  October 1, 2009

Page 7 - Darkness

David tossed and turned. He couldn't think it through... couldn't get himself to feel confident. It was two a.m. and he had yet to sleep. He resolved to go over the situation one last time. If he still couldn't sleep, he'd give it up and rise for the day.

Here he was a stranger in his father's homeland, pursuing his father's dream. This was his seventh night in France. He admitted he loved the Célé Valley. This medieval place must still look as it had 800 years ago on the pilgrimage route from Burgundy to Santiago del Compostella. But had his father's dream become his dream? No, not yet, he thought, it's still too doubtful. He was enthralled by the prehistoric art he had seen at Pech Merle, but it was a large leap of faith to think that he could find the reported treasures on his own property.

The day had started with their investigation of the landslide foul play. After long discussion he and Raphael had decided to keep on with their efforts without pursuing the perpetrators. However they agreed to keep their eyes out for Jules and Arnaud and avoid early or late hours when it would be difficult to watch above.

They then worked non-stop for the rest of the day to fully open the cave entrance. It required crawling on hands and knees for several meters before reaching a larger descending corridor in the rock. A drop-in door of plywood and braces was fitted tightly into the opening and camouflaged with branches. Tomorrow would be the first day of cave exploration.

David could only guess how difficult it would be to reach the chambers they searched. They had no idea as to the narrowness or steepness of the corridors, nor the hazards they would encounter. It would be necessary to use every precaution to preserve murals and artifacts. Thankfully he could see that Raphael and his son had good caving experience. Hopefully the round trip to and from the chambers could be completed in a day. Over-night camping would be tedious.

What of Jules and Arnaud? Would they try to steal into the caves? The slide, although not provable in a court of law, showed they were willing to use violence and search for artifacts at any cost. Then there was the issue of whose property contained the cave. David felt out of his league. It was not worth risking life and limb versus two obsessed men. They had exhibited an uncanny ability to be one step ahead of him.

Ultimately he wanted to return home to his wife, Francine. He had no illusions of settling in France, despite his parents' history and his love for this area. His goal would be to vacation here with Francine, share his family roots and hopefully his cave with prehistoric art opened to the public. They could have a new second family here with newfound partners, Raphael and Michel.

With this thought the excitement hit him. They were close now and had accomplished much in a short time. He would work with Raphael and Michel to find the first chamber of prehistoric art. The Pech Merle experts would then be called in. Raphael and Michel could catalogue the findings and continue exploration while David could leave France satisfied that the dream was being pursued. It was time to buckle down and make it happen. His father's dream was now his, and they would beat Jules and Arnaud in the process. David turned over. "Yes," he murmured, "we can do it." It wasn't long before sleep found him.




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