The initial tunnel is dark, but mercifully short. We soon enter a larger space, larger even than the antechamber where Hal and Marian wait for our return.
It is an eye-opener, this space. Somewhere there must be gaps in the rock, for there is light. Not sufficient to live naturally in, but certainly enough for us to see each other by.
Kay puts a finger to his lips and points. Footprints in the dust; small prints to fit those of a boy.
The space is otherwise clear. Once this is done with, it will be a good idea to move everyone here. First, though, this terrible mission must be done with. I do not like it; I wish I am elsewhere.
Two rock arches opposite reveal there are other spaces. The prints lead to both. Shrugging, Kay heads to the one on the right; a process of elimination.
The cave beyond is a warren of nooks and niches, almost as if someone long ago carved out sleeping spaces for a host. It is empty, though. Staring at the recesses, I know we will be moving in. It is too practical to ignore.
We move back to the large space and take to the left arch.
And there a massive astonishment awaits us. I gasp, for my surprise is too great to contain. Kay whistles and comes to a halt.
“By the sands, this I never expected,” he utters.
Not in twenty lifetimes, no. This is true beauty; it is inspiration and it is life-giving. Here we will survive as long as we need to, until safety returns to the world.
A glorious sapphire lake is bathed in yellow light. Emerald fronds waves in a soft breeze from damp ledges. A pristine white beach arcs around to the left, while beautiful trees in full foliage overlook the waters from the right.
By the stars, this is magical.