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PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2004 12:27 am 
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Here's Chapter 16. :) There's several things to blame for the two-week delay in the release of this chapter, but things have somewhat settled down to the point where I can finally get mindset back into the continuation and completion of the story for the readers, so hopefully you won't have to be waiting too long anymore for future chapters in the story! :) Anyway, feel free to read the Prologue, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 10, Chapter 11, Chapter 12, Chapter 13, Chapter 14, and Chapter 15 beforehand. Anyway, enjoy! :D


Chapter 16: The Cave

The jeep rumbled and bounced, the jungle passing by on both sides. Moore had driven back toward the garage area, and from there Anne had gotten lost. She though they were going to drive right by the raptor pen, but it appeared there had been a backroad.

Simon Fox explained from the passenger’s seat after Anne had asked about it. “We need to go to the north, north-west area of the island. That part of the island wasn’t much used because the land wasn’t too stable enough for what they were doing, I assume. But InGen did have one or two maintenance roads, including the one we’re on now, that traveled along the west rim of the island.”

Anne had let the words slip from her mind after hearing them, her slight bit of curiosity quenched. Her gaze had returned to the jungle going by to her right, before Lisa whispered, “Anne.”

She turned her head, quickly glimpsing a small, yellow camera held up in her cousin’s fingers before there was a click. Lisa said, “Least you could’ve done was smile.”

“Least you could’ve done was not taken the picture.”

Lisa gave a short laugh, before looking down at the camera in her hands as she rolled the film to ready for the next shot.

-----

Not only had Anne lost where they were going, she hadn’t bothered to check time either. It had seemed pretty quick by the time she realized they weren’t on any road anymore, and that the trees had begun to clear out, allowing Moore to maneuver through.

Fox said from the front seat: “Up ahead. Off to the right a bit.”

Anne tried to see what was ahead by straining to view out the front window, because her side window didn’t restrained her from it. The ground had become somewhat rockier, and she could see the transition the jungle had made as it began to clear out.

The jeep turned right—a tree coming within a foot of her side as it did—before rumbling further. “Almost there.”

The area they were in now appeared to be shaded, and they passed a large, sleek rock. Moore slowed down, turning left, and let the gas dwindle as the jeep edged forward, before finally coming to a stop.

“We’re here,” Fox said.

David quickly got out on his side, and Moore left the keys resting in the ignition. Lisa slid over and got out on David’s side, and Anne and Fox got out simultaneously. Fox was carrying a trail backpack, which he slung over his shoulders as he got out.

She heard the crunch of rocks beneath her, and she saw that much of the area around them was quite rocky. Many of the larger rocks were slick, seemingly jagged, but there was just a little plant life growing.

Nearby, another jeep was parked next to the open mouth of a cave. The jeep was somewhat identical, only a severely deep shade of green and without the large modified box in the back. Rather, it was a closed trunk that rounded up slightly.

“Where are they,” Lisa asked, but Anne thought she already knew the answer.

Neither Simon Fox or Andrew Moore answered Lisa’s question. Moore hustled toward the other jeep, followed by Fox. Anne caught a quick glimpse of David leaning back against the side of the jeep she had gotten out of, quiet.

Moore opened the trunk of the second jeep, reaching in and pulling out a large assault rifle. Lisa took a step back, “Whoa.”

Moore found an extra clip and quickly loaded the weapon, doing a quick practice aim toward a rock nearby before holding it down at his side, strapped over one shoulder.

Lisa had had her curiosity perked. “They went in the cave, then? You guys are going in?”

Fox had climbed into the second jeep moments before, appearing outside as Lisa asked her questions with some sort of handgun. They really were prepared.

As Moore closed the lid of the trunk, Anne could see there was another rifle, maybe more, lined up inside, ready to quickly be removed.

Fox cleared his throat. “David, I believe you’re going to come with us for a few minutes.” He reached inside the jeep again, pulling out another handgun that he lightly tossed to David.

Fox began to speak again, this time with his eyes on Lisa. “Remember the rules. Don’t follow; just wait here for us to return.”

Lisa nodded. “Why are they in there?”

“They may have documented a species that retreated into the caves, or wanted to have a look at the special geological features that are present in this region of the island, because it is significantly different, as you can see. Further north there is some more somewhat volcanic activity, but it’s nothing serious.”

“Why are you taking guns?”

“Protection,” Fox said. “In the event something goes wrong, which I doubt, we’re ready.”

“Protection from what?”

“Raptors,” Anne said, letting it slip from her mouth.

Fox laughed, his eyes sweeping onto her. “I highly, highly doubt it. There’s no evidence that any raptor could’ve survived. Every single one was eradicated.”

Moore nudged the assault rifle, pointing it toward the mouth of the cave. “We should get moving.”

David had avoided looking at either Anne or Lisa, instead slowly following Fox and Moore into the darkness of the cave. As soon as they had entered, it seemed they were gone.

-----

“I wish I could get in there.”

It had been several minutes since the three men had departed into the cave, and Lisa was sitting at the edge of the back row of the jeep they had arrived in, hanging her legs out of the open door. Anne stood nearby, periodically looking at the cave’s entrance.

“Just a couple of pictures. It can’t hurt. I mean, come on! What’s the point of having cameras if I can’t use them?”

“Obviously your friends didn’t feel like taking them inside.”

“Because I’m sure the others have already gotten enough pictures.”

Anne moved to the door entrance. “Don’t you find it just a bit odd that that jeep is here? You’d think at least one of these two guys would’ve been waiting for us to arrive, especially if they needed those three’s help.”

“Well…”

“Not to mention the fact they took in weapons. That shows they’re afraid of something.”

“Well, of course. I mean, would you go into a cave on a place like this without some sort of protection?”

“You said yourself that there was nothing to worry about, Lisa. Only a couple of predatory species here, and none of them are Velociraptor.”

Lisa shook her head. “You know what?”

“What?”

“You’re afraid. You’re afraid that for some reason I was going to go through what you had to. That’s why you came. To protect me. Yet, here we are, safe. You’re not alone, I’m not alone. We’re protected.” Lisa said. “Don’t forget, what you seem to be so worried about has no proof to even still exist anymore on this island! But you still worry. Get over it Anne.”

Anne had been taken aback. Her cousin was telling her to get over the past, especially when she was facing it again? No, she better not be. She never had to go through any of that. If she only knew what being in a place like this could stir up inside. Those memories, those emotions.

“You just don’t understand, Lisa.”

“No, I think I understand. You can’t let it go, so you’re going to continue to worry about something that will never happen instead of understanding the truth.”

Anne looked away, rolling everything Lisa had said in her head. Did she want to believe there was no more danger? Yes. Did she want to believe that they were safe? Yes. I thought that then…So many times, and yet every time I thought it was over—that I was out of trouble, even for the moment—it seemed something always went wrong.

“I’m sorry if you think you understand Lisa. You can think you do, but…”

Lisa sighed. “I’ll prove it to you.”

“What?”

“I’ll prove to you that if I can go in there and take a picture of the group, safe and smiling, then there’s nothing to worry about. If you’re worked up about the possibility of danger being able to overtake complete protection, then I’ll show you that I can waltz right into that cave and return safely with the others.”

Anne didn’t know what to say. She wanted to be proven wrong; that everything was okay. One side of her was even willing to believe that there was hope that they were completely safe. But her other side, the side that forced her to understand false hope, wanted to grab hold of Lisa and tell her never to enter the cave; that they would stand there until Lisa realized the others weren’t coming back so they could drive back to the Visitor’s Center and get help.

Even through that conflict of what to say and what to do, she knew that Lisa had resigned herself to proving Anne wrong. There wouldn’t be a hope of stopping her.

Lisa had opened the backpack she had brought along, which sat on the floor in front of the seat. She reached inside, pulling out one of the disposables. Anne moved her hand and briefly touched the bulge in her pocket where the one Lisa had given her was.

Lisa examined it quickly. “Rolled up already. I think this is the one I used in the jeep.”

“Lisa.”

“It’s got an automatic flash, so I’ll be able to get a shot.” She rummaged through her bag again, and Anne heard the clacking of the disposable cameras rubbing together as Lisa pulled out the set of binoculars she had packed before they had left the control room.

“Bought these back in Costa Rica. Lenses switch between standard day-view and a night-vision lens.” She put the strap over her head, letting the binoculars rest against her.

Lisa pushed herself out of the jeep, causing Anne to step back. Lisa stood, looking at Anne with only several inches apart from the two of them. “I know you want to stop me. I know you’re worried. I just want to help—I just want to show you, that’s all.”

“I know, but…You don’t need to prove me wrong, just stay. I’m fine.”

“No,” Lisa said. “I’m willing to place all bets that you still don’t think I’m right, despite what you say.”

Anne slowly bit the fleshy inside of her lip, contemplating what to say, but Lisa lightly hit her shoulder. “Be right back.”

Lisa moved past her, starting off at a slight jog toward the mouth of the cave. Anne turned, taking several steps after her, but stopped, watching as her cousin entered the cave, soon disappearing in the darkness resting inside.

-----

Anne stood within ten feet of the cave opening. It was about fifteen feet across, and, Anne guessed, around ten feet high. She could see a short way in, which was illuminated by the light from outside, and she could see the curved rock walls of the tunnel stretching into the darkness that the light could not breach.

Here you are girl. Alone in this clearing; alone in front of this cave.

“Lisa,” she called out in a low voice. “Lisa.”

No answer.

A distant memory went through her head. She had been alone before like this. Only that time she had awakened on a beach with no knowledge of where she was or where the others who had been with her had gone. Of course, she had been alone many times before in a place like this, but this memory seemed to ring most clearly now, for she had called out into nothingness for anybody, to no avail. She had been alone.

Here she was again, calling out for someone who was not there, alone again.

“Lisa? Come back.”

Still no answer.

You should’ve gone with her. That way you could’ve seen she was right.

Anne looked toward the black jeep. She hasn’t been in too long. You could still catch her in the dark. Call out for her; she’ll fine you.

“I guess I should,” she whispered. “I’ll come get you Lisa. Getting a bit lonely out here.”

Anne took a deep breath, trying to resign herself to entering the cave. There’s no reason to worry. Maybe Lisa was right. Maybe everyone’s together and having a good laugh somewhere inside and looking forward to coming back out.

Anne nodded to herself, closing her eyes momentarily before stepping into the cave, watching her shadow move across the last section of light before merging with the border of the darkness.

The cave mouth disappeared above her head, instead replaced by the rocky surface of the tunnel, which, like everything else, soon began to fade the further she walked in away from the light.

She felt herself give a slight shake. Being here, she thought, was nothing like the tunnel behind the waterfall. At least she had known where that would lead her.

Not here though.

-----

You’re an idiot.

Anne had lost sight of the light of the tunnel, assuming that quickly the tunnel had bent in some direction.

What if you fall down some hole? Or take some wrong turn and get lost forever? You can’t even see where you’re going!

“Stupid.”

She listened to the echo in the tunnel as her shoe shuffled against several rocks, knocking them across the unseen ground.

“That’ll probably be the last thing you hear when you fall, too,” she muttered in the abyss.

She shuffled her feet forward several more feet. Somewhere she heard the sound of moving rocks, as if something had kicked them like she had done.

She stopped. Oh God. Oh God. I knew this was a stupid idea.

“Ok, time to go back…Time to go back.”

She turned on her heel until she thought she was facing the way she had come, and quickly began to shuffle her way back through the darkness.

She heard the crunch of footsteps around her. They aren’t footsteps. They can’t be.

Her breath was heavy, and as the crunching stopped, something grabbed her shoulder.

She lost control and screamed.

-----

A voice quickly tried to calm her down, but all she wanted to do was keep screaming. The voice seemed distant, but as it called her name, “Anne, Anne,” it was enough of a start to sooth her.

It was Lisa’s voice she heard cutting through the dark, and as Anne’s chest stopped heaving, the unseen hand retracted. “It’s me Anne, it’s alright.”

“Why the hell would you do that? Couldn’t you just say something? God, Lisa!”

Lisa was silent.

“Answer me!”

“I’m sorry, okay? I didn’t mean to scare you. But at least it’s just me, right?”

“That doesn’t matter Lisa!” Anne curled up her fists, ready to swing out at her cousin, whether she missed or not. Right now, despite her love of her cousin, she hated her. Hated her for everything. She was ready to take out her anger.

“I said I’m sorry, alright? Maybe I should just lea—no…No, I won’t.”

“You want to just leave me then? Maybe you should have Lisa. In fact, maybe I should’ve just left you here and not even cared. Let you find out what it’s like to have something happen to you like it happened to me. See how you are in a couple of years!”

“Everything’s fine.”

“No it’s not! Can’t you understand that? We’re not safe! A place like this can’t be safe. It never was, and it never will be. It’s all unpredictable. Why do you think this place became like this in the first place? Nothing was safe, that’s why! Even all the money in the world couldn’t make this place safe, so what makes you think that you are?”

Lisa didn’t reply. “Lisa? Lisa?”

When she finally decided to talk back, she spoke only one word: “Fine.”

“You’ll see.”

Anne heard a quiet sniffle.

Anne shook her head in the dark, not ready to pity her cousin. “Did you find them?”

It took a moment for Lisa to answer. “I think they’re further down in the cave.”

“Alright,” she said. “We’re here, together. If you think you can prove to me that everything’s alright, we’ll continue on together.”

“Okay,” Lisa said quietly, almost in a low whisper.

“You’re the one who can see in the dark, so it’s your lead. Let’s go.”

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2004 12:06 am 
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Keep your eyes peeled over the next couple of days for Chapter 17 - almost through (a few changes being done, too)... :)

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2004 4:38 pm 
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I was going to get Chapter 17 up last night, but I passed out early. :P Check for it later today! :D

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