Lost In An Endless Night Part 1
I walked about halfway down the center hall squinting at elaborate wall carvings, but decided to stop. It must be getting late. I'd better not get too interested right now. I could always come back. I turned back and thought I might take a glance down the other two rooms on my way out.
But I couldn't get out of this ballroom
or whatever it was. I walked back to a solid wall of the dark stone, great solid blocks of it. There was no exit there. I must have taken a wrong turn, more like, missed the way out. I retraced my steps squinting in the mistiness, but could find no other entry or exit. That way was now solid rock, not manmade stone, but natural rugged gray rock
And the ballroom wasn't as long as it had appeared. It was shorter and narrowed down toward the end. In this dimness that would account for the illusion of length. As I got closer I noticed rock on the end wall. Not rock, a giant door. I turned and could see nothing the way I had come. But that was the direction I had come from, I was sure. I walked that way and found a solid wall. No exit. I examined the wall up close, as best I could. It was completely natural rock and seemed closer than when I had come in. Why closer?
I was disturbed at thinking that I could be so wrong and had a bad vibe about the total expanse of giant rock that was now a wall where I thought the entrance was. Where I knew the entry was. More than disturbed, this was strange enough to send a small thrill down my spine. You're a scientist, you fool. No thrills down your spine. There's the door. On the wrong end of the room, but that's obviously your way out.
My best move was to get a grip on myself, calm down. I didn't feel good about this. The day had started out well enough for one that marked a big change in my life. My reflection in the dressing table mirror seemed to say it's time to look back and ahead and to asses. The comb and hair brush were still in my hands as I stared into the glass. Not a bad looking guy, dark hair freshly brushed, a bit of gray at the temples, the somewhat long face with its tennis tan, the serious expression more curious than challenging. Free and fortyfive years old. Pretty young. With all my hair, fit condition and that tennis tan. Wealthy now, too, with a challenging tennis match for tomorrow and a 10k run for Sunday. Funny, how my business was so technologically advanced and precise, yet thoughts of my coming free time took me back to antiquity and prehistoric ages.
But standing in the near dark and reminiscing about long ago wasn't going to solve my immediate problem. Archaeology had always been an interest, but reading about how fossils went back hundreds of thousands of years and were found at various depths below today's surface captured my imagination. The layers of the world's succeeding ages lay one atop the other. And the leftovers of those ages, the fossils, were buried in the layers. What were the layers called again? Strata or striations? Something like that. How old could fossils be? Like the ones Leakey discovered in Africa. Older than civilizations like Egypt and China and Sumer. What was there to find from millions of years ago? Fossils were a good place to start.
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