Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write in the SCIENCE FICTION genre (05/10/07)
TITLE: Echoes of Earth
By Myrna Noyes
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At first all had gone well, but the deeper he’d tunneled, the more he began to notice a certain mental agitation and lack of focus. Nevertheless he forged ahead, his head lamp lighting the way. Eventually, he wiggled through a small opening to find himself in an enormous cavern. He blinked. He rubbed his eyes and shook his head as he leaned against the entry wall. As through a parting mist, a scene unfolded before him. Thick, acrid smoke; thunderous booms; and cries of uniformed men assaulted his senses. Vehicles he recognized as ancient tanks lumbered past emitting fiery explosions. One young man fell right at his feet, blood spurting from a wound, his face contorted in horror.
“I’ll help you!” Jerikoh heard himself scream, tearing off his shirt to staunch the crimson fountain. He pressed the fabric to the wound, but his hand passed clear through the body to the ground. Jerikoh recoiled in fear as if he’d received a snakebite. He saw another soldier crouched behind some bushes and ran up to him, shouting and gesturing toward the fallen man, but the soldier’s eyes looked straight through him. Jerikoh realized he was not only invisible to these people but that everything here was without solid form or substance. He walked unhindered through objects as if they weren’t there at all. When the realization sank in that all he could do was passively watch the gruesome activity, he wriggled back through the entrance hole and fled the cave in panic.
Hurrying back to the research headquarters, he began talking aloud in an attempt to calm himself down. “Maybe there wasn’t enough oxygen in that cave, and I was hallucinating. There’s no need to mention this to anyone. I just need to be more careful next time I go exploring.”
Several days passed, and Jerikoh busied himself with plant experiments they were conducting to see what would grow in this barren, dusty area. He forced himself to concentrate solely on data gathering.
One morning, a fellow researcher tapped him on the shoulder as he worked in the greenhouse. “Hey, Jerikoh, Dr. Mikel wants you to head out this afternoon and do some more cave mapping. Can you leave right after lunch?”
His heart skipped a couple beats, but his face registered no unusual emotion. “Sure, Tryten. I’ll get my instruments and an oxygen pack ready as soon as I finish here.”
After the meal, he made his way across the rock-strewn plain toward the same cave. Apprehension nibbled at his mind, but he shoved it aside. I have an important job to do that requires all my energies. Besides, I was just imagining things last time.
Pushing through the cavern opening, it was as if a fog was again lifting before him revealing another scene. Is this some kind of desert mirage? Lush grasses carpeted the ground, graceful waterfalls cascaded into fish-filled pools, butterflies and birds flitted past, multi-colored flowers and fruit trees blossomed. A small, bushy-tailed mammal scampered along a tree branch above. Peace and serenity reigned in this oasis of sunshine, warmth, and light breezes. He wandered enraptured for several hours, seeing many animals but no humans.
Back at the research station, he sought out Dr. Mikel and told him what had transpired in the cave on both visits.
“Jerikoh, you’ve had an extremely uncommon experience. At certain seasons, when atmospheric electrical disturbances are intense, and you’re in a place of high mineral and water content, odd occurrences are known to happen. Within our genes are embedded memories, passed on to us by our Earth ancestors, but rarely recognized in our conscious minds. You were in the right place at the right time for these “Earth echoes” to be mentally accessed. First, you visualized an ancient memory of 20th century war. The other conceivably goes back much further to a legendary place known in religious tales as Eden.”
That night, Jerikoh hunted out his grandfather’s old Bible and began to read, “In the beginning God created...”
He paused. Was that another faint echo he sensed?
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