+ go back to previous scene and introduce prusiks
+ explain J.J’s rock wedge and effect on stone door


Ramsden was in the zone. Numbers, formulas and bits of information he had read here or there swam before his eyes. He could see the parts floating there waiting for him to rearrange them in the correct order. An order that would unlock what he had been searching for his entire adult life to that point. But a voice kept interrupting him. J.J.’s words broke through his thoughts.

“What did you say?” Ramsden asked annoyed.

‘Hurry and make it quick,” J.J. said. “Somethings going on up top and I need to check on Marion.” J.J. shuffled from foot to foot, looking back and forth between Ramsden and the tunnel beyond.

“Go. We’ll be fine here.” J.J. hesitated.

“Seriously, what’s the worse that could happen?” Ramsden said with a smile. J.J. gave him a flat look, then took off at jog back the way they had come.

“J.J. tends to have a good nose for when you’re about to get yourself in trouble. Maybe we should wait,” Silvia said as she packed the laptop back into Jude’s pack. Jude moved back towards the doorway as he worked at setting up a tripod with video camera. He still had the digital camera dangling from a strap around his neck.

“Sometimes he worries too much like Marion,” Ramsden said with a chuckle. Silvia considered this then nodded in agreement. She carefully took the digital camera from around Jude’s neck and went to stand on the opposite side of the doorway from him, against the far wall. Ramsden took a position in the center of the domed room.

“What’s exactly supposed to happen?” Jude asked as he added a fixed light that shone on Ramsden’s back, illuminating the rest of the room.

“Just a sec,” Ramsden said as he stared off into nowhere trying to figure out the order he so desperately looked for.  I think this is it. This should open the portal. But where? And the pictograph from this room mentioned colors in the description. What would colors have to do with the portal? No time to worry about that now, I’m too close.

“Well Jude, the goal is that if I can speak the right words in the right order, combined with the mathematical symbols that correspond at the right time — similar to notes of music on a staff line — we should open a doorway to someplace else.”

“Doorway to where?” Jude asked as he gave a thumbs up that the camera was rolling.

“Hehe. That’s a great question,” Ramsden said nervously, then jumped right in.

Ramsden took a deep breath and focused on envisioning all the parts of the formula floating together. He began to mumble softly near incomprehensible words as his hands drew invisible lines in the air before him. He could feel a tingling up his spine and goosebumps broke out all over his body. His short cropped hair began to stand on end as if he were statically charged. Nothing else but his soft voice filled the small space. It felt like he was being stretched like a rubber band then slowly released again. As his body rebounded on itself he did all he could to avoid the sense of vertigo as he kept connecting the words in his mind with the lines he drew in the air in front of him.

“Oh my,”Silvia said. Ramsden nearly lost his concentration when he too noticed glowing lines appearing in the air where his hands had drawn a moment before. The light was a brighter yellow than the white light cast by Jude’s camera lamp. The trails of yellow continued like the remnant of sparklers on Fourth of July. The light would fade as he completed a line then restart on the new line.

Soon a pinpoint of magenta was floating in front of Ramsden where his drawn lines intersected. The pinpoint grew to the size of a golf ball. It’s working! Oh my! The energy flowing through me! Out of me?

This last part Ramsden noticed in horror as the walkies squawked with the frantic voice of J.J., “Get up here now. Something’s happened to Marion.”

What to do? Its right there. J.J. is capable he can handle it. I must finish! This could change everything for all mankind.

Ramsden pushed on, ignoring the voices of Silvia and Jude who were concerned and saying somewhere in the background that they should go see what’s wrong with Marion. Just a bit more of himself, thought Ramsden. When the kaleidoscope of magenta before him grew to the size of an orange, the center began to separate. An inner ring of blue began to expand within the thicker ring of magenta. That is when a torrent of water shot through the back side of the thing Ramsden had been forming. The jet of water like from a fireman’s hose nearly hit Silvia as she ducked out of the way. Water burst up and down and to the side of the wall where it hit. Ramsden stopped immediately what he was doing, but the rings kept expanding. The larger the object the more water shot out of the side opposite where Ramsden had summoned it.

“Ramsden grab that tripod, we must go!” Jude yelled at him as he pulled on a stunned Ramsden. What is this? It’s open, but what is going on.

The water was filling the room. Ramsden was shocked by the cold creeping up his legs as the water rushed past his calves. Turning he could see Silvia and Jude already down the hall. Their lights bobbing as they made their way. The flare near his feet that J.J. had originally thrown into the domed room sputtered and died under the water. Ramsden turned, grabbed up the battery powered light and tripod and used hit to see his way down the tunnel as he after the others.

*    *    *

Ramsden skidded to a halt as he approached the ropes at the cave’s entrance. Water was gushing all around him as it flowed freely up to his waist now. The portal must have grown to where it’s pumping out thousands of gallons a second. Dropping the lamp and tripod he watched as the water washed the equipment over the edge into the trees below. His fingers slipped as he tried to grab the ropes. The rope ladder swung precariously. Holding the rope he leaned out and looked up as Silvia and Jude struggled to race up the rope ladder at the same time. His face was filled with rain run off as the torrential rains had started up again.

Stepping back into the cave, Ramsden still wearing the harness, hooked the rope into the carbines. One good tug to test and he let the current of water coming from the domed room shoot him out as he swung his legs to carry him to the side of the cave.  His momentum took him to the right of the cave and he landed with feet on the soft mountainside, his feet sliding in the mud.

Rams found the waiting prusiks and pushed the top prusik up the rope as far as he could. Then he sat on the this prusik. He slide up the unweighted, bottom prusik, and stood to extend his food in the foot loop. He then slid up the now unweighted top prusik, and repeated the process. It was taxing work in the rain with wet gear and water cascading into his eyes nonstop.

I don’t have the strength. What happened? I’ve done this a hundred times, but I feel like I’ve been starving myself for a week and have no energy. I need to keep going though. I can’t stop.

Several minutes later the flat of their path met him as he pulled himself hand over hand through the mud and away from the edge. He lay there a minute the dim sound of voices cutting through the downpour. I’m so exhausted. But I need to know. . .

His thoughts trailed off as he rolled himself over with a groan and leaned over the edge to look down at the outcropping. A huge flow of water flew out of the cave opening, the water crushing the trees directly below the cave. Ramsden rolled back over to where the voices were coming from. What? Why is J.J. performing CPR on Marion?

Ramsden passed out.