Eagle Rock

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Eagle Rock

 

© 2021 by Jim Shipp

 

No one knew who first found Eagle Rock, but it had been a favorite camping spot for local kids as long as anyone could remember.

These spontaneous outings usually occurred on a Saturday night, long after the sun had set. Boys, at least half a dozen in number, would jump into their various ragtag jalopies and take a side road off the main highway atop Hartselle Mountain until they came to an ancient wagon trail, barely discernible, that wound its way through the woods to a small clearing on a craggy hillside. There, they parked in the trees, built a fire, and unloaded their scant equipment, which usually consisted of an old quilt, a canteen full of Hi-C orange drink or a similar thirst-quencher, a flashlight, and perhaps a hatchet or a knife.

Like as not, early Sunday morning, they would seek out the cave that was known to exist there and squeeze their way through its tiny opening for a few hours of underground exploration. The cave itself was actually quite expansive, with sheer precipices, subterranean pools, and long winding passages, some of them just tall enough to be traversed on the belly.

One particular morning, a bunch of us entered the cave and negotiated its circuitous corridors for quite some time. The last half of our spelunk was spent trying to find our way out, to no avail. The group’s mood grew increasingly grim, if not desperate, as our flashlights began to falter.

We stopped in a small chamber to discuss our situation and what could have been a calamitous decision was made. Half the group would continue along the current route and half would climb up to another level a dozen or so feet above. I was in the ascending group. We scaled the wall and began squirming along the enclosed upper ledge. The main group kept circling around on the lower course, and some time later, we miraculously came down right on top of them, just as someone below us yelled “I see a light!”.

Despite many hours under the ground, we emerged just five hundred yards from where we went in.

The sky never looked so blue and the air never smelled so fresh.


Submitted: October 28, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Jim Shipp. All rights reserved.

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