The Empty City, Part Two

The Hidden

Dr Carrington tried to place the strange hieroglyphs to anything he had seen before. From any other culture but so far he was at a loss. The strange swirling patterns showed some sort of intelligence and the fact that some symbols repeated themselves showed that this was indeed some sort of language. He shook his head in frustration and looked further down the path. The giant walls of the mesa blocked out the already dwindling sunlight and he could feel the air cooling rapidly, he would need to find shelter quick. He shambled forward along the path and quickly came across more of the strange tombstones, as if they were some sort of mile markers that one would find on the outskirts of a city, He had hoped this was the case as the pain in his foot was reaching a screaming pitch and if it weren’t for his curiosity he would be completely awash in pain.

The Path began to get narrower and soon the walls were rubbing up agains the good doctors shoulders giving him nasty scrapes when he became to carless with his meandering. he now had to turn side on and shimmy through the crack which seemed to be getting thiner and thiner. He could see markings on the wall directly in front of his face telling him that indeed something was this way. The doctors mind began reeling at what possiblilities waited further down, would there be anything at all?. Finally it seemed that the crack had stopped, above him the two walls of the crack had joined and become soild mesa wall, only a small child sized hole was remaining at the bottom. he could feel air blowing from the otherside telling him that whatever soace was in there was large enough to generate a strong breeze. here he faced a dilema. the Plane radioed its last position before going down and burning, should he stay just in the mesa’s crack if the Royal airforce sends its pilots from Cairo to look form him or should he indulge his curiosity. It kgnawed at him, the idea of something unseen on the otherside of this limestone wall, would this lead him some sort of unexplained tomb? This could be his legacy, this could be his new tale of daring adventure. He took a deep breath in and struggled down to a crouching poisition. his bundled up frame struggling to compress itself to a size small enough for the hole. he sent his legs out in front of him and let them pass through the hole. he was kicking his legs to find some sort of footing, a ledge to stabilisr himself perhaps but he found nothing but air. he slid his back along the ground forcing his torso through the hole until only his head reamind. still tring to find a footing, something on the other side to hold. thenhis weight made the decision for him and he fell through the hole into the other side.

The air was russing past him and for a brief moment he was in free fall when he crashed into what felt like hay and loose sticks. laying there for a few moments trying to collect his thoughts as the wind had been knocked out of him. he glaced up and could see the hole, it was perhaps ten meters above him on the wall, but where was he?. The doctor sat up, he appeared to been in some sort of room, the walls seemed to be made of compreesed and dried mud like one would find in the older parts of Cairo and there was a few pots and wooden debrie scattered around. he figure he had crash landed in someones house!. The doctor got to his feet in case the occupants or some other witness to the fall came running and he tried to make hiself look as presentable as possible, but curiously noone came. He slowly walked to what looked like a door, it was made of planks of wood lashed together with no door handle, he stood at the door and listend for a moment. All he could hear was a low howling of the wind, peaking through the planks of the door he could make out a roough street and what apeared to be another house on the other side. taking in a deep breath he placed his hand on the door and pushed it open into the street. He was standing in a narrow lane, four meters wide with bulidings on both sides, looking down the lane he could see that buildings went further into a great mass of them, towerering ever higher, some higher then what he had seen in london, all apearing to be made out of the same compressed dried mud as the building he had exited. He had to collect his thoughts, for when he faced the way he came, he could see the hole he fell through, the walls of the masa stretching out in both directions until they disapered from veiw. but oposite the wall, the city towered ahead, possibly hundreds of kilometers ahead. it made no sense, they would of seen this large habitation from the sky, and surely a city this large would of had some sort of radio and heard their distress calls. He couldnt belive it, the city ahead of him rivaled New York in size, yet there was one, glaring, strage, and imideate diffrence. The city was completely silent. the whole area infact, you could hear a pin drop and indeed the most notable sound that the doctor could hear was the sound of his heart beating. He called out into the distance, a long bellowing hello followed by a request for help. nothing, and even more eriely, his voice made no echo in the massive space. The light here was dwindleing, the sun going just over the horrizon now bathing the world in a dark almost blue hue. he would have to find someone, his foot was screaming in pain still and he was starving and thirsty. a battle of curiosity, fear and survival insticts where raging inside him, he glanced back to the hole he fell through, the house, if it were a house, that he crashed into, and the street that stretchout toward the large and towering city. Deducing that he would have a better chance in a large urban area he lumbered off toward the city.

The going was getting slower and the light fading. on the walls of the buildings lay dry torches so he grabbed one and using his lighter created both a source of warmth and light. Moving down the lane in the near dark with the light flickering off the surroundings, the cold and silent surroundings made him feel the sort of fear one has as a child, the light playing tricks on him as the dancing flame of the torch cast up almost moving shadows around him. Looking around he still could see no sign of human habitation, other than the buildings around him, no signs, no street litter, nothing. as if some great culture had built a city with the intention of filling it with people later and just not getting around to it. he stopped for a moment, he had reached a intersection, his light not strong enough to make out anything in any direction. He slowed his breathing, forcing himself back into the scientific mindset. Maybe its inhabitants left following a plague, maybe they were conquered, maybe the city used up its resources and its people had to flee taking all their possessions with them. All the deductions and calculations running through his mind, when suddenly, a sound that evokes the primal sense of unease was conjured up from the shadows to his left. a low grating noise that could be misconstrued as breath. His attention immediately drawn to it, he whipped his head in the direction of the sound and he thought for a moment his eyes played tricks on him. For a brief flash he saw what he thought was a tall figure, around ten meters from him, and standing at three meters tall wearing a long cloak. the image was there for a second before it seemed to melt away into the blackness. His hear racing he called out into the dark, once , twice, several times. but nothing replied to him. thoroughly shaken he quickly turned and headed in the other direction, unsure if he was still heading to the centre of the city. He was trying to piece together the apparition in his head but each time he tried it seemed to melt away, as if even in his mind it was ethereal. slowly his scientific mind came to its senses, a trick of the light mixed with a tired and dehydrated brain, he thought as he confidently trudged on, then the low scraping breathing noise came again, from behind him, closer, and seemingly gaining on him…….

To be continued

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