Sorry for the lateness of this upload! I finally had to change to a new computer- and after a good ten years on my old one I’ve got SOOO much stuff to transfer and work through. Now, let’s get back to Ally and Eoin! Here is Chapter Eight 🙂 Please remember this is a rough draft, and as the author I own FULL copyright to it. This work may not be copied/shared in any manner other than a link to this blog. Thanks and enjoy!
A cupboard in the short hallway between the main room and bedroom quarters revealed exciting contents when Ally discovered it. Torches, like nothing she’d ever seen before, and various kits – according to their labels. A first aid kit, an exploratory kit, a mechanics kit, and several other all carefully slotted into narrow shelves that could be dragged up or down, conveyor belt style, to an easy height. There were far more shelves than the height of the door, vanishing high within the wall. Ally tried to wedge her head alongside to see, but it was a tight seal, nothing visible.
Ignoring the kits for the moment she turned her attention to the torches, ears pricking when Eoin muttered away to himself in the main room. She was done with study for the time being, she wanted to stretch her legs, to explore the jungle. That word twigged in her mind and she reached up, pulling the shelves down until the exploratory kit came into view. Sliding it out the shelf, she set it by her feet then returned to examining the torch.
Ally knew it was a torch from the label, but without that label she’d never have recognized it. Palm sized, curved but thin and molded in a diamond shape. Lifting it, she turned it this way and that, trying to understand how it worked. Holding it close to her chest, she attempted to twist it to see if it opened. A hum vibrated through her hands and an instant later the device flattened against her chest. With a gasp of surprise she tried to tug it off but it didn’t budge, fixed firmly to her shirt. Running her fingers over it, Ally triggered something, making it hum again then a sphere of light appeared before her. A smile of thrilled delight flashed across her face as she realised that this was the torch. Hurrying to the bedroom quarters, she deactivated the lights. The sphere of light projected at the perfect height, illuminating the room to a level comparable to the normal lighting. Satisfied, she left the room and grabbed the exploratory kit which was handily contained in a simple backpack. Rummaging through the contents she decided they should suffice her intent and without calling out to Eoin, not interested in debating whether or not she should, climbed the stairs and exited the lab.
Walking the tunnel toward the hole Ally threw her shoulders back and breathed deep. The air in the lab must be recycled she realised while relishing the fresh crisp air in the open tunnel. The tunnel seemed shorter now she knew the way and what to expect and when she reached the end rain drizzled down lightly, dampening everything. Staying in the shelter of the tunnel for the moment, she removed the backpack and squatted down to rummage through it. First she removed some basic climbing equipment, ropes, a harness and the smallest carabiners she’d ever seen. Close examination suggested they might be made of the same titanium alloy as the tunnel and lab. Ally nodded in approval. Next she removed a small parcel that when opened unfolded to a good size parka with a neat hood and front pocket. Shrugging this on, she climbed into the harness and fastened it firm around the waist and not too firm around her thighs. Swinging the backpack back on, she carried a rope in one hand then after studying the height of the hole slung the rope to rest around her neck. Reaching up, getting a good hold of a deep thick root, Ally looked for her next hold and with a grunt of effort lifted herself up.
It wasn’t the easiest climb, with chunks of dirt vanishing beneath her hands and feet as she fought for a hold but inch by inch she edged her way up. Finally she reached the top and with a groan of relief rolled herself over to the jungle floor.
The rain misted softly through gaps in the canopy and the whole jungle was a symphony of rain. Plunking through leaves, softly splattering to the soft floor, plinking off branches and dripping with a constant staccato echo. Catching her breath, Ally sat up with her face tilted high, enjoying the fresh coolness of the rain that helped to smother the heavy humidity. The sounds of the rain and the chattering birds as they scarpered amongst the canopy and branches, some venturing lower to hunt water logged insects on the thick leaf matter of the jungle floor provided a much needed reprieve from the constant hum of electricity in the laboratory. The tension that had drawn tight lines across Ally’s shoulders and down her spine slowly dissipated as her senses adjusted to this peaceful space. Pushing to her feet, brushing off the dirt and leaves she’d accumulated, Ally lifted the coil of rope from around her neck and began examining the edge of the sink hole. It took several turns around the perimeter before she spotted the right place. A heavy root that connected to a large tree some distance away crept over the edge of the hole, creating the perfect concealment. Crouching to rummage through the pack, Ally removed two larger carabiners and a curious looking metal pin. The pin when twisted opened to create an anchor. With some wangling she managed to force the pin deep into the underside of the thick root and opened it, so it held solidly. The two carabiners and the length of rope were contrived to create an easy method of exiting the hole and Ally let the length of moss green rope tuck beneath a couple of the long trailing vines that she repositioned down the hole. Standing back, she rubbed her palms against her pants, leaving muddy smears as she cocked her head, studying to see if her work was easily visible. After checking from several angles, she was satisfied that only she should be able to pick it out.
Grabbing the pack from where it sat beneath a low bush, partially shielded from the rain, Ally groped for the kit. All fitted tidily into a thin metal box, lengths of incredibly fine thread were neatly wound in figure eight loops. Taking a skein of the thread, Ally paced out a large ring around the hole, carefully setting out a large trip wire. She made sure to keep it low, almost as low as the dense soft ground cover. If someone stepped into it they would likely shake their foot loose without too much examination with so many vines and roots everywhere. With the wire in place, Ally opened the kit again and removed a tiny homing device. It looked like a small silver ball with a protruding tab. Holi had explained to Ally that when the tab was removed, the device would begin to emit a silent frequency that she could track. Designed for use as an emergency beacon, the device would make the perfect trigger. Quickly and tightly Ally fastened the beacon into the trip wire. As soon as someone connected with it they would know about it back in the lab, giving them a bit of time. Taking another skein of thread, testing it between her hands to check its strength, Ally created another trip wire in a different area. In all she arranged eight separate wires, hopefully any approaching humans would hit at least one of them.
Rising to standing after setting the last beacon in place, Ally tipped her head back, enjoying breathing deep for a few moments while listening to the sounds. Bird and animal cry all sounded normal, the occasional urgent cries punctuating the peace as something was hunted. Walking to the edge of the hole, carefully stepping over the wires on the way, Ally heaved a sigh of regret as she located the rope and made her way back down to the tunnel.