((Photo credit to Glamhag))
Knife glinting with the torchlight in one hand, the burning branch in the other, I walked down the tunnel. The floor was smooth after a point, which indicated that the tunnel had been much used, or man-made. Or, perhaps, both.
I followed it cautiously, remembering that I needed to think of not only myself, but my sister as well.
The light grew. It wasn’t a light I had ever seen before. It played off the walls of the cave with a purple dance that made me halt to watch it. It seemed to condense into figures, familiar figures though it felt like it had been an eternity.
The scene, pulled from purple light, began with a room. A man was sitting by a bedside, putting a hand to his wife’s forehead. He shook his own head. He left that room (which disappeared as he moved) and stood under a tree, smoking. In silence, a bird flew into the tree above him and he appeared to watch it. The man went back into his house and stood in front of four children. Each of these he sent out in turn.
The scene melted, then was reconstructed into the man’s bedroom again. Several people stood around the bed now, one a doctor. He was busy talking to the man as the others placed flowers on a table and held the woman’s hand as she remained motionless aside from the slight heaving of her chest for breathing.
I jumped as a creaking old voice said, “You shall not watch any longer.”
I whirled around. A bent old woman was standing there, staring at me with flat blue eyes. Stupidly, for I was too startled to think of anything else, I asked, “Why?”
She replied in a voice that sounded like a thousand creaking hinges, “What right do you have to the future, you who are going to live it? You may have the past and the present, unless you wish to trade them for something, but you cannot have the future. Not yet.”