Archaic Symphony

Brent Scheibelhut

January 14, 2013

Jack hopped into the back of the black sedan. “Which one is it this time?” he asked. “Last week’s dig site” Brennan replied, having to yell over the sound of the subwoofers blaring. “Didn’t we clear that area already?” Jack questioned. “We got a call from one of the maintenance workers who was working out there on the weekend saying he wanted us to come over and take a look at something” Jenny, who was sitting in the front seat of the sedan yelled. Jack nodded and got comfortable, buckling his seat belt as he did so, it was a long ride to Banyon.

Jack’s mind wandered to the events of the past few weeks as the car soared along the eleven highway heading toward Kilauea. Jack was a student at the University of Hawaii, completing his masters in geology. He had started a research position for the summer after Dr. Kiele, his main professor, had offered him a position. For three weeks now they had been studying dig sites all over the big island and writing up reports. Brennan and Jenny were both completing their masters in archeology, this kind of work was more in their field, but Jack didn’t mind. He was just happy to have work for the summer. His parents had been going through a nasty divorce back on Maui, and luckily with this job he didn’t have to travel back there. Just then the car swerved, nailing a pothole and sending Jack and his reminiscing head up into the top of the car.

“What was that?” Jack moaned as he rubbed his hands through his chestnut brown hair, massaging where his head has struck the hood. “Some dumb dog was sleeping in the middle of the road. We’re lucky I have excellent driving skills” Brennan smiled as he said the last part. “Maybe if you didn’t go so fast…” Jenny muttered who was now wide awake after trying to get a little more shut eye before arriving at there destination. “Either of you want to offer to drive?” Brennan asked jokingly, knowing that neither Jenny nor Jack had driver’s licenses. Jenny and Jack both let out an embellished sigh. This was Brennan’s typical response whenever they commented on his driving. “Any idea what’s so important at the old dig site?” Jack asked Brennan, who was now driving with his elbows as he finished up his breakfast. “The worker didn’t say much, something about a cave wall collapsing, he seemed kinda nervous” Brennan answered through mouths of bagel and black coffee. Jack nodded, maybe the worker was just worried about the rest of the cave collapsing on there dig. Jack laid his bruised head back on the headrest and settled in for the last part of the ride.

Jack awoke with the car hitting gravel, turning his head to look out the window. Banyon and Jack and his team called it, was a small canyon, well more of a large hole, beneath the base of Kilauea, composed entirely of the black volcanic rock that still spewed from the volcano. The volcano had long since stopped sending molten rock anywhere near this side of the volcano, so the team had nothing to worry about. The odd thing about Banyon was obviously that it was a canyon. Canyon’s were usually formed by a river running through limestone rock. First of all this was clearly no limestone rock that formed the walls of Banyon, and second there had been no river here for more than 1000 years.

As Brennan turned the car left to head down the extremely narrow road heading to the base of the canyon Jack viewed the walls of the canyon. They resembled a mineral dig site, with the slanting walls dropping level by level, a rounded pyramid upside down Jack thought. The car slowed down as it reached the inner circle of the canyon and pulled up beside a sturdy looking army green tent. Brennan turned off the ignition, hopped out of the car and sprinted to the portable toilet they had set up beside their base tent, “Give me ten!” he yelled back as he slammed the door to the toilet. “So that’s why he was driving so fast” Jenny humorously said to Jack as she hopped out of the car to grab her bag from the back. Jack opened the door and stood up, stretching his arms as he did so. The team had been here a week ago, scouring the area for any material that might help them decipher why this canyon was here. The had tried for three weeks but to know avail and had recently moved on to another dig site on the other side of the volcano.

That site was promising. They had found the remains of an old village that had been situated close to the volcano. It had been buried in ash, a bit like Pompeii, and so far had proved extremely exciting. He hoped this detour to Banyon wouldn’t take to long and they could be on their way. “A little help?” Jenny bemoaned, who had decided to try and carry Jack and Brennan’s bag to the tent as well as her own. Jack took two of the bags and headed into the tent. They had cleaned out the tent before they had left, moving most of there equipment to the new dig site. They had left the tent and the generator there for the maintenance workers. The workers would come and check every few days or so that nothing was out of order on the site. Jack set the bags down in the corner and bent down to opened the bar fridge. “Well the beer’s gone” he stated. “We kinda figured that would happen” Jenny replied offhand. “There was like a two four in here” he mumbled back.

Brennan entered the tent a few moments later as Jenny and Jack were reviewing the log bog for the past week. “Anything interesting?” Brennan asked, buckling up his belt. “Not much, basically what we got from him over the phone, wall collapse and some jazz” Jenny replied. “Why don’t we go check it out then?” Brennan said “The worker isn’t suppose to arrive for another half hour”. Jack and Jenny agreed and the three headed out and started the five minute walk to the dig entrance. “How are you and Maddie doing?” Jack asked Brennan. “Same as usual, she’s thinking about doing her masters” Brennan said. “English, right?” Jack asked “Yah, she starts her internship at Tribune Herald today, she’s going to see how it works out and then decide” Brennan responded. Maddie was Brennan’s long time girlfriend and the past few weeks Jack had been helping Brennan devise proposal strategies. Jenny, who was friends with Maddie, knew none of this, and Jack and Brennan were having trouble keeping it this way. Luckily, Jenny kept quiet through the discourse.

The trio sheltered out of the increasingly warm sun as they entered the cave formations that were scattered across the canyon. Jack’s eyes adjusted to the cool, damp darkness that now enveloped them. Brennan began to lead the group down the tunnel, which the worker had indicated. As they walked Jack brushed his hand over one of the many stalagmites that were distributed over the ground floor of the cave. He received a handful of the sticky, mineral rich water in return, drying his hand on his shirt to relieve himself of it. “Here it is” Brennan said pointing to the obvious pile of stones that has not been there the week before. Jack caught up to Brennan and turned to look at the rock wall where the stones had come off. Newly displayed on the wall was a door of sorts, or at least that’s what Jack thought it looked like. On it were obvious ancient carvings and symbols, both painted and carved into the stone. It was quite beautiful, Jack thought, all though he had not the slightest clue what any of it meant.

“Any ideas” Jack asked Jenny and Brennan who were bent over studying the wall. “I’m pretty sure their Polynesian Hieroglyphics” Brennan said, “Jenny would know more that he said, she specializes in that sort of stuff” he added. Jenny was now tracing here fingers through the carved wall as she mumbled to herself. “Jenny?” Brennan questioned, wondering why she hadn’t responded. “Well…” Jenny said snapping out of her trance, “You were right about Polynesian, although it’s the Hawaiian variant of it” she add. “See here” she said pointing to a drawing of an angry looking face overtop of a volcano erupting. “That’s Pele, that Hawaiian god associated with volcanoes” Jenny excitedly said, adding “And down here at the bottom is the most interesting part”. Brennan and Jack, who were now both involved at this point, looked down at where Jenny was pointing. “Its one of their old puzzles they used to have in their temples.” Jenny said as she started to move sliding blocks around that had been carved out of the rock wall. “Hey!” Brennan exclaimed “I remember these from class, it’s one of those sliding jumbled picture puzzles”. “Exactly”, Jenny murmured as she continually moved the blocks around. “It’s starting to resemble something, a face of some kind” Jack said. “I’m pretty sure it’s Kaulu, their trickster god, but’s it hard to tell at this point” Jenny said ramming another block into place.

As they waited for the puzzle to be completed Jack examined the stone that had come off the wall. Something about it was nagging him but he couldn’t quite place it. “Aha!” Jenny exclaimed as the face of god was no clearly defined from the rock puzzle pieces. Jenny stepped back from the puzzle, admiring her work. “Well” Brennan said “sorta anticlimactic don’t you think?” he joked. Jenny turned to offer a reply, the same instant the wall began to make an ungodly sound as it shifted out of the way.

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