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The Quest for a New World

(The Continuation of the The Search For Jim Thompson)

After a while, you loose sense of time. The vegetation if any grew scarce, even the green lichen disappears into the dark void and all you see is this repeating pattern of rock faces.
- From The Lost Notes of Jim Thompson

We've been walking for days now, I don't know, it could have been weeks, there is no indication of time passing, no star trails or sunsets. We just followed the trail, it went on and on, sometimes we reach giant cave openings and camp there for some time but the rest of the days we just go through it without stopping. I dare not ask anything to our guides, so does my friends. They simply don't care of whats happening around us anymore. While our bodies show no sign of tiredness, our mind have wandered much and are tired beyond reason, and we are still reluctant to talk to the guides. How do you talk to ghosts? It's not that we don't want to talk, we cant engage them, there is no urge to confront them. We have traversed so far that another stalactite or stalagmite are just ornaments in the darkness, the flickering of minerals embedded on them are lamp reflections of some lost town maybe.

The caves are easy to traverse, the openings are large enough for us to walk without having to crawl, but in the radar mapping of the regions there are very narrow passages that appear below the oceans. Probably the scrapping and clash between the tectonic plates have changed the physicals of the area in time. But radar cant go deep enough to map the whole of the caves and earth is full of underground cave systems. And what we are seeking are not anything on earth I guess. There are many rivers in the caves, some just pass below us in some ridge, some cuts through the path with water so clear we can see albino like fishes swarm to tiny mineral vents. They are all blind, just like the rock faces with their blind eyes serving some unknown purpose in this whole tragedy of a creation. How could anyone face the life of a zombie, the mind long dead but the body just drifting in space.

Any clues of the where the path leads us can only be found when we reach the camp points of the caver's and miners. And miner camps only exists under land mass, if we take the right path of the cave. The guides would only take us as far as the Shaman has ordered them, any further and they would loose their way, just like us. We expected to find the gateways or at least the signs of hidden pathways when we reach the camp sites. Thompson's disappearance are well documented from the miners tales. The cave paths have long been mining grounds, but rarely do they venture more than a few miles into the caves. The darkness are said to be so thick that every step is like falling into a hole without end, the sight even a few inch blends into the walls and our touches will sink into the dark soaked walls. The various books and even fiction that originated from the lost journeys are all studied by historians, those who were keen to discover the culture of the traveler clan. What we have today are just remnants of a lost civilization, and even with all the tools we cant capture the passionate image of a traveler discovering the ancients. One of the most famous books were published by Lord Champlain's institute; The Lost Notes of Jim Thompson is purportedly from his notebooks found by the miners. Every cave expedition after his disappearance came up with something, mostly made up stories and relics to relive a lost legend.

His lost notes, if they were true contains graphic description of his journeys through 'gateways'. The time gateways are pathways into the other worlds. Once crossed, this gateways will close, and probably lost forever. But what Thompson discovered is much more than that, the mystery of the gateway is all but erased when stories of what he encountered after that were to be told. Cities and countries and contraptions, new earths, new civilizations, maxims of fantasies told and retold countless times. Men of science and wide eyed kids around bonfires, all of them lapped up these stories, the detailed description is both unprecedented and also bordering insanity. The information still defies comprehension, imagine what it would have done a hundred years ago. Exactly anyone would do with magical discoveries, all of it were swept away as fictions of a delirious traveler, who writes from the grave to salvage his tainted name. A few who believed did follow his journeys, his many versions of writings brought most of them to early graves. The few who found what would be the same alternate worlds did not come back. And whoever claimed to have came back are dispatched to the asylums.

For us it is clear, whats at stake here is more than myth and magic. It's a concept as old as physics. Alternate worlds are childhood fantasies of science fiction writers and true outcomes of the god like quantum world. If we manage to document its appearance, then the ravages of time and space as it melts into new worlds, it would be monumental. But what drives us towards the answer if not for it's glory of a new world. Countless times we have motivated ourselves with this logic of finding new technologies and even new science. How far we went to search for Thompson's stories, his notes or even his dealings with the Shamans only time will be the ultimate witness. Thompson, just like the many Shamans are just gate keepers, just reference points, the ones who would applaud us in some imaginary Nobel ceremony for finding the answer. Imagine the benefits and you will see the catastrophic failure first. Thats how the world is. To find the answer, we must first choose the right question, dismiss the right events and above all use the right people to reach the next step. If any, science have taught us travels and scientist one thing, that is only the survivors count, not the past legends. Have not the Shaman King sensed our utter disregard for Thompson and his reputation? Have not he know of our real plans?

What the Shaman's don't know is the Kakurenbo sink hole in the crater lake island of Danau Toba in Indonesia. Long been a center for adventure seekers, the crater lake island is also the home to shamanism and a trading point or sorts for spells. A decade ago, the crater lake was radar mapped and an underwater sink hole was discovered. The Kakurenbo sink hole is a water passage way about 3 miles long that ends up in an subterranean lake. When we reach this lake, hopefully as planned our other team members will be waiting with supplies and new documentation tools. If the traveler notes were to be believed, our ghost guides will stop right before entering the underground chambers of the Toba lake. Its a risk worth taking, because the Shaman King's of Lake Toba might be our last chance of finding the gateway.

The walls of the cave system we're navigating is scattered with images of suffering. After all subterranean mining is suicide, what more the search for exotic minerals. Evolving from coal mining, the deep earth miners now look for exotic minerals for the space program and electronics industry. Only recently did the industries discovered the properties of rare metals to substitute the power consuming arcane technologies of semiconductors. Organic devices fueled by rare metals can be mass produced and provide uninterrupted backbones for many electronics. The quest for the new world fascination is alike what these miners go through to gather the ounces of metals. The water trickling from cave walls, from hidden holes in cave roofs opens a eerily perfect existence for the rare fauna that make up this ecosystem. The gateways could be anywhere, any cave openings that we do not take, even the tiny holes where water and occasionally wind seeps into. We need better equipment to trace these gateways, something thats beyond the Shaman's knowledge. And try must we not to end up as another sacrificial offering of the Shaman or a ghost walker in this caves. The coming days will be challenging.

End of Part 1
[Disclaimer: This story is Pure Fiction, no names or places present here coincide with any real life events (though the places might really exist). The story is protected under the creative commons license 3.0, free to distribute but please refer the authors name and website]

Comments

Ghost Particle said…
now I will go away for a short while...cant resist to write this in between packing.

Btw...Kakurenbo means Hide & Seek in Japanese.
Keshi said…
WHERE R U GOJNG GHOSTY???

Keshi.
Keshi said…
**GOING

I mean LOL!

Keshi.
Alok said…
The coming days indeed seems to be challenging ... I m simply in awe of the way u write Siva ...

Amongst many memorable line, wld just like to quote "The time gateways are pathways into the other worlds.

-brilliant buddy, brilliant

alok
Jeevan said…
Nanba it’s a gateway for a new imagination world. It’s interesting to know what are all the challenges to be handling to find the gateway.

“How do you talk to ghosts?” Hai buddy what’s this, why we dint talk with u? hehe… :)

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