Richard opened his eyes from a great night’s sleep. He had never felt so alive! judging from the angle of the sunlight streaming through the window of their newly constructed hut, he guessed that it was late afternoon. He and Olive had spent the night exploring their love in all of its different manifestations.
Richard gazed over at her, she was beautiful! He began to soften as he had thousands of times before in his dreams, only this had been real. He cautiously got out of bed and walked over to the small open area of the hut. Gifts of fresh meat, fruits, and vegetables had been left by members of the tribe who had attended the wedding.
Richard felt Olive’s embrace as she came up behind him. “Good afternoon,” she said.
Richard smiled at her and the new couple began preparing a very late breakfast with the bounty they had received from the others in the tribe.
After they had eaten, the two went out for a walk together arm in arm. During this time, Richard kept a keen eye out for the key Olive had mentioned the night before. He could not see it anywhere they walked. However, he felt as though his fortunes would change as they rounded a corner and ran into the chief. Richard gave him a once over look, but there was no key to be found anywhere obvious on his person. The chief was flanked by a series of tribes women.
“Hello Venator,” said the chief
“Hello,” Richard replied.
“I’d like to invite you to supper in my hut,” said the chief.
“I’m sure we could make it…” said Richard. However, the chief quickly cut him off.
“No. Just you. If you don’t mind, Olive will dine with these women tonight. I have some things I’d like to discuss with you, and they with her,
“Alright then,” said Richard. He did not see an easy way out of this situation.
“Don’t worry, she will be returned to you after our meals are finished,” said the chief.
Richard sighed in relief. He and Olive kissed and parted ways with their respective dinner parties.
Olive walked to a large table set in what used to be the Circle of Terror as Richard had called it. Richard followed the chief to his own private quarters.
The purpose of these meals, as Richard would soon find out, was so that the chief could interrogate Richard as to how well he was treating Olive. The women tended to be much nicer to their victims by comparison.
The chief and Richard sat down at the table in the center of his dwelling. The food was ornate. Richard had a sudden feeling that he would not get to eat any of it as the chief suddenly accosted him with a stone knife.
“Venator! have you been treating your new wife with all the honor, respect, and self sacrifice she deserves from you? The chief howled. He made a plunging motion with the knife that caused Richard to cry out.
“Yes! Yes I have, and I plan to keep it that way,” said Richard.
“That is remarkable, I half expected to have to tear everything which makes you a man away from you. Looks like I won’t have to do that yet. There’s just something about you that I’m not sure about yet, but I will figure it out. I will! I am quite intelligent.” The chief said, then pausing for effect to let it all sink in. “Let’s eat!”
Richard made his way through his meal, a great tension came over him. Why did the chief react that way? As a byproduct of the tension, he felt the need to relieve himself.
“Oh great chief, may I have your permission to briefly exit your abode and use the public latrine?” Richard asked.
“You are a guest of honour in my home,” said the chief. “You may use my private latrine.” the chief motioned down a hallway. Richard began to walk in that direction. Upon reaching the end of the hallway, constantly looking over his shoulder to make sure the chief didn’t change his mind and decide to get rid of him, Richard discovered a curtain. Pulling it back he saw the dark abyss of relief. Richard sat down and accomplished his goal. As he got up to clean the area around him, he stared into the hole. Suddenly, a glint of something shiny caught his eye. It was near the rim at the back of the latrine. Richard leaned over to examine it closer.
Without any warning at all, Richard tumbled into the pit that smelled of human waste, landing softly in a near silent fashion on the excrement below. He immediately regretted his decision to lean over the bowl. Now that he was down here, he thought he may as well finish investigating. Reaching up toward the object he grabbed it and removed it from its place embedded in the side of the chasm. He felt cold metal and the fact that the object in question was indeed key shaped. Could it be the very key he had been looking for? There was only one way back to daylight in order to find out.
One option would be to climb out of the latrine and present himself to the chief, extremely filthy as he was. Richard did not like that idea. The chief would question him further and that would put more weight on the already strained relationship he had with him. Richard sat with his back to the wall and felt the sides of the latrine. The dirt gave way under his fingers.
Richard had another idea. He was going to dig his way out. Working quietly Richard began to dig in a straight line until he had dug a horizontal tunnel six feet deep. Gazing back at his work, Richard was impressed so far. Just to be safe, Richard proceeded to the mouth of his tunnel and began bringing dirt and excrement in to block the entrance. It was incredibly unlikely that the chief would ever notice his work. He had not heard any of Richard’s previous noise making between the fall and all of the digging, but Richard did not want to take any chances.
Richard plugged the hole, and for the moment was himself completely entombed in dirt and excrement. What more motivation could a man need to dig upward toward the surface. There was nowhere else to go so that’s what he did. Richard judged the fall to be about 10 feet, so that would logically be the distance that he would have to dig in order to regain his freedom. Richard wondered what the chief would think once he discovered he was missing. The young man did not bother himself with this thought for too long. The chief had plenty of food to keep himself busy. Richard would explain everything in the passing of time. Right now he needed to find the surface, and then directly take a long bath
Richard dug continuously for what seemed like a few hours. Rooting himself firmly in footholds he would create along the sides of the vertical tunnel, he would let the dirt he dug fall down the center of the tunnel, creating a sort of earthen elevator effect. In time, Richard grasped the last handful of dirt. There was no more resistance! Sweet, fresh air filled his lungs as he emerged on to solid ground. The sun had set during the subterranean events. Richard smiled to himself. He knew Olive would be waiting for him back at their hut. She would most likely not be happy that he was late returning home, but the stench should convince her of the truthfulness of his account.
Richard quickly made his way home. He opened the front door to Olive sitting up with a cup of Pyorg tea, waiting for him.
“You’re late,” Olive stated calmly.
“You would not believe the night I just had,” said Richard. He cleaned off the key as best he could and pressed it into her hand. “I believe this may be the key to get into the thought chamber we talked about last night,” said Richard.
Olive went in to hug him, but stopped herself at the last minute. “How did you find it?” Olive asked.
Richard quickly summarized the events he had just been through.
“Richard, this is amazing, but first you need a bath!” Olive said.
Richard nodded and laughed. He turned away to head out toward the ocean when he felt Olive’s hand on his shoulder.
“I’m coming with you!” Olive said, “I want to help you.” She smiled at him and they both walked out of the hut in search of open water.