With a tinge of fear, yet strangely attracted to the hole in the earth, Luke directed the light beam into the opening. He whistled softly. "It's an entrance to a cave, Jessie. Can you believe it?"
Jessica knelt down by her brother and peered into the opening. A passage, barely wide enough for them to crawl through, descended at a right angle into the earth for about twenty feet. They could not tell if it ended there or if it continued farther.
Jessica looked eagerly at her brother, like a child about to descend the stairs on Christmas Day. "Do you want to go first, or should I?"
"Who said anything about going down there at all?" Luke demanded. "We've no idea what we'll find. It could be dangerous. Maybe we should wait for Dad to get home and see what he thinks."
Jessica shook her head violently. "No way!" she cried passionately. "It was my dream that led us here. My dream! This is our discovery, our secret, and we've got to follow it through to the end!"
Luke was exasperated. "Your dream?... You mean your nightmare. Or have you forgotten how terrified you were last night? Just try to be reasonable for a change."
Jessica stood up abruptly, her hands on her hips, her dark face suffused with anger. "I am being reasonable, Luke. I'm always reasonable. For as long as I can remember, Mom and Dad have been hiding something. About me, and yes I know you don't want to hear about it, but about my sister Jenny. Mom and Dad are part of the problem, Luke, and whatever's down there, it just may be the solution. I know you're scared. So am I. But I'm just so tired of being lied to and made to feel I'm some kind of freak. It's about time I found some answers."
Luke was still examining the passage with his flashlight, seemingly absorbed in thought. Actually he was thinking he'd better handle his sister with kid gloves. She was on the verge of losing it, and if that happened, he wasn't sure he could control her. "Well," he mused, "I don't suppose there'd be any harm in a little exploration. At least we can see if the passage ends down there or continues on." He got down on all fours and wedged himself into the opening. "Follow me," he said.
Jessica smiled brightly. "I knew you'd see it my way."
They slid easily downwards along the damp, slippery passage. At its end, a narrow crevice opened out into a fairly large cavern. Luke caught his breath as his light beam scanned a vast array of stalagmites and stalactites and luminescent mineral deposits glimmering with every conceivable color of the spectrum.
Jessica nudged him from behind. "What is it?" she cried. "What do you see?"
"You ain't gonna believe it!" Luke replied. "It's like a cathedral. I've never seen anything so beautiful."
Luke entered the cavern and stepped onto a broad rock shelf that ran along the entire left-hand wall. Jessica came up behind him. The silence was so profound they could almost hear the beating of their own hearts.
"Oh Luke," she whispered. "I never imagined there were so many colors." The timbre of her voice conveyed awe and inexpressible wonder.