Frozen In History – Short fiction

Frozen In History
(995 words)

As he drove the ice pick deep into the caves vertical face, hanging from the slenderest of lines, Aaron thought back on how he ended up here on his honeymoon. His shy and retiring bride had turned out to be not quite so retiring as she would have everyone think.

Aaron had set up a relaxing tour of Greece and the surrounding islands, but as they were getting ready to depart, she had made some last minute changes to the tickets and apparently everything else. Not knowing this, he had gotten on the plane with her, expecting to head to the sunny islands. When he stepped off onto the frozen pavement of Iceland, and was met by a guy with a land-rover instead of the shuttle to the resort that he had booked, he started to realize something was wrong.

She had changed their plans without telling him. The were going on an ice-cave exploration trip.

"Hey!" A voice from below echoed up through the cavern, "keep it moving or we'll never get there."

Aaron, shaken out of his reverie, glanced down sheepishly and started his descent once more.

* * *

Selene looked up as Aaron dropped the last few feet to the floor of the cavern, "What happened up there? You seemed to be stuck half way down the wall."

"Just marveling at the nature of fate, the odds of chance, that kind of stuff." Aaron looked down at his feet, then turned to face the pack he had dropped. Pulling out the gear needed for a quick snack, he set about making tea for everyone.

Jordan, the short swarthy dark haired guide to this expedition cleared his throat. "Such delays are common in first time explorers," he explained to Selene, "the location will do that to a person of deep spirit. A sympathetic resonance will be struck between the explorer and the environment."

Selene looked quizzically at Jordan, then appraising at Aaron. She had never thought of him as having a deep spirit. His wiry athletic frame, topped with a shock of red-blond hair, did not lead one to think of him as deep. He was always flitting from point to point like a demented hummingbird after all..

Sighing to herself, she began pitching camp for the night as she considered the situation she found herself in. The change was exciting, the challenge of ice-cave exploration was much better than laying on a beach, but the emotional journey they had been on was one heck of a roller-coaster ride. As she struggled with the last of the tents, she thought to herself, at least if we make it through the honeymoon together the next couple of years shouldn't be too much trouble.

* * *

The trio had broken camp almost silently, nobody willing to disturb the sanctity of the silence in the cavern. The only constant sounds were those of dripping water, and somewhere far off was a waterfall thundering through the confining restraints of the cavern.

Jordan coughed apologetically to break the silence, then he asked, "Are we ok for continuing today, or
will you want to return to the surface now?"

"Is there any reason to go back up yet?" Selene's voice hovered between concern and excitement.

"No, not yet. There are no signs of problems. We will need to be careful when heading into the newly opened cavern that I told you about yesterday. The unknown will kill faster than anything else this far below the surface."

Aaron looked up from tying his boots, this whole trip had been one stretch after another. Selene hadn't told him anything about exploring uncharted caverns. To Selene's eyes, Aaron looked nervous, but didn't appear to be willing to back down in front of his new bride. She made a mental note to _reward him_ later on in camp tonight.

"So we're going to scout the new cavern today, then tomorrow morning we have to start making our way back up to be in time for the pick-up schedule, right?" Clarifying the time-frame, for both herself and Aaron, Selene tried to put a positive spin things.

Aaron perked right up at this. "Alright, so we go do some looking around, then it's a matter of getting back to civilization tomorrow. We're ready to go."

Jordan just shook his head, "Alright, let's move out."

* * *

Aaron, subdued by the sheer space they were entering, focused on the enticing way Selene was swinging her hips as she hiked along after Jordan.

Dropping the three hundred feet to the floor of the newly opened cavern hadn't been tricky at all, just a standard rope drop down the ledges. But now they had been walking for a couple of hours, and it felt for all the world like they were walking through a city made of ice. The stalagmites were oddly squared off, with straight sides and fluted tops. The paths between them were more often than not straight, coming together at right angles.

As they made their way towards one particularly large and imposing edifice,Aaron thought he saw something through the ice, a frozen fish or something.

Suddenly the whole front face of the structure of ice cracked sharply, sheets of ice flowing off the underlying rock. They were faced with the front stairs of what looked like a building made of cut stone. Emblazoned across the lintel above the arched doors was a foreign term.

Aaron had stopped, along with the other two, as the ice started moving. Stunned, he managed to find his voice, "The images I've been seeing through in ice, those carvings on the door, the artistic cut of the stones, could we have found...?"

Jordan, practical as always, made a questioning affirmative sound.

Aaron looked at Selene to finish his thoughts, and she didn't fail him.

"Aaron, I think we just stumbled on Atlantis."
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