It’s been 49 hours since my light went dead and left me in the dark. The fourteen dots from my wrist watch can show nothing in this total vacuum of light. I can do nothing but count down the time to my ending. I busted the crystal so I could feel the hands, gingerly running my finger lightly over the face. There is nothing but waiting. Every now and then I see a small dot of light, the random wayward photon activating my retina, or a stray particle passing through the Earth, but nothing more. Just a split second of false hope followed by nothing but black.
The darkness must be getting to me as I feel my mind slipping away from me. The only thing that keeps me partially sane is the torrent of sound made by water running beside me. It reminds me of a fan running in the quiet bright of outside night. The darkest room is as the surface of the sun compared to this place. To think I came here for fun.
The lack of luminance is wrecking havoc on my mind. It swirls and spins in a vertigo of three days drunk. The walls are spinning like the eye of a tornado; if only I could see them. I vomit the water and lay down against the cool rock, praying to every invisible deity for mercy. I retch and vomit again. Groaning against the earth, I think about killing myself and laugh when I realize I can’t see to make it painless.
The spinning slows to an out-of-control teacup ride and I drink some more water. The irony of being trapped here next to liquid life has not escaped me. Three weeks. That is the figure I read once that the average human can survive without food if they had a steady supply of water. Combined with the six Power Bars in my pack, I could cling to life for a month, maybe a month and a half. There would be six weeks of darkness, vertigo, vomiting, and water. The humorous part is that it might be the best tasting water I have ever had.
"We found your son’s body in side a small cave about 500 feet from the path, ma’am," the Park Ranger explained into the phone connected to the weeping woman. "As near as we can tell, he was exploring a small cave when the ceiling caved in. He had some Power Bars and was next to a stream." … "Are you sure you want to know that?" … "Okay, the preliminary report is saying he lived about three weeks. His death is listed as starvation in conjunction with exposure." … "No, ma’am, he wouldn’t have been able to dig himself out. There wouldn’t have been any need to." … "Well, ma’am, I mean your son was on the outside of the cave-in. He was only about ten feet inside the cave." … "Ma’am, I know you are distraught, but we must have not been around to hear him cry for help." … "Well, the coroner believes a stone fell and struck your son in the head, causing a minor subdural hematoma in the rear part of his brain." … "No, ma’am, he wasn’t unconscious. It means that your son was rendered almost instantly blind."