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 Prologue from "Mulberry Grove : The Radio"

     “Can you see anything?” the archeologist shouted into a small hole in the mountain face.  “It’s getting late.”

     “Not yet,” a voice replied from the darkness below.  “My lantern went out.”

     The archeologist cautiously maneuvered across the steep incline. 

     “Hold on,” he yelled toward the hole.  “I’m sending down another one.”

     He signaled to the cliff below.  An associate climbed up the rope and rested another lantern next to the man’s right foot.  As he bent down to pick it up, the archeologist lost his foothold.   

     “Mother of God,” he shouted fearfully.  “I’m falling.”

     He tried to grab a hold of the rock but he was moving too fast.  Before he knew it, he was dangling over the cliff.  His heart raced as he stared at the rocks beneath him. 

     “Don’t panic,” his associate called to him.  “Your rope will hold you until I can get there.”

     The associate pulled himself up onto the cliff.  Delicately, he made his way to the man’s rope and began to pull him up.  The archeologist gripped the rope as he was pulled to safety.

     “That was close,” he sighed as he sat on the cliff.

     “Too close,” replied his associate.

     After relaxing for a minute, the archeologist got up and went over to the lantern.  He carefully picked it up and proceeded toward the hole.

     “The lantern’s on its way,” he yelled as he rested on its rim.  “Can you see it?”

     “Yes, I see it,” replied the man in the cavern.  “I can almost reach it.”

     The archeologist leaned forward trying to get a glimpse of the cave below.

     “Steady,” the man called from beneath him.  “Take your time.  I’ve almost got it.”

     Suddenly, the archeologist lost his balance and fell into the hole.  The man below grabbed the lantern and moved to the side.  The archeologist came barreling into the dark cave and landed on his chest.

     “Are you all right?” the man asked as he stood over him.

     “I’m fine,” he moaned.  “I might have broke a few bones but I’ll live.”

     The man helped him to his feet.  As he pulled the archeologist up, his lantern revealed some images on the wall.

     “Look at that!” the archeologist said in amazement.  “They’re beautiful.”

     The man turned around and saw three silver images drawn on the wall.  They seemed to glow as he moved the light closer to them.

     “What are they?” he asked nervously.

     “They’re the three symbols I’ve been looking for,” the archeologist replied.  “One represents the heart, one the mind, and one the spirit.  Legend has it that anyone who speaks to the dead has these images appear on their skin.”

     “Blimey,” the man said softly.

     The archeologist took a pencil and a small piece of paper from his pocket.

     “Hold the light closer,” he said as he made a quick sketch of the images.  “That’s it.  I’ve got it!”

As soon as he finished, he placed the pencil back in his pocket.  Without warning, the walls began to tremble.

“What’s happening?” the man shouted to the archeologist.

     “Cave in,” he yelled above the din.  “We have to get out of here, now!”

     As the men grabbed the rope, the falling rocks trapped them inside.  The lantern fell to the ground and smashed in a thousand pieces.  With his last bit of energy, the archeologist took his arm and reached for the opening.  His outstretched hand waved in the blackness.

     “Did they ever get out?” asked Jennifer calmly.

     “I’m afraid not,” replied Mr. Alexander as he got up from his desk.  “Years later, their bones were found in that very spot.  The archeologist still grasped the drawing in his other hand.  There was no trace of the symbols anywhere but on that paper.”

     “Whoa,” replied David as he turned to Luke.  “What a way to go!”

     Mr. Alexander went to the shelf and pulled out a book.  He took it over to his desk and opened it to a section of photographs.

     “This is a picture of the piece of paper,” he said.  “Funny, ever since I exposed you three to the ring and you communicated with the dead, I’ve felt like I trapped you in a cave like they were.  Anyway, this photograph got me interested in archeology.”

     Luke leaned over the desk and gazed at the picture.

     “Then how come you own an antique store?” he asked.

     Mr. Alexander laughed.

     “It was the family business,” he replied.  “My father convinced me that I wasn’t an adventurer.”

     Jennifer walked over to Luke and glanced over his shoulder.

     “These are the symbols we have on our arms,” she said as she looked at the photograph. 

“I know,” laughed Mr. Alexander.  “If only my father could see me now!”