In total shock, I watched as the flash light floated swiftly away, spinning in the current, trailing a faint glow. It took a split second for me to know the light was my only hope. Running, slipping, falling and rising to run again, I could not lose the light!
The dogs thought it was a glorious game, splashing, jumping, and sometimes, even swimming, they followed me.
I could see the faint glow from the flash light but something else,too. There was a lessening of the darkness. Little by little, even though I still had the flash light in view, there was other light joining it, growing.
The water began to slow as the light increased. If there was light, there was a way out.
The water pooled below the opening several feet above me. I could see daylight. Leaves from the trees above had collected in the water below. The sun's light also revealed a crevice where the water retreated underground.
The fear left me as I looked around. A recent cave-in had opened the under ground cavern, with edges sloping down to the pool, laced with tree roots still holding the sides in place. I circled, grateful for the sky's light, checking possibilities of escape.
My loyal terriers stayed close, exploring.
A straight unnatural edge drew my attention, half buried, it appeared to be some sort of box. Working gently, using my shovel and my hands, I slowly uncovered the box. It appeared, at one time, to have been covered with canvas, remnants of leather straps and iron works were still clinging to the box as was a rusted lock and hasp.
The box lay before me. I slowly lifted the fragile lid. Gold and silver coins, gold nuggets and what remained of a man's pocket watch lay within. Time had removed the sacks that once held the treasures. It lay loosely, piled in the box, catching the light and sending it back to the sun.
Although exhausted, soaking wet, and cold, I fashioned a harness for the box. While holding one end of the rope, I grabbed tree roots and slowly worked my way up. I reached the top and lifted the box after me. The terriers scrambled up the slope with more ease than I.
I had reentered the world of light, scraped, bruised, but still excited from my dangerous adventure.
I had discovered the treasure, we had searched for endlessly and collectively for over a hundred years.
Returning home, my family asked, where you been? I smiled as I simply answered, Diggin'.