Muna adjusted her breathing mask. It was getting harder and harder to breathe as the exploration party climbed deeper into the cave. At first, the climb was a rather gentle slope, then, after about six miles, they came to a steep climb.
“Hurry up, Muna” her brother shouted down at her. “I don’t want you getting lost or left behind.”
Muna took a few more breaths, deep and slow and then continued the climb. She grabbed on to the rope and began hammering spikes into the rock. Each pound echoed in the dark gave.
“Muna!” he shouted.
“I heard you, I’m fine. I just needed to take a breather.”
She looked up. Her brother’s helmet light was beginning to get dimmer and dimmer. She had to keep up. She had to push on. Muna needed to prove she was capable of being a competent member of the research team. Though she was an excellent scientist and geologist, her father had forbidden her to go on the search for the legendary cave of crystals, and since it was his money funding the project, she had to abide by his request. With the help of her mother and brother, Rashid, however, she was able to convince her father that her being present would best serve the success of the project. Muna stopped thinking about her father and continued to climb, one step after the next.
“Clink, clink,” the metal to rock echoed around her. It was getting hotter in the cave. She wiped a trickle of sweat from her brow and loosened her scarf a bit. She checked her thermometer. It was reaching 53 degrees Celsius, humidity 100%. She had six more hours of air coolant and her suit still had over 75 % of its ice cubes sealed in the lining of her suit to help keep her cool. She needed to reach the site in less than 2 hours, if she was going to get accurate testing results and samples of the legendary Butah Crystals.
Just as Muna lifted her spike to hammer in another nail, she felt a slight tremor. The rope swayed a bit and a few small rocks loosened sending specks of dirt falling onto her head and arms. Moments after the tremor, she heard a low rumble. A moment later, another tremor rocked the cave. This time, one of the spikes came a loose sending Muna swinging along the face of the stone rocky cavern. She banged against the rock face a couple of times until she caught hold of a protruding rock. She clung to the rock, breathing heavily, gasping for air.
“Muna!” she heard her brother call. “Muna.”
She could not see anything and she was beginning to loose air in her suit. She could hear a low hissing sound as the air seeped out of as a result of crashing into the ragged rocks. She felt a tug on her rope. She was moving, upward.
“Hurry, Rashid,” she barely whispered.
Her eyes slowly closed as the air in her suit hissed. The last thing she saw was a dim light approaching her.