The Secret Island of Edgar Dewitt - FIRST LOOK!
He wiped the sweat from his brow and renewed his grip on the plank, then, using the wood as leverage, popped another floorboard from its nails. And then another. And yet another. And as they came up from the floor, he tossed them from the glassless windows into the meadow outside, until, before he knew it, most of the boards in the room had been removed. Breathless and sweaty, he turned to survey what remained. It was unreal. He had never seen anything like it. A massive hole, obviously man-made, existed beneath the floorboards. That's where the salty air had been coming from! Energized by the mystery, he was now even more frantic in removing the remaining boards. The more he studied the vast depth of the hole in the room's center, the faster he worked and the quicker he was forced to the outskirts of the room in order to not fall in. When finally he stood on the last few remaining boards, he leaned over the edge. How far down the hole went, he did not know. It was eerie and beautiful and lined with bricks around the top—something like an old-fashioned water well, except much, much bigger. He guessed it was around eighteen feet in diameter. Edgar kneeled to inspect the bricks that shaped the hole. They had each been smoothed and decorated with ornate, inscrutable markings. The markings weren't in English, but rather something like the dot-dot-dash of Morse code combined with some other type of writing. Maybe alien! Edgar inspected deeper into the hole and saw an occasional stick figure intertwined with more of the indecipherable words, all drawings of people hunting animals, utilizing ancient vehicles and tools. Edgar reached down and traced a pinkie over what seemed to be a picture of a dark cloud with a yellow bolt of lightning shooting through it. "This is really old," he estimated. Maybe cavemen drew this. The whole world would want to see this, he suddenly realized. It could even make him rich. With that money maybe we could move back to Alabama, he thought. He was going to be famous, that was for sure, but he didn't want to tell anybody just yet. "Hello!" he yelled into the hole. "Hello!" he screamed again, but this time he noticed the lack of echo. "HELLO!" he yelled once more. What kind of deep hole has no echo? Perhaps it was full of moss at the bottom. Maybe the moss was absorbing the sound. "HELLLOOOOOOO!" he yelled one last time. Still no answer, and still no echo. Then, leaning over the hole, he did what any ninth-grader might do when standing before a dark, deep hole: he spat. And as the mound of spit darted into the depths, he listened intently for the splat, but strangely, there came none. Weird! He rubbed his forehead and frowned. Vexed, but armed with an idea, he carefully skirted the edges of the hole and slipped from the cabin, out to the piles of wooden planks sitting outside the window. There, he selected a plank and checked it for rot. When satisfied, he walked it back to the hole's edge and tossed it down, standing still as a statue as the board disappeared from view. He listened intently for a loud thud or clank or clap, but no such sound emerged. He scowled into the darkness and scratched his head in wonder. This thing's deep, he thought.