After the herd’s introductions, Josiah and Shelly said their goodbyes and continued the hike to the holes location. Although Ellie volunteered to take the kids to their location, they said they could handle the walking and didn’t want to impose. But Ellie was stubborn and insisted that she get them there anyway. Manny told her not to go unaccompanied but Ellie just told him that she did not need anyone with her and that she’ll be back and not to worry. As soon as the her herd was out of site, Ellie knelt down to let Josiah and Shelly climb up on her back. At first, Josiah didn’t want to get on her back. He thought it was not appropriate to ride a mammoth like a common pack animal.
Ellie just rolled her eyes and wrapped her trunk around Josiah’s waist. Using the muscles in her trunk she carefully placed him on her back. Shelly clambered on and sat behind him.
It took Josiah and Shelly a while to get used to the rocking motion of riding a mammoth bareback.
To pass the time, Elle told them a little bit about her personal life before she met Manny, Sid, or Diego. When she was young she got separated from her herd in a blizzard. She thought she was all alone. She tried calling for her herd but nobody came or answered. In tears, she took shelter under a tree and curled to keep warm. If it wasn’t for the possum mother and her sons that had shown up, she would have given up hope. Ellie had then on lost all her memories of being a mammoth and grew up being a possum-despite an unfortunate incident when one of her uncles tried to give her a piggyback ride.
Josiah had to laugh at this. “You grew up being a possum?” He glanced back at Shelly who was snickering under her breath. “I can’t believe it.”
“Believe it, honey,” Ellie said nudging his leg with her trunk. “My possum side even told me that being brave was just dumb.”
“Why would it say that?” Shelly asked.
Ellie said. “Bravery to a possum can get you killed quicker in the wild. But if you play dead, you survive more.”
Then Josiah and Shelly told Ellie about the corporation and how the time watch was created. How the time stream was controlled by the computers time circuits for locations and periods of time.
Josiah didn’t tell Ellie all the details about the future, just the about the company and the people who worked there. He didn’t even mention about the extinction of the mammoths to her, ether.
It was not his place to say anything about Ellie’s kind going extinct. That would just cause questions and spread fear among the mammals. Fear always lead to anger and anger lead to hate. And hate would lead to suffering. Suffering in this time was not needed for the mammals. It was best for Josiah to just keep quiet about it.
A half hour later they had finally arrived at the hole. But Josiah and Shelly were disappointed in what they found when they got there.
The cavern’s entrance had completely collapsed. Large boulders and ice covered rocks had entirely sealed the hole up. There was now no way inside the cavern. This meant there was no way to the dinosaur world under the ice. All that time traveling gone to waste and nothing to show for it. The entrance was a wide hole that was almost certainly 30feet across and 29 feet wide. Big enough for mammoths to pass into and certainly big enough for a dinosaur. But the slaps of fallen ice made it impossible for entry now.
Josiah and Shelly got off of Ellie’s back and looked down in dismay at the hole. Without a way in, they were sunk. Their plans for exploring the secret world were buried in ice.
“I’m sorry, guys,” Ellie said while putting a trunk on Josiah’s shoulder. “But when me and my herd came back from that world, Buck sealed it up. He thought it was best to keep that world down there and this world up here.”
Josiah nodded understandingly to Ellie and stood up. “We’ve got to find a way into that world. There’s gotta’ be a way into that tunnel.” He scratched his head and took out his pick and started combing his hair. He did this all the time when he tried to think of something to solve a solution.
Nothing came up.
He turned to Ellie and thanked her for the ride.
“Don’t mention it,” she said waving the thanks aside. “You two are alright. For humans, that is.”
Shelly chuckled and said. “We’ll keep that in mind,”
With that, Ellie turned and lumbered away. Josiah watched her go. ‘If only she knew,’ thought Josiah. ‘Knew that her kind will not last forever.’ He shook his head of the negative thoughts and turned to Shelly.
“Let’s try and find another way down there,” He said. “We can’t give up now. Not when we’re so close to finding the dinosaur’s world.”
Shelly crossed her arms and shook her head not wanting to give up but also not wanting to accept the reality that there was no way into the tunnels. She suggested that they couldn’t dig their way in. that would take too long and they didn’t have the gear for digging past rock or ice. They could go around and look for holes but that could take all day.
“But what if we run into some ferocious animal?” said Josiah while looking around the clearing. “We don’t know what we’ll run into if we do look for the hole around here.”
Shelly scoffed at that. “If any mammal messes with me, I’ll open a can of 21 century whoop ass on ‘em.”
In a flash, one of the bushes branches reached out and grabbed Shelly from behind. Shelly let out a shriek that echoed loudly around the clearing. Josiah was ready to fire his stun pistol on the bush, but then he heard laughter-familiar laughter. The bush loosened its grip and Ken Blake came out from behind it, laughing.
“What are you doing here, Ken!?” Shelly shouted irritably at her brother while clutching her chest.
“Vacationing,” ken replied sarcastically while giggling a bit. “And this time I came prepared.” He dug into his blue and gray backpack and brought out a stun pistol, food rations, flashlight, compass, wrist communicator, and a camera. He wore brown khaki shorts, the green and blue t-shirt of the corporation, and red and yellow hiking boots.
Josiah had to hand to hand it to Ken. He knew how to pack.
But Shelly wasn’t letting him off that easy just because he showed up out of nowhere. “Go away, Ken!” She scowled. “You quit, remember? You’re no longer part of the team. Besides, me and Josiah are looking for a way into…”
But Ken cut her off. “I already found a way in,” he insisted.
“What?” she challenged, not wanting to believe her brother.
He pointed to a path made in the snow by some small animal.
Shelly and Josiah followed his finger to a forest path that led into the woods up hill.
Shelly turned back to her brother. She didn’t understand why he was here, but smiled a little at his gumption for being here anyway. But as soon as she suddenly remembered why he quit, she frowned again.
“What ever happened to ‘I quit!’?” she asked.
Ken shrugged his shoulders. “Could have, but didn’t.” he said.
“I decided to give this time travel thing one last chance. But if I get attacked again, I’m out of here.”
Shelly opened her mouth, about to make a wisecrack, but Josiah cut her off.
“Great!” he said warmly. “We need all the help we can get. Ken, can you show us the way?”
Sure enough, Ken led the two up the hill to the hole he discovered. The hill wasn’t sheer but the going was slow. The forest snow was thin on the ground which made it easy to slip on the icy ground. Twice Shelly and Josiah almost slipped on ice and smashed into Ken. After about a minute, they finally made it. The hole they arrived to was 12 feet tall and 50 inches wide. Jagged slabs of rock framed a path into the gloom of the crevasse. Wisps of steam rose out of it like an ancient dragon breathing white smoke.
“The world of the dinosaurs must be down there,” Josiah said. He stood in front of it, peering into the dark tunnel nervously.
If Ken was right, then this underground passage could lead to the secret world of the dinosaur’s utopian paradise. But if he was mistaken, then this trip would have been for nothing.
Taking a deep breath, Josiah entered first into the hole. Shelly and Ken followed in after him.
The passage was long and narrow with overhung stalagmites on the ceiling. The steam wasn’t hot but lukewarm to their faces.
The darkness wasn’t a problem for them. They took out their headlamps and turned them on. As the group made their way deeper into the tunnel, Ken checked his time watch to see what time it was. It was 1:45 in the afternoon. Another few minutes and they’d be there.
The tunnel soon opened up to a vast icy cavern full of rubble from a cave in. to one side were remains of a bone suspension bridge which was now gone. On the other was a clear intact path to the ground floor on the other side of the bridge. The cavern gave of a dim light from the ice from up above. It was eerily quite to the group. The only sound was the calm drip-drip of water from stalagmites on the ceiling. It sounded more like the drip-drip-drip of blood then water to them.
The threesome made their way down the side of the narrow ledge and to the ground floor. The light was stronger now and Josiah had a feeling that they were getting close.