Monday, September 30, 2013

Trapdoor by Paul Greci

When I was in college I majored in English and a close friend, Mark, studied Anthropology. We both loved out-of-the-way places. Mark had an eye for finding arrowheads and imagining life thousands of years ago while I had more current stories inhabiting in my head from the books I was reading.

When Mark got word of where a cave entrance was he didn’t need to twist my arm to go check it out. I was taking a Mark Twain Seminar and Tom Sawyer had just explored a cave.

We drove a maze of Southern Indiana dirt roads, then finally pulled over at a land mark I don’t now recall.

We stepped over a barbwire fence with a No Trespassing sign on it (a lot of our hikes started that way) and set off through the woods. I don’t remember if we were following a trail or looking for landmarks. Mark had the route in his head and I followed him.

After about twenty minutes we stopped at a hole in the ground about as big around as a manhole—the entrance to the aptly named cave, Trapdoor. To access the cave we had to lower ourselves down, then dangle from our forearms and drop. We knew the bottom would be there just a foot or two down, but still, there was hesitation on my part. But once Mark dropped and was just standing there unharmed, I swallowed my heartbeat and dropped too.

We could’ve brought high-powered flashlights with us but we didn’t. Me, in my Tom Sawyer mindset, and Mark, in his prehistoric fascination, both lit candles and proceeded to navigate through the darkest place I’d ever been.

We walked slowly out of necessity—the cave walls eating our meager light. We spoke in quiet voices—transported back in time.

By the time we’d covered the quarter mile obstacle course of slanting, loose, dark rock peppered with boulders to the end of the cave and then back to the entrance, all we could see as we peered up was a slice of starry sky.

Off-the-beaten-path experiences, whether they happen in a house or in a cave, are seeds to our writing. Sometimes they spout ideas right away. Other times they sit dormant for years and then, when conditions are right, spring to life.


  1. Yes! This is so true, Paul. And it sounds like you have some awesome MG potential in your experiences! :)

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks, Shannon. Haven't worked a cave scene into a story yet. :-)

  3. Hence the need to keep that notebook handy at all times, right Paul? Story ideas are out there, just waiting for us to find them. All we have to do sometimes is step past that "No Trespassing" sign.

  4. I really enjoyed this, Paul. We all need to get off the beaten track as often as we can.

  5. Thanks for reading, Michael.


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!