The train stopped and Adam looked up at the ladder that he was meant to climb. He understood from Blake’s brief lesson that the glittering white rock that cut crookedly through the black granite was quartz, and that where it deepened to a dull bronze-brown was where the gold hid.
Two feet of water lapped at his feet, and the sound of the small waves and currents in the cave was amplified in Adam’s ears. He was frightened. He thought of all the times he had crawled down the hidden staircase in his closet as a child, and how the dark formed a navy, woolen blanket around him and reached out to smother him. How the thin ladder seemed to shrink beneath his feet as he climbed down, deeper into the black hidden room below. How sunshine and summer seemed a thousand miles away. The cave was cold and wet, though; a perfect icebox. The hidden staircase in his childhood home was always breathlessly hot and dry.