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11 July 2005 @ 11:00 am
Down The Rabbit Hole, Continued  
So, there is was. They'd finally done it. They'd at long last accomplished what he'd set out to achieve oh so many moons ago. Once a sealed vault, a gate without a key, a door with no handle, and now, like some forbidden entranceway, its mouth spread wide open, begging for them to dare to slip down its gullet.

But how?

It's not that he was afraid. He knew he was the most 'in tune' with the island than any of them... and the least in tune was Jack. He knew that Jack still blamed him for the death of Boone, but how could he get him to see that sometimes destiny just leads you by the hand down its own paved road...? That sometimes some things were just meant to be...? That this island was not just an island...?

Only time would tell. And he was a patient man.

Locke gazed down into the hole without blinking, and slowly crouched to a bended-knee position, still un-blinking. He rested his fist gently under his chin as he thought and stared, stared and thought. He then closed his eyes, and just let his mind take wing, and listened to the sounds around him. The sounds of Jack breathing quietly, Kate gasping a little, and Hurley still muttering about those numbers... But most of all he listened to the island. So still, it was, so calm. Like it, too, was waiting, waiting... ever so patiently waiting...

Finally, he stood up, and paced over to Jack. "There's only one thing we can do, and it's the one thing we've all been anticipating and dreading at the same time. We've got to go down. We'll have to build a ladder. But first, to measure how deep."
 
 
 
_the_runaway__ on July 11th, 2005 05:35 pm (UTC)
Going down the hatch seemed like the obvious answer, yet it still surprised her. Anything could be down there. Kate glanced at Jack as Locke suggested they build a ladder. He looked so angry lately. Like the entire world had betrayed him. Boone had died, the others had left, she had...well, Kate always had a way of making him look like that...even when she didn't mean to.

He had asked her earlier, if things went bad, did she have his back? She hated herself that he needed to ask, though she probably had given him reason to.
jshephard on July 11th, 2005 07:31 pm (UTC)
"I'd say it's pretty deep," Jack murmured absently. He knew Locke was right; they had to go down. They had to at least see if there was anything to see. But not without caution. "Hurley, give me your flashlight," he said, holding his hand out for it, wanting to shed as much light into the chasm as they possibly could.
_hurleydude on July 11th, 2005 07:45 pm (UTC)
"Uh, Jack, this really, really isn't a good idea." The numbers were on the hatch. The blasted numbers that had come to change everything in his life, ever since he learned of them. What could they possibly mean?

Whatever it was, it could *not* be good. Of that he was convinced.
the_john_locke on July 11th, 2005 07:59 pm (UTC)
Locke shook his head. "You can't measure distance by a flashlight, Jack. We need actual length." And at this, he produced from his pocket a fairly thick string that looked crumpled and old, slighty yellow with age. Then he leaned up and plucked up a good-sized rock and tightly tied the rock to the end of the string. He knotted it, wrapped it, then tied and knotted it again for extra security. He swung it around three times, and the rock stayed in place.

"Now, keep shining that light down the hole, Jack. I'm going to slowly ease this rock down. When it hits bottom, I'll tie my handkerchief onto wherever my hands are, and pull it back up. Then we'll be able to see just how deep down it really is. If I run out of string, I have more in my other pocket."

And so, he hovered the string, which was very very long already, and started to let the rock slide down into the hole deeper... and deeper...
_the_runaway__ on July 11th, 2005 08:12 pm (UTC)
"And if it never touches the bottom?" Kate asked, only half kidding as she peered over the the edge of the hatch. Part of her wouldn't be surprised at all if it were a neverending hole.

This place always seemed like the very edge of the world. What better place to have a hole in the center of the world than at the very end of it?
jshephard on July 11th, 2005 08:29 pm (UTC)
"I almost wouldn't be surprised." Jack took the flashlight from Hurley and studied him for a brief moment, still confused by his sudden panic over 'the numbers'. But it would have to wait.

Somewhere in the back of his mind, he was thinking the same thing as Kate. But the rational part of his mind knew better. Nothing went on forever. It had to lead somewhere.

"When you're ready, John," Jack said, holding a flashlight in one hand and bracing the other on the metal edge of the hatch with the other.
the_john_locke on July 11th, 2005 09:18 pm (UTC)
Down, down, down the string slid, and Locke could only just barely see the rock now, even with the light. It looked no bigger than a minuscule pebble.

A minute later, it was out of their line of vision, but still the string slid. He paused, and came to the end of the line, pulled out another piece of string, tied the two ends together tightly, and continued on down. A small drop of persperation slid down his neck as all eyes were on him, and on the string that ran delicately through his fingers.

Minutes after minutes passed. He had to tie on two more strands during this time, and he only had two strands left. But no matter what, wherever this led... it was deep. EXTREMELY deep.

THUNK.

It echoed up from the hole, and vibrated into the air. Locke paused, wetted his lips, pulled up the string a little, and let it drop again.

THUNK.

It could only mean one thing.
jshephard on July 11th, 2005 10:12 pm (UTC)
The tension that hung in the air was almost as thick as it had been when he and Locke had been setting up the explosives. Almost. No one seemed to be able to look away from the point where the string was disappearing into the hole...and Jack was starting to feel very uneasy. Jesus. How deep could this thing go?

He heard Kate shift as though to get a closer look, and had to surpress a sudden, stupid urge to place his hand comfortingly on her arm. This was not the time or the place--

*Click*

Jack inhaled a sharp breath through slightly parted lips as the soft sound reverberated through the hatch's opening. He glanced up at Locke as the man paused, lifted the rock just so, and released it again.

*Click*

Bingo. "Rock bottom," he mumbled absently.
the_john_locke on July 11th, 2005 10:19 pm (UTC)
John kneeled and held the string in one hand and with his other, pulled a small white handkercheif out from his shirt pocket. He then carefully tied it onto the slid, and made sure it could not slide or be moved at all, for that matter. Then he slowly reeled up the string, and kept shaking his head with amazement at how deep this hole just was.

"There's no way we'll be able to build a wooden ladder to be able to stick down there. Building it would not be the problem- moving it and actually getting it inside, and down, would. It'll have to be rope, then."
_the_runaway__ on July 12th, 2005 12:27 am (UTC)
"I don't suppose you have a 80 foot rope in that bag?" Kate asked, smiling softly. She leaned back, glancing at the others. They were all so tense, especially Jack. He didn't trust Locke, he made no secret about that. She wondered if he would follow Locke down this hatch he had been guarding so carefully all these weeks.
the_john_locke on July 12th, 2005 12:31 am (UTC)
"No," he replied quite truthfully. "No, I don't. But there must be someone who does- the entire raft was tied together with rope."

The corner of his lip upturned into a sincere half-smile, but it rapidly faded away. The scene was too serious for such likings.
jshephard on July 12th, 2005 04:03 am (UTC)
"Yeah, but that much?" Jack shook his head and stared at the legnth of string and the depth it represented. "I'm not so sure. A lot of what kept the raft together was wire..." He frowned thoughtfully at the hatch opening. "We could make something eventually, but not soon enough for our purposes."
the_john_locke on July 12th, 2005 04:40 am (UTC)
Locke rubbed the back of his neck, and stared off into the distance. "Then what exactly do you propose we do, Jack? We are in need of some means of ability to get down there. And I don't know about you, but I sincerely don't recommend jumping in."

There was that small smirk again.

_the_runaway__ on July 12th, 2005 04:48 am (UTC)
"Anybody consider how we're going to get out? Or what's down there? A metal hatch doesn't just pop out of the sand." Kate finally spoke up, staring at the hatch thoughtfully.

She looked up and glanced between Locke and Jack, her gaze settling on Jack.
the_john_locke on July 12th, 2005 04:52 am (UTC)
"I'd understand if you don't want to go down there, Kate. Actually, it's probably better that you don't go down. You're needed up here." Locke placed a hand on Kate's shoulder for a brief moment. "As for getting out, a ladder is a ladder. We'd attach it here, at the top, and whenever we're through, we just climb right back up like how we climbed right down." He stopped for a moment, as if in thought. "As to what's down there... no one knows. But the island intends for us to find out. And so do I."
jshephard on July 12th, 2005 05:23 am (UTC)
There John went again...this insane driveling about 'The Island'. Jack shared a very brief but meaningful gaze with Kate, a kind of 'you see what I meant?' expression on his face. "The only thing we can do now is go back to the caves, pool our resources, and figure out what our options really are."

Jack couldn't help but feel disappointed. He'd been hoping that this hatch would have made an ideal place to hide everyone from Danielle's 'Others'. But it didn't seem like that was going to be possible. Almost as an afterthought, Jack glanced over his shoulder at Hurley. "You want to tell me what was so important that you nearly got yourself blown up over it?"
_hurleydude on July 12th, 2005 05:27 am (UTC)
"Dude, as long as it means getting back to camp, and not going in there? I won't be trying a stunt like that again." Hurley dodged, not wanting to get into the real reason he'd done so. Charlie had just laughed at him when he'd mentioned it, and he'd barely scratched the surface of his story with him. He didn't dare with someone like Jack. Hurley'd lose whatever respect he still had on this island.
_the_runaway__ on July 12th, 2005 06:14 am (UTC)
Jack was right. Locke did have some weird fixation with the island, but it didn't mean he meant them any harm. Kate was still up in the air about Locke, but she meant what she had told Jack earlier. If it came down to it...she had his back.

"So we're going back then," Kate sighed, adjusting her backpack...which reminded her she was still irritated that Jack had taken it upon himself to relieve her of her dynamite carrying duties. He might think he was doing the honorable thing, but Kate could take care of herself. She had been long before she had met Jack.

"We should get going. They'll be wondering where we are." If they were still there. It was dark and Danielle had said the 'Others' would be coming when it got dark. Kate glanced around the jungle warily.
the_john_locke on July 15th, 2005 06:26 pm (UTC)
Locke had read the expression Jack had given Kate as clearly as one reads an open book. But Jack's profound distrust of the island, and Locke himself, was no secret. He wasn't blind or dumb. But it mad him sad, more than anything else, how irrational everyone seemed to be acting still. For example, he too had known that Jack had taken Kate's share of the dynamite. That alone was rash. What good would it do to blow up the only doctor this island had?

He re-averted his attention to the here and now, and gazed around him, and felt a slight breeze ruffle his clothes. It was going to be a cold night, and it was still a good deal of a walk back to the camp. But he knew he would be over-ruled by the majority if he suggested staying where they were for the night. He believed this to be the safer option, but at the same time, something about that open hatch loomed in the back of his mind. He saw the face of the young black boy suddenly in his mind's eye, the boy's eyes wide with terror and saying to him, "Don't open the hatch, Mr. Locke, don't open it!"

"We'll never get back before dark," he finally said, "but you're the leader Jack, it's your decision." He leaned against a tree trunk and folded his arms.
jshephard on July 23rd, 2005 12:28 am (UTC)
"No, Locke's right," Jack agreed, surprising himself a little. "We'll have to wait until first light. It's probably not a good idea to leave this thing out here open without somebody here." He met Kate's gaze with a slightly apologetic look in his eyes. "I don't like being out here, especially consider what Danielle told us...but we're gonna have to stick it out until morning."
_the_runaway__ on July 23rd, 2005 12:51 am (UTC)
Kate nodded, but didn't look happy. The thought of staying here all night, being practically trapped made her antsy.

"I'll take first watch," she said quietly, taking a torch and climbing out of the ditch around the hatch.
the_john_locke on July 28th, 2005 04:13 pm (UTC)
(Starting a new line.)
the_john_locke on July 28th, 2005 04:19 pm (UTC)
Locke eyed Kate for a moment, then nodded briefly. "I'll take the late watch then. Wake me when the moon hangs there-" he paused to point almost directly above them, and then a little to the west, "in the sky. Jack, I advise that you don't take a shift at all- you've been way too sleep-deprived lately. All of our heads will be clearer in the morning."

With that said, he stooped and opened up one of his pouches and withdrew a slightly battered blanket and laid it on the ground. "You may use this Kate- it's the best I have."

Then he withdrew and found himself a nice patch of glass, laid down gently on his back, arms folded under his head, and stared at a few glittering stars that shone through the branches of the over-hanging trees.
_the_runaway__ on July 28th, 2005 08:29 pm (UTC)
Kate nodded and gave Locke a small smile. "Thanks," she said as she took the blanket. She glanced at Jack as she took a few steps away from the hatch. He probably wouldn't take Locke's advise well. She sighed as she sat against a tree trunk, digging her torch into the ground and gazed out into the darkness of the jungle, waiting for...something.