Unable to move at the realization that it wasn’t Derek behind me, I continued staring down at him. I forced my head to look away, but fear continued to hold me in place.
“What are you stopping for?” he asked.
My breath caught, as I listened to the male voice below me. It sounded just like Derek’s. How? He called me from further into the shaft. I decided to show no signs of alarm, for doing so could jeopardize my safety. I’ll pretend he is Derek, at least until I get out of this hole.
I cleared my throat. “Sorry, baby. For a moment I felt a little faint. Perhaps it’s the height. I’m ok now.” I moved upward toward the exit. When I reached the top, I scrambled out of the opening, dusted myself off and turned to watch who was coming out behind me. It was Derek. I cocked my head and creased my brows but didn’t say anything.
“What’s wrong, Daisy? You look turned around or something.”
“Um. I uh.” I gave my head a quick shake. “Sorry. It’s just that…..I thought I heard you calling me from further down into the shaft as we were climbing out, so I thought it was someone else who was climbing up behind me.”
“I didn’t hear anything,” replied Derek.
“Maybe I’m hearing things. It was so real. Given that someone grabbed my wrist while we were down there, I thought maybe you were whoever that was. I thought that person followed me and prevented you from following me out. Then I saw your ball cap and…..” Derek sauntered up to me. Concern written all over his face.
“Daisy, someone grabbed your wrist?” asked Derek.
“Well, yes, you were there. Remember? You helped pull my arm away.”
“Yes, and we both fell to the floor of the shaft.” Derek continued to look at me like I was losing my mind. “How can you not remember?!” My legs felt like jelly. I was truly losing it. Then movement out of the corner of my eye coming from the direction of the opening to the mine shaft, took my attention off Derek. It was the top of a head wearing Derek’s same baseball cap. Another guy was coming up from below. But Derek was the only one wearing that ball cap. The others in our group hadn’t worn anything on their heads. The person finished coming out of the opening. He hadn’t looked up but was looking downward at himself while brushing himself off. He wore the same clothes as Derek. Then he looked up at me, and I froze. He looked just like Derek.
“Daisy, didn’t you hear me calling you down there?” said the Derek who just climbed out of the hole. He looked over at the other Derek and smiled. The Two of them did a fist bump, hugged, then released.
“What the hell is going on?” I asked. “Which one of you is the real Derek?”
In unison they said, “We both are.” They snapped their fingers and the two became one.
(To Be Continued)