Harold flashed his torch against the cavern walls, highlighting patches of lighter rock against the granite and chalk base so common on the downs of South England. How far had they travelled now? Were they still under the town or were they now beneath Hobb's Wood? It was hard to tell. They were so far underground the satellite navigation on his phone had failed.
He looked again at the patterns. “Do these look like anything to you?”
Dill traced one with his finger, leaving a smear of blood when he pressed too hard. With no nerve endings it was difficult for him to gauge muscle use. “It's just limescale. Calcium deposits from a suspension of chalk in water.” He dropped his hand, rubbing the light coating of rock particles on his trousers. “With this, some tools and a small computer, I could make a small computer.” He grinned to show it was meant as humour, clapped Harold on the back and moved on.
“I'm not so sure.” Harold stood back, playing his torch from one end of the cavern to the other. “I'd swear by anything it was writing, just in a language I'm not familiar with.”
Jasfoup's light touch on his arm made him jump. “You're right.” He pointed at the first mark. “It's in the tongue of the Elohim. This first symbol is 'ab'.”
“Interesting.” Harold was tempted to point out Dill's error but decided not to humiliate the lad more than necessary. “Then what?”
Jasfoup traced off the next few symbols. 'an' 'dn' 'hp' 'al'... He clenched his teeth. “I think I know what this says.
“I can guess.” Harold's lips had gone suddenly dry and he teased his tongue out to moisten them. “'Abandon hope all ye who enter here'? Just how far underground have we come?”