She peered at the words and pictures, trying to make some sense of how and why they came to be here. Was there some common theme? Was there a message here for her, somewhere? Some clue as to how to leave this dismal place?
The movement ahead stopped. Faint sounds of scratching and gnawing, then silence. Hannah caught up with the mole rat. Next to its head, and bearing marks from its oversized orange incisors lay a huge tuber, larger than any part of a plant she had ever seen. The mole rat pushed it towards her with its wrinkled stubby nose, and waited. Hannah waited too. Again the tuber was pushed towards her. Was she supposed to eat this?
Not wanting to startle her only companion she slowly sat down next to the tuber and carefully laid her bow and instrument on her lap. She reached forward and broke of some of the white flesh where it had been exposed. It smelt a little like a mild onion, she broke off the smallest piece she could and nibbled at it. It tasted good. Hannah had not realised, until now, that she was hungry. Should she eat more? Hunger overcame her fear and she ate. The mole rat waited and seemed to watch her, though how she could not imagine as it had no visible eyes, it was just a feeling.
As Hannah ate she thought about, could she call it an adventure? If it was an adventure? It was not the kind she would have chosen. An adventure should be somewhere sunny and warm, not down a dingy tunnel. At least it was less boring than her normal suburban existence, even with the elements of rebellion she tried to inject into it. Her parents and teachers hated her adopted goth style, and she even managed to annoy the other Goths at school by wearing white instead of black and being good at lessons and music. She loved confusing people. However, she was now the one that was confused. Why was she here? What was she supposed to be doing?
Hannah had eaten enough. She might have eaten more if the tuber had tasted of chocolate instead of onion. She stood and waited for the pink, hairless mole rat to move on. Hopefully it knew where it was going, because she had no idea.
Hours later the tunnel opened out into a dimly lit cavern. It was hard for Hannah to see how big it was, the light came from fungus growing on the paper on the walls , so she plucked at a string on her violin and listened to the echoes, it almost sounded like a concert hall. This was a big cave. As she followed her guide she saw that the paper on the walls was changing. No longer posters and writing but music manuscripts. Snatches of music she knew and others more complex and strange to her. Hannah lifted up her violin and bow and tried to play some of the music she did not recognise. Some was harsh and discordant, other fragments were haunting and melancholy. The further she walked the less music she recognised.
Ahead on a raised part of the cave floor Hannah could see a light coloured blur. She went closer. It was a person, a girl, in a white dress, just like her own. This was strange, The girl even had black hair like her own dyed locks. It was herself ! Asleep on the cave floor.
Hannah tried to speak, but no voice would come. She felt as if she must not touch this sleeping copy of herself. What to do? Her only voice was the instrument in her hands. What should she play? That piece she had been practising lately that she loved ? Hannah lifted her violin to her chin and raised the bow. The notes flowed clear and bright in the dark cave and the other her stirred.
Hannah awoke in her own bed, the strains of the melody still in her ears. Today was the school concert. She needed to go and meet her music teacher, that funny short bald headed man with the thick glasses and bad teeth. At least now she had no worries about forgetting her piece. She could play it in her sleep.