||Mar 31, 2004
On the east face of the Canyon del Río Hondo there is an ancient cave known to the Mescal Indians as Moon Cave. It is a sacred place to the Mescal used for the Ceremony of the Ancients, a ceremony where every five years the five most honored braves are rewarded for their bravery, honesty, and community involvement. The ceremony must take place in Moon Cave because that is where the great medicine man, Owan-atan, created the magic. The reward the braves receive is the opportunity to go back in time to live among their ancestors in the old way of life. This is a great honor and the fact that there is no way back to their former lives is of no relevance to the selected braves.
But what does this mean to Denny Miller, who innocently enters Moon Cave during the 2004 ceremony and finds himself suddenly living in 1874? And what does this mean to Scott Franklin, Denny's best friend, who is determined to find out what happened to his vanished friend and help him if he can?
Scott "coerces" Cha-tah-wa, a local Mescal shaman, into taking him back to 1874 to search for Denny… Their first encounter is with Na-non-ga, an 1874 Mescal war chief – and there the adventure begins...
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C.H. Foertmeyer's Fiction
“Look!” Scott yelled to Denny. “There it is!”
About fifty yards on up the trail was a black opening in the side of the slope. From where they stood it appeared to be about ten feet wide and perhaps seven feet tall. The trail at their feet appeared to go straight into the opening and nowhere else. It did not seem to continue around or beyond the cave entrance.
“Looks like this trail was made to go to the cave,” Scott speculated.
“By who I wonder?” Denny asked. “I think it might be more interesting to follow it back to its source.”
“Maybe we will–after we have a look in the cave.”
Scott thought about that for a moment and then added, “Or–maybe the cave is the source.”
“That’s a dumb idea,” Denny retorted.
“Why dumb? Maybe the people that made these tracks live in the cave and the trail was made by them going out to hunt and gather; get water.”
“Sheesh–Dream on dummy. No one lives in caves anymore, not even Indians,” Denny said, mocking Scott’s idea.
“You have a better explanation?” Scott asked.
“No, but I’m sure we’ll find a better explanation in the cave. Go on–let’s have a look in there.”
Scott took three steps toward the cave and then stopped dead in his tracks.
“Whoa!” he said, stopping Denny in his tracks as well.
“What?” Denny asked.
“Do you have a flashlight with you?” Scott asked.
“Nope–It’s back at camp.”
“Me neither. How are we going to see in there?” Scott asked, not really expecting Denny to have an answer.
“Maybe we can make a torch,” Denny answered.
“Out of what?”
“I don’t know. Let’s cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, let’s just get up there and have a look see.”
Denny and Scott covered the ground between themselves and the cave in a matter of only a few minutes. They stopped at the opening and stared into the darkness of the hole. It was Denny who came up with an idea first.
“Give me your climbing rope,” Denny said, holding out his open hand.
“Just give it to me,” Denny demanded.
Although this was Scott’s expedition, it was Denny who was now the most intrigued by the cave and its contents. Scott handed Denny his rope and Denny quickly tied it firmly around his waist.
“I’m going to feel my way in. You brace the rope around the big rock over there and get ready to hold on if I should fall down a hole or something,” Denny explained.
“Are you crazy? You just might fall down a hole. You don’t know,” Scott offered, trying to warn Denny of the danger he might encounter.
“I’ll be careful and I’ll take it slow and easy. You just be ready to pull me out of there or at least hold onto me while I climb out.”
Scott could see that there was no talking Denny out of this and so he did as Denny had instructed and wrapped his end of the rope around the rock, taking up the slack and bracing himself.
“Okay. Ready,” Scott said, frowning at Denny.
“Okay–Here I go,” Denny replied.
Scott watched as Denny slowly entered the blackness of the cave and disappeared. He fed out the rope ever so slowly as Denny needed it until Denny had gone about twenty feet or so into the cave. Then, the rope stopped moving and went slack.
He must have come to the end of the cave, Scott thought to himself. “Hey Denny!” he yelled into the opening.
There was no response.
“Denny!” Scott yelled again, and he listened to only silence.
Scott gave the rope a tug, but there was no resistance. He began reeling it in, effortlessly, and finally the looped end of the rope emerged from the cave, dragging along the ground, empty.
“Hey, dumb ass! This ain’t funny! Come out of there!” Scott yelled, as he walked to the opening. “Come on, Denny! This isn’t funny!”
There was no reply from within and Scott was beginning to get worried, although his strongest emotion right now was that of anger. After a few more minutes of silence from within the cave Scott’s fear for Denny’s safety outweighed his anger over being the brunt of this tasteless joke, if that’s what it was, and he began debating whether or not he should go in after his friend. His common sense told him to hold his ground, but his loyalty to Denny urged him on. He waited and called to Denny every few minutes until nearly a half an hour had elapsed.
“Okay! That’s it, Denny! I’m leaving and I’m going to bring back the sheriff and a search party! If this is some sort of dumb joke you better give it up now!”
There came no reply from within the cave. Scott waited another five minutes and then bolted down the trail as fast as was safely possible. He knew now this was no joke. Denny would not have allowed it to go this far if it were. As Scott ran down the trail the only image that came to mind was that of Denny stepping off an unseen ledge in the cave and slipping out of the looped rope. He only hoped that the fall hadn’t been from too high up and that perhaps Denny was merely unconscious and could be saved if he got back with help soon enough.
He picked up his pace as much as was safely possible. His Jeep was probably about two hours away if he didn’t have any trouble crossing the river and his first move would be to try to raise some help on channel 9 on his CB radio. That was a long shot as far out in the desert as he was, but worth a try. Right now, he felt as if time was definitely not on his side; or Denny’s.
In his sixth novel, C.H. Foertmeyer spins a tale of friendship and courage within a maelstrom of disguised reality. Past, present, and future blend into a kaleidoscopic view of parallel worlds.
Scott Franklin and Denny Miller are childhood friends, grown to adulthood. While on their annual fall hunting trip, their lives are changed forever. Deep within the Huevos, along the Rio Hondo, Scott spies a cave and suggests the friends explore it. When Denny enters the cave and disappears, both men begin a shocking and exciting journey back in time.
Denny is transported to a place both frightening and wonderful, to the American west of 1874. This is a land without modern conveniences and communication, a land before telephone poles. TV and asphalt highways. What he sees is an almost pristine west, in a time before expanding civilization soiled the land.
Trapped back in our present time, Scott discovers Moon Cave holds a special place in ancient Indian beliefs. In hopes of discovering a way to rescue Denny, he consults a Mescal Indian shaman, Cha-tah-wa. The path back through time is not easy and holds many dangers, but Scott and Cha-tah-wa discover a key to the past.
Together again in the past, Scott and Denny face down the savage tribes who still believe the white man can be defeated. They explore the old west with delightful curiosity, thankful for the opportunity to see living history first hand. They are befriended by Custer, Sacajawea's grandson, and other famous Indian warriors of the time. Soon they are assimilated into the past, forgetting what life was like before Moon Cave and their time warping transition. Cha-tah-wa is their only hope of escaping from the past, but the Mescal shaman has his own problems. Will he succeed?
Moon Cave is escapist fiction at its best. The author's vivid imagination and writing style make for mystery and excitement. Despite some strong language and violence - the sort you'd find in any old west saga - this is an exciting tale for adult readers of any age.
Midwest Book Review
Travel back to a time where Indians roamed the land freely. Where Custer leads a cavalry into historic battle and where men had to carve their livelihood from the soil beneath their feet.
Scott and his best friend Denny stumble upon the secret of Moon Cave. It's a magical and sacred Indian portal to the past. It's an honor to be one of the few braves picked to take part in this ancient ritual. They have the chance to give up their lives living on an Indian reservation in the present, to travel back to live among their ancestors on the open planes of the past.
The freedom and rustic beauty of the past aren't quite the ideal dream for Scott and Denny and they will do anything to find their way back to the present. Along with the help of Cha-tah-wa, a Mescal Indian shaman, they discover the key to getting back home with their lives.
C.H. Foertmeyer is truly among my favorite authors. His creative imagination conjures up the past as vividly as if you were walking the dusty plains with each of his characters. I'm always excited to see a new book by Mr. Foertmeyer because I know I'll be in for a wonderful adventure.
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Reader Reviews for "Moon Cave"
|Reviewed by Chrissy McVay
|I've put this on my 'must have' list because I love anything native american and adventure/mystery. I'm currently reading 'Grandfather's Song' by Jake George (another good novel).|