Holloway is scaring me already and it's only been 2 sentences. Who knocks on the door of people he doesn't know holding a whacking great rifle?! He looks to be a friend of Reston's, but still, seriously? And it seems my bad feeling might be validated, as we have this troublesome phrase crop up:
- "Never for a moment did I suspect he was capable of that."
Anyway, we're introduced to Mr Axe-Crazy's assistants, a shy nervous guy Jed and young prodigy climber "Wax", the latter of whom will probably be the first to die. It's almost always the overconfident one who goes first (unless it's the unfortunate token black guy). Of course, the newbies all think it's nothing to serious until they're actually confronted with it. I would laugh, but it's not the place.
Navidson and Holloway don't like each other, because this wasn't messy enough without some male testosterone-based posturing to screw things up. That and Holloway seems to be making a move on Karen, so I guess you can understand Navidson's source of dislike and anxiety.
So, Exploration 1 sees the newbies, equipped with fishing line and halogen torches, find the same hall that Navidson did, only to find that at the other end about 1500' away is a huge arch. They go no further after hearing a growl and running out of fishing line. So far, relatively normal and nothing overly creepy.
Exploration 2 sees them go back in with more fishing line, going through that large chamber into an even bigger room, with a spiral staircase going down in the middle of it. Why do I get a very bad feeling about the staircase? In any case, this only increases Navidson's dislike for Holloway, as the newbie is effectively taking over his role as leader. I can only see this getting worse really. Especially when Karen's still being unyielding about Navidson joining them, although her point of view is entirely understandable considering they have young children.
Exploration 3 sees them start walking down that staircase. They go down it for 7 hours and still don't seem anywhere near the bottom. The scale of this is getting a bit ridiculous now.
We now have a German quote that Johnny has to get translated; I'm afraid that the only thing I can gather from it is something about black and shadows. Whilst trying to find this translation (which Zampano surely should have provided himself?) he gets a bit distracted by the German girl his friend introduces him to. I'm sure you don't need me to spell it out for you. Turns out the quote means something about the inability to comprehend distances.
Back to the main narrative, where we find that compasses don't work anywhere inside the house, which I suppose is fitting after finding that the corridors change direction. And we're preparing for Exploration 4, which looks like it'll be the big one. Somehow it seems too soon, I mean, I'm only on page 91, but the Navidson Record doesn't finish until page 528. Oh well, I suppose there'll be a new development somewhere along the way.
Prior to Exploration 4, tensions are rising. Holloway's getting paranoid, even if he does enjoy the talks of success with Navidson, the same talks are angering Karen as it means more time spent with the house and the son Chad has come home from school having been beaten up but won't say what happened. This links to a footnote where Johnny talks about the foster home he lived in after his dad died; it's not a position I can personally relate to, but I can't help but feel sorry for him, this little 12 year old who's just defensive after something hugely traumatic.
Anyway, back to the exploration. Or pre-exploration anyway. Holloway's preparations are pretty meticulous, as you'd expect them to be when you think you'll be spending 4-5 days down there.
The day of Exploration 4. At last. Holloway's decided to take the rifle. This is where it all starts to go horribly wrong, isn't it? The exploration team thinks the growl is from something in there, not just the walls moving as the layout changes, and it has to be said I agree with them, although I question their judgment if that's their theory. There's going to be no radio contact after day 1 due to deteriorating conditions; sounds like something will happen in days 2-5 to me. The chapter ends right after Karen has a little moment with Wax; while it's kind of sad that she strayed, considering that she wanted to strengthen her relationship with Navidson, but not really that surprising, seeing as she has been portrayed as quite sexual. I am a little concerned about the cause of Navidson's lack of surprise when he finds the footage of it later:
- "By that time Karen was gone along with everyone else. Nothing mattered."
Anyway, that's the 7th part of the Navidson Record done, and it seems obvious that something's going to go horribly wrong, most probably to do with Holloway, axe-crazy that he seems to be.
Anyway, signing off,