How quiet it is,' Danny said, digging in his knapsack for the canteen full of water he had brought. 'You don’t realize how scary it is, having a whole mountain on top of you, until you’re in the dark as I was in that tunnel, or when you begin hearing the silence.'
'I didn’t know you could hear silence,' said Irene.
'Then just listen.'
They sat still, and Danny added, 'Put out the flashlights for a minute.'
In the dark, they understood what he meant. All the familiar noises of the upper world were gone: the wind, the rustle of branches or leaves, the chirping of birds, the sounds of automobiles and doors slamming, and people laughing. There was nothing but the faint tinkle of droplets of water, each drop like a distant musical chime, and each one pursued by tiny echoes. Then, after such a note had sounded there would be a long and empty quiet in which they could hear their own breathing and the steady beating of their hearts. They found themselves straining their eyes to see something, anything — the slightest sign of light, but they could not even tell the difference between opening their eyes and shutting them.
Irene burst out suddenly, 'Put on the lights!'
Danny let out his breath with a whoosh. They all snapped on their lamps, and as the welcome light flooded the chamber, he said, 'It’s — it’s like being buried alive.'
'Don’t let’s try that experiment again,' Irene said, with a shiver. 'I just hope we get out of here before our flashlights give out.