TOMB HUNTER The Adventures of Larra Court Episode 2 Larra’s Mayan Adventure By L’Espion [email protected] Chapter 5 Separated Shocked, Katie rolled over and struggled to her feet. In front of her stood a powerfully built man, about her height, but probably weighing a hundred pounds more than she did. He was dressed, in light brown shirt, with slightly darker trousers. Braces held up his trousers, but a black belt encircled his waist and a black leather cross-strap was hooked though his right shoulder epaulet and connected to the belt. Although there was no sign of any insignia, the man had a distinct military bearing. His blue eyes studied her intently. Behind him were about a dozen more white men, all dressed in a similar manner to the first. Several of them carried rifles and all wore packs. “So,” said the blue eyed man. “I expect that you are the other woman we were informed about. The third of Miss Court’s companions, Miss Reddel.” The man spoke with an unmistakable German accent. “Who are you?” Katie demanded, recovering from her shock. “I am sorry,” apologized the blue-eyed man. He swept off his hat and Katie saw that his close cropped hair was as blonde as hers. “I should have introduced myself. I am Karl Schroeder and these are members of my archeological expedition. We have come here in search of the mysterious lost city of the crystal skull.” Schroeder gestured to his men. Two of them came forward, their rifles trained on Katie. Her bright blue eyes widened as she stared down the barrels of the rifles that were leveled at her. “Do not be alarmed,” said Schroeder, “A German gentleman would never harm so beautiful a woman. But, I would like to relieve you of you sidearm.” As he spoke, Schroeder reached out and unbuckled Katie’s gunbelt and removed it from around her waist. “Now I feel a little safer,” said Schroeder, mockingly. “And now,” the German continued, “can you tell me the whereabouts of your companions?” Katie turned and looked at the pile of rubble behind her. “I don’t know… The rockfall… The earthquake…” “Ah yes,” said Schroeder, “we had a close call with that ourselves. Fortunately, not much rock came down in the area where we were. Here though I see it has been a different matter.” Turning to three of his men who were not armed, Schroeder gestured for them to come forward. He handed Katie’s gunbelt to one of them. Turning back to Katie he spoke again: “Do not worry, I am sure we can find your companions. Meanwhile you are to be out guest back at our camp.” Addressing the man he had given Katie’s gunbelt to he ordered: “Escort Miss Reddel back to our camp. And treat her well. I would not like to see anything happen to so fine a specimen of the Aryan race.” As he finished speaking two of the other men came forward and took Katie’s arms. For an instant, she considered resisting, but then realized that her best option was to cooperate. Her chances of escaping were probably far greater if her captors considered her a weak compliant female. Meekly, Katie allowed herself to be led back down the canyon. Amy got slowly to her feet. Crying was not solving her problem. Only digging through that mass of rock would get Larra out. But Amy feared the worse. If Larra was still alive wouldn’t she have called for help by now? The silence confirmed her fears that her mentor was dead. She scrambled back toward the heap of rocks that covered Larra. Perhaps if she could just move a few more… Suddenly she heard a noise behind her. Amy turned, surprised and got an even bigger shock. Standing before her were about twenty Mayan Indians, but these were no ordinary Indian peasants, they were dressed in the style of warriors of the classical era, a style that Amy had only seen in archeological illustrations. Each man wore a white breechcloth that was formed by taking a strip of cloth and wrapping it around his waist and allowing the two ends of the cloth to hang down in front and behind. Around each warrior’s head was a band holding long green feathers. The men were armed with a variety of weapons, ranging from bows and arrows to vicious-looking clubs set with razor sharp pieces of obsidian. Collectively, they were a formidable looking bunch. Amy suddenly wished that she had Larra’s facility with languages. How useful it would have been to be able to communicate with these men. The warriors stood in a tight group talking excitedly to one another, and gesticulating frequently toward Amy. It was obvious that she was the subject of their discussion. Finally, after having reached some sort of decision, one of the warriors detached himself from the group and slowly approached her. When he was within ten feet he surprised Amy by falling to his knees and bowing his head to the ground in an obvious sign of subservience. Amy did not know what to make of this. It appeared that the warriors had attached some importance to her, but who or what they supposed she was she had no idea. The warrior on the ground rose slowly and approached her. Amy could tell from the look on his face that he was deathly afraid of her, but as to why he was afraid she was completely ignorant. The man signed to her and Amy was able to determine that he wanted her to follow him. Amy hesitated, but then realizing that she probably had no choice, she walked slowly toward the waiting group of warriors. Larra awoke in darkness. There was an agonizing pain in her head. She tried to stand and banged her aching head into something very hard. She sat back down with a thump. Reaching cautiously about her she soon came to the realization that she was completely surrounded by stone. She appeared to have been buried alive by the collapsing canyon wall. She continued her inspection of her surroundings, and determined that she was trapped in a chamber about five feet long, three feet wide and four feet high. And it was, as far as she could tell, composed of immovable rock. “How am I going to get out of this?” she thought. Larra inspected the floor of her prison. Perhaps if she couldn’t go up or sideways she could dig down. She found, however, that the floor of her little cave consisted of hard stone. It did not appear that she was going to get out without some outside help. Opening her mouth, Larra screamed as hard as she could. “Help! Help! Help!” She shouted until she was hoarse, but heard no reply. It was of course entirely possible that Amy and Katie had been killed in the rockfall. There might be no one to help her. The thought sent a pang of fear through her bowels. Larra reasoned that she had two choices. She could wait where she was until she was rescued or she could try to dig her way out. Neither alternative seemed likely to be very successful, but she was determined that she would simply not lie down and die. She was still wearing her pack. Pulling it off she dug though it until she found a small hammer. Although intended for light archeological duty, it was the best tool she had. Striking with a steady rhythm, she pounded at the farthest edge of the huge boulder that formed the main wall of her tomb. She might die, but she was not going to give up. An hour of steady hammering produced almost no result. Only a few small chips of stone had been broken from the edge. Larra might as well have been pounding at the rock with her fists. Nevertheless, it was her only chance. Larra kept on pounding at the almost unyielding rock. Suddenly, she felt the ground and rock around her shake. “Aftershock!” she thought with alarm, knowing that her tomb could completely collapse on her. The ground under Larra heaved suddenly and there was a grinding crash. From above small boulders rained down on her. Larra put her arms over her head and tried to make herself as small as possible. Then, as quickly as it had started, the aftershock stopped. Larra looked above her. Light was breaking through into her tiny cave. She scrambled to her feet. The top part of the huge boulder had been pushed back, and there was a hole about the size of her body at the top. She could now stand up, and reaching as high as she could, she gripped the top edge of the huge slab that had fallen from the canyon wall. Then using her well-muscled arms and pushing against the rock with her feet, she slowly pulled herself out of the cave. Struggling out of the hole she slid down the outside of the slab to the ground. She was free, but still had no idea whether or not Amy and Katie had escaped the rockfall. She had to locate them, but now that she was out in the light she saw that she was splattered with blood. Raising her hand to her still aching head she detected the presence of caked-on blood. She must have bled quite a bit while she was trapped in the cave. Taking a small mirror from her pack, she surveyed her face. “Not too bad,” she thought. There appeared to be a small gash and a large bruise on her forehead. It was amazing how much blood a tiny cut in that area could generate. About fifty feet farther up the canyon she could see a small waterfall descending from the canyon rim. She could use that to clean herself up. Larra approached the waterfall and was surprised to see the tracks of a great many feet in the wet ground near where the water splashed across the canyon floor. Clearly a large number of people had been here, and not too long ago. Larra studied the footprints intently. There were a pair of relatively tiny bootprints, Larra guessed about a size eight. She recognized them as the type of footgear that Amy had worn. Mixed in with them were the footprints of what appeared to be sandals. There were dozens of them. All of the tracks headed up the canyon. Splashing water over her bloodied face and forehead, Larra cleaned herself up and then set off rapidly in the direction the footprints went. She guessed that the footprints were a few hours old. That would mean that whomever had made them would be fairly far off by now, but not far enough ahead that Larra couldn’t catch up with them if she got a move on. The canyon opened up as she progressed. It was now several hundred feet across and covered in fairly heavy vegetation. The going was much tougher now and Larra drank frequently from her water bottle. She knew that in this climate it was essential to keep herself hydrated. The trail she was following also became more difficult to trace. The path she was on frequently divided and then redivided. Each time she had to stop and study the ground to determine which way to go. Larra’s tracking skills were not highly developed and sometimes it took several minutes for her to pick up the trail. She checked her watch. It was getting on to five P.M. Soon it would be getting dark, and she realized that she was unlikely to catch up with the people in front of her before nightfall. She looked around for a place to camp. Moving nearer to the canyon rim she found a small cave. It was not large enough to give her complete cover, but she could build a fire in front of it to keep any animals and the insects away. Larra curled up in front of her fire. She had stockpiled a supply of wood that should last her the night, even though she would have to keep waking up to use it. She ate the last of her prepared food. If she did not catch up with Amy and her escort tomorrow, she would have to head back to camp to get resupplied, and it would take all day for her to do that. All she could hope for was that Katie had survived the earthquake and might be coming after her. Very early the next morning Larra awoke. Just up the canyon, she could hear the sound of running water. She needed to wash off some of the sweat and grime of the previous day. Then she could resume her search. She found a fairly large pool of water, fed by another of the numerous falls that cascaded into the canyon. She knelt by the pool and drank deeply, filling her water bottle and then drinking most of it. She then splashed water over her face and upper body, unbuttoning her shirt so that she could bath her breasts and upper torso. She did not worry about getting her clothing wet, as she knew that the heat of the day would quickly dry it. In the meantime, the cool water felt good. She considered going for a swim, but decided that she had better get moving. She didn’t have all day. Her stomach growled as she got to her feet. She needed food. Rummaging in her pack she pulled out her emergency rations. They consisted of hard biscuits and several handfuls of nuts and raisins. It wasn’t much but it would keep her going for a few hours. She chewed the food slowly, savoring the last of it. “Time to get going,” she thought. Larra began to move away from the pool, heading farther up the canyon, when a voice froze in her tracks. “Do not move, Fraulein Court. Raise your hands and drop to your knees. Any sudden movement and you will be killed.” Larra turned her head. Only a few feet away stood several armed men. At their forefront was a man she had never expected to see again. “Schroeder,” she growled.