I woke Alex up and instructed him to get dressed and confidently said, “It is time to action plan B.”
“Plan B, Dad? No-no-no, not plan B!” Alex desperately pleaded with disbelief. “Alex, we have no choice; it is now or never! Everyone has a little Indiana Jones in
them and now is the time to play out that fantasy!” I retorted, convincingly.
Alex reluctantly stumbled out of bed and dressed. I instructed him to gather the supplies and meet me at the car. I hastily stuffed my backpack, complete with a special infrared flashlight and survival knife. We ferociously vaulted into the car where I rocketed the engine to life and began to navigate the narrow and winding mountainside’s thinly graveled road. Under the full moonlit sky, we reached the locked green gate marked with a “No Trespassing” sign. I eased the car into a hidden alcove, killed the engine, and started to unload our supplies from the trunk while Alex attempted once more to talk some sense into me. He grumbled something about The Wolf and full moons and then he resorted to the, I-am-going-to-tell-Mom card to no avail. It was as if I was under some hypnotic spell and there was no turning me back.
“Come hell or high water I am getting that treasure tonight!" I yelled.
We began the strenuous walk up the steep, private road to the quarry and Alex asked, “Where are you going?" as I walked right past the quarry entrance.
I said, “That’s too easy; we are going to do this Harrison Ford-style.”
Alex once again shook his head with disgust, acknowledging that we were past the point of no return. I detected him grumbling faintly from behind as we trundled all the way up to portal two—the second quarry entrance that was created back in the early 1900s. We emptied the backpacks. I anchored the rope and tossed it over the steep quarry embankment and a few seconds later I could hear it strike the quarry floor some ninety feet below. I cracked a few infrared emitting glow sticks and tossed them over the edge. I secured my belay harness, pulled out my night-vision goggles and placed them on my head.
“Where did you get those?” Alex asked in dismay.
“Never mind; I know some people,” I said nonchalantly
“What do you mean you know some people? What else are you not telling me Dad?" Alex questioned nervously.
“Not to worry son, I have this under control,” I stated confidently, as I inserted my ear buds, handed him the hand-held, VHF radio and conducted a communications check.
“Loud and clear,” came Alex’s muffled voice over the tiny speaker.
“Toss me The Staff,” I instructed as I threaded my carabiner with climber’s rope, straddled the fence and faced him in the rappelling position and said, “The next time you see me I will be forty-two pounds heavier!”
I gave him a smirk and a wink, cued the Mission Impossible music and down I went, leaping like Spider-Man from one six-foot marble scant to another until I reached the bottom.
“The Eagle has landed.” I confirmed over the radio that I was secure. “Just hurry up!” Alex demanded.
I clicked on my infrared flashlight and surveyed the area. I quickly located the perceptible hole and blew out the dust. I took out the crystal skull, fixed it to The Staff of Khonsu, inserted it into the hole and twisted it until it locked in place. I checked my watch — 3:42 a.m. — and waited as the moonbeam entered through the large window- like opening in the cave wall. The crystal began to glow and shot a rainbow out the of Crystal of Thoth’s left eye at a 222 degree radial across the raised ledge onto the irrefutable blaze.
Below it, in a small, partial cave-like indentation was a glint of reflected light that caught my attention. I scurried over and ducked under the rock overhang. There it was, a small wooden rectangular box with the initials “FF” carved on the top of it. The box was nailed shut and I picked it up and estimated its weight as that of a curling stone. I frantically searched my backpack for my pry bar but, in my haste, I had mistakenly left it in Alex’s backpack. Anticipation was killing me. I yelled over the radio, “Alex, I got it, I got it! We’ve done it! I have the treasure and I am coming up.” Alex nervously whispered back over the radio and warned me to keep my voice down. I was perplexed by his lack of enthusiasm; he certainly didn’t sound like someone who had just found $2 million. My excitement couldn't be contained any longer, so I stuffed the wooden box in my backpack and commenced my ascent to the top. Instantly, the rope went limp.
Then I instantly felt helpless as I lost control of my balance and rapidly rotated backwards. I lost my footing and began to free fall, and time instantly slowed to a near halt as I seemingly left my body and saw myself slammed aggressively against the cavern wall as I careened like a rag doll from one rock outcrop to another. It felt like an eternity before I struck the bottom with a horrible thud. Fortunately, my backpack absorbed most of the blow, and I briefly lost consciousness.
When I regained consciousness, I could see a thin, six-inch marble shunt protruding from my left forearm. I welcomed the pain as I pulled it from my flesh, and blood spurted about a foot with every heartbeat. The pain was excruciating. I struggled to pull out an emergency compression bandage, and I winced as I jammed it into the deep wound. I hastily concocted a makeshift tourniquet from the remaining rope when I noticed that the end was cut smooth, like something had sliced right through it. I called back to Alex over the radio—no response. I desperately mustered enough strength to crawl to the edge of the escarpment and lowered myself down to the ground level. I remembered seeing an old wooden fire escape in the quarry during our tour, so I stumbled my way to portal three and began the arduous ascent.
I reached the top completely exhausted and almost passed out due to my copious blood loss, but the adrenalin kept me moving as I staggered down the hill. Alex was surprised to see me come from that direction, and then he became stupefied as he realized what had happened. I yelled, “Give me the pry bar!”
He placed his hand into his backpack and fumbled inside for a few seconds before handing it to me. I jammed the sharp edge into the seam of the wooden box with my good arm and Alex tore the wooden container apart. We simultaneously froze for a moment, gasping in surprise. Neither of us spoke for several seconds. I placed my hands on the eight-hundred-year-old bronze chest, carefully caressed it and then slowly opened the lid. We were speechless as the euphoric waves of endorphins pounded our brains with each heartbeat. Our jaws dropped as we viewed for the first time the gorgeously glinting ...
Suddenly, I heard the distinctive clicking sound of a pistol hammer cocking that sent shivers up my spine. I twirled around and tried to shade the beam of the flashlight that attempted to blind me.
“What the ...?”