A.J. Robinson
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Alex Travers and the Stone of the Gods (Part One)

Prologue and Chapter One

                                 

Join the daring archaeologist extraordinaire Alex Travers, as he unearths the legend behind a mysterious artifact and uncovers the plot of a hidden secret society in this 1940s adventure...


                                   PROLOGUE: A ROYAL EXCHANGE

“It’s not everyday you’re sat in front of a King, your highness,” said Alex sheepishly, trying to make small talk with the brooding King George. Alex Travers was a great American archaeologist and adventurer, he’d been summoned towards a royal audience to present his latest priceless jewel, to say his small town Kansas life was miles apart from a British aristocratic gathering was an understatement.

The King’s wife Elizabeth marvelled at the emerald jewel presented before her, the glint of it so bright it shone in her eyes. After negotiation and legalities the fee was set and King George purchased the item for his beloved. She beamed with pride matching it against her green dress “it’s a perfect match! However did you come by it?”

The question reverberated in Alex’s mind, he didn’t want to remember the details of how he’d required the ornate jewel. He wasn’t prepared to cope with the loss he’d experienced on the journey and he certainly didn’t want to lower the joyful mood of the occasion, “it was found on an archaeological dig” said Alex, it wasn’t necessarily a lie but he didn’t want to reveal the full extent of the story.

                       

                               CHAPTER ONE: THE TOMB OF MEDUSA

Alex looked deep into the freshly dug hole in the ground, inside was a tomb buried for centuries, the fabled Tomb of Medusa; long foretold in Ancient Greek myth. Professor Benedict Remington, a scholar and mentor to Alex had discovered an ancient map stating the tomb’s location and he, Alex and his daughter Miko set out to uncover the hidden secrets within it.

Alex entered the opening first scaling down the crater into the tomb by using the thick roots and vines growing around it. Miko was next she was elegant and graceful sliding down the vine like an expert, finally Benedict followed with the strength of a man forty years his junior.

“There it is, the long lost Tomb of Medusa,” Benedict marvelled taking in the sight against the light of his flaming torch, a temple ruin covered in vines with cobwebs and swallowed by the ground not appealing to the eye of a regular person but to a rambunctious group of Tomb robbers it was beautiful. Miko walked towards the door reaching out her hand to brush away some of the thick cobwebs and dirt.

“There’s an inscription on the door, it’s in Ancient Greek,” she explained running her fingers along the carved lettering. “Give me your torch, I want to get a better look.” Her father handed her the torch as she held it to the cobwebs burning them away from the door. As the last of the webs withered away she examined each letter carefully. “This isn’t the true entrance to the Tomb,” her brow furrowed trying to solve the doors riddle. “The doorway reads; The entrance here cannot be found for what you seek is flowing ground.”

“Flowing ground? It’s water! We need to find the entrance via water!” said Alex scanning the area for a switch or some sort of mechanism he could use to gain entry. “Over there!” he pointed into the distance drawing a flare and walking toward a pressure plate on the ground. He stepped on it but soon regretted the decision. The ground opened and lava began to fill the cavern floor, this particular Tomb wasn’t to be entered flowing ground had meant Lava not water.

“Oh you’ve really done it now Travers!” called out Benedict scowling at the ensuing mess. All of a sudden the plate Alex was standing on began to raise into the air, it was an ancient platform designed to withstand the flow. Benedict and Miko quickly leapt onto the platform as each of them was carried to the top of the Temple, they could see a giant statue of Medusa’s head, snakes pointing in different directions and a menacing set of fangs bared with a long snakes tongue. The true entrance to the Tomb was through her mouth.

The adventurers jumped across the platform into the statues mouth sliding down Medusa’s long tongue and emerging in a burial chamber full of treasure. Standing at the centre of the room was a headless statue of a half nude woman.

“I guess the legends are true then, she really did lose her head,” said Benedict. Alex laughed at the absurd notion that the myths might actually be real. “Scoff all you want Mr. Travers but the stories had to come from somewhere.”

“Forgive me if I’m sceptical Professor but I just don’t see how any of it hangs together logically,” retorted Alex. Miko shot him a sour look for making fun of her father but Benedict did not notice the exchange between the pair, he was busy admiring the shield that lay on the ground by Medusa.

Benedict lifted the shield looking at his reflection in it, “this must have been the shield Perseus turned her into stone with, I reckon it would fetch a pretty penny back home.”

“That’s the part I do understand Professor,” laughed Alex. “How much do you think these would sell for in Jolly old England?”

Miko was unimpressed with Alex’s attitude, he always favoured the financial side of the business over the historical or cultural relevance. “Don’t be so crass. Something that valuable would be fit for the monarch!”

Alex’s eye’s lit up, now there was an idea. He joined Benedict and Miko to inspect the artefact, it was an ornate stone shield with a large glistening emerald at its centre.

Whilst the three were distracted at the sight they hadn’t noticed that the Tomb had begun to slowly fill will an assortment of large black snakes. Miko felt one slither across her boot and screamed kicking it off. Alex quickly sprang into action blasting at the snakes with a revolver. Benedict slashed through them with his knife and Miko expertly handled them with an axe.

They thought they’d cleared the majority of the snakes but it was no use, hundreds of them started to fill the Tomb hungry for the taste of human flesh and it wasn’t long before the team were exhausted and Alex was out of bullets.

They began scaling the tongue of Medusa trying to reach the entrance of the Tomb to escape, Miko led the way hacking at the snakes with her axe as they slithered around covering the walls of the tomb. Alex and Benedict followed trying their hardest to kick at the snakes whilst avoiding being bit or losing their footing, Benedict clung tightly to the shield in his hands quite literally guarding it with his life.

They reached the mouth of the statue and proceeded to climb through one by one stepping into the elongated forked tongue at the entrance. Miko and Alex were safe but Benedict had been bitten on the ankle by one of the snakes. He was turning grey quickly as the poisonous venom spread through his veins.

“FATHER!” cried Miko in horror, Alex reassured her but it was too late Benedict started convulsing and foaming at the mouth.

He spat out his last words through the pain handing out the shield to Alex.

“Take the shield, don’t let it fall into the wrong hands… the emerald, the emerald is...” but he couldn’t finish his sentence he’d fallen over the edge of the tongue backward into the snake filled tomb. Miko cried with heartache as Alex tried to comfort her. He picked up the shield and strapped it to his back ushering her to move onward. The flow of lava had disappeared and the tomb was empty. With trepidation the pair began to make their way out of the cavern one member less to their happy group each solemnly vowing never to enter another tomb again.

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