Part 9 of a collaborative story between myself and Sharmishtha Basu where the main character Angelique is neither on a boat nor alone. At least at the moment.
Here’s what has happened so far: Our heroine Angelique has been kidnapped and brought to a temple in the jungle by two men. They are going to sacrifice her to get through a door to steal a large diamond. However, a huge tentacled monster attacks them before they can. She runs away and finds other monsters, but comes across an old man named John who is Australian but now lives alone on the island. He takes her back to his cave for the night so they will be safe from any monsters or creatures that are around.
But then, a huge multi-headed snake, a naga, attacks in the night, and John has to take her through a secret tunnel into the temple of Lakshmi, where there is gold and gems everywhere, including a huge lotus made of diamonds. Gold nagas stand guard and John says they will attack anyone who tries to steal the treasure.
Sharmishtha has posted all the previous installments here.
Alone on a Boat – Part 9
Angelique lay down to sleep surrounded by millions of dollars worth of gold and gems, not to mention the priceless diamonds that formed the lotus blossom in front of the goddess Lakshmi’s idol.
She was glad when the flare burned out and darkness hid the unobtainable wealth from her. She had meant what she had said to John about not wanting to be rich, but still, now that it was all here in front of her, images of what she could do with such riches kept creeping into her mind.
“There are only about four hours until dawn,” John said out of the darkness. “I’ll keep watch until then.”
“I thought you said this was the safest place we could be—that no monsters could get in here.”
“That’s true,” he said, “but still.”
He is watching because of me, Angelique thought. In case I try to steal something. It gave her an odd feeling.
She woke up to see a long sliver of daylight slicing across the temple floor. John’s figure was silhouetted against it.
Angelique got to her feet and went over to him. “The men who kidnapped me were trying to get in here,” she said. “They seemed to think that only human sacrifice would let them get through this door.”
“Perhaps they were right,” John said, still looking out. “I don’t know how to get in through these doors. However, if you come in the way we did, it is easy to come out this way. The doors push open from the inside. They will not stay open, though. I once came out and left them open. They were shut tight when I returned.”
“What do we do now?” Angelique asked. “Are we safe from monsters now?”
“I don’t know. Yesterday I would have said yes—that they do not come out in the daylight, but then again, I would have said nothing could have found us in my cave. I will try to lead you down to the shore and then you can get away in your boat. I think we can get there in a few hours by a path I know.”
At that moment, the sound of a helicopter broke the morning stillness. It came into view a minute later, a civilian model with Thai markings on it. It landed in the clearing of the temple courtyard, the rotor whipping at the overhanging branches. As soon as it on the ground, the door opened and a muscular, tanned man in his 50s jumped out.
“Dad!” Angelique shouted and ran towards him. He hugged her tightly.
“Are you okay?” he shouted over the noise of the rotor. “I got your distress signal and rented a helicopter as soon as I could. Then we followed the GPS signal. Where’s the boat?”
“Down in a cove. How did you get here so fast?”
“I was in Phuket,” her father said. “Just a few hours away.”
“Were you following me?” she asked.
“Not following, just staying close. Just in case. What happened anyway?”
Angelique led him a little ways from the helicopter and explained everything that had happened, about the two men who had kidnapped her and brought her to the temple.
“How did you get away?” he asked.
She hesitated. “Something attacked them. A creature. Then I ran into John and he helped me.” She introduced John to her father and the two men shook hands.
John had been standing with his back against the temple door while she had been talking to her father, and she suddenly realized that he had been trying to push it closed. Before she could say anything, her father looked up at the temple.
“What is this place, anyway?” He took a step towards the door.
“Dad, don’t. Let’s just go.” It was no good. Her father seemed to have forgotten she was there. He took another step, looking around in amazement. He hadn’t seen the gold and jewels inside yet, but it was only a matter of another few steps.
“Dad, please. Let’s just get out of here. Back to the boat.”
She knew it was useless. Her father’s greatest fantasy was to be the real-life Indiana Jones. He took another step forward and she saw his eyes suddenly widen.
“Mother of Mary,” he said softly, and she knew it was too late.
(to be continued on Friday on Sharmishtha Basu’s blog)