Author's Note: I've been a pretty secluded person with my writing so this is really the first time I have put anything out for others to read. I hope you enjoy it to some point and creative criticism would be great. Thank you to any who take the time to read this. Also I should mention it's unedited-sorry for any errors that you come across.
I also have this posted on Wattpad.
Authors note: 2/17/16
In the next few days this chapter will be reposted but completely different! I've decided to change a bunch around. Thank you for your support!
I heard a clink, the sound of weakened metal snapping, and then everything happened in slow motion. My head snapped up and I watched in horror as my eye-hook seemingly yanked itself out from where Max had embedded it into the ice. Max's hand shot down just as I had lunged up to grab something-anything. I felt a glimmer of hope, our gloved fingertips touched and Max tried to grasp at my arm with his other hand-and then my heart plummeted. The gear I had on was too much, Max screamed as I plunged into the growing dark.
I had read about scenarios like these, faulty equipment or avalanches. It psyched me out and almost put me out of my daring rock climbing adventures. I wish I had listened to my gut instinct telling me not to come out here, but instead I had listened to that little voice in my head that had said "What if it's something? What if we miss out on a find?" I felt my body inadvertently twist and I used that to try to grasp at anything, but it only resulted in the jagged edges of the cold earth tearing through my gloves and cutting away at the skin exposed. I didn't feel anything-until my body slammed into the rock wall. Blood rushed into my mouth and I fought to catch a breath. Wind rushed past as I rolled down the wall like a discarded ragdoll. I slammed into what I had hoped was the floor of the cave, my head bouncing on the rock like a basketball followed by the sound of the hook hitting the floor somewhere above my head. I was too numb to feel the heavy rope that was supposed to hold my weight fall across my neck.
I couldn't believe it. Of all the shitty endings to life, I get this one. I wanted to laugh at my luck but it hurt enough to breathe. Through all of this, all I could really think of were my dad's war stories. I could hear his voice now. "My parachute didn't deploy Molls, and I fell like a sack of potatoes through those damned trees-hit every branch on the way down too. Felt each one until I hit the wet, hot mud." He took a drag out of his cigarette before smashing it beneath his foot. He exhaled the smoke " You know what kept me from knockin' out right there?" I shook my head and leaned on my hands, eager to hear. "Reciting the multiplication tables." The memory faded out with laughter and him ruffling my hair.
I got to one times one before I succumbed to the cold dark.
Gone. Molly was gone and he had let her fall. He shouted her name into the darkness again, hoping for any kind of sign that maybe she hadn't heard him the first couple of times. Maybe she was there and shouting back, but he couldn't hear her. Max strained to listen but the abyss before him replied as it had the first time. With a cold and final deafening silence. He withdrew from the edge of the entrance, a giant yawning hole in the ground-the anomaly she had convinced him to trek to. He retreated back to where they had parked their snow mobile, and climbed inside. Numbly, he removed his face mask and started the engine. As it roared to life there was only one thing running repeat over in his mind.
The Major was going to kill him.
"Molly," I could feel warm, calloused fingers caress my face. "Molly, I need you to wake up." A burning rose in my chest like never before, "Molly, you have to wake up now." The voice was firm, the soft touch upon my face had turned to a sharp sting. The burn was now a strong fire, coursing through out my body, I could feel it extend to every limb. Something was wrong. "Wake up." My heart chugged in my chest and I sucked in a gulp of air. "Good girl, Molly." I took air in like a fish out of water, straining to breathe through the stale taste of blood in my mouth. Jesus, it was like having a mouth full of pennies. I let my body get used to the shock of oxygen as I contemplated what the hell had just happened. I got that small adrenaline rush you get when you can't figure out what's going on, or when you get lost in an unfamiliar area-and then it all hit me.
Max and I had found an anomaly on some satellite images taken by my father. I had pointed them out to Max and from there, while our dads were analyzing data from some Arctic drill sites, Max and I had stolen away with other images to compare to. My anomaly turned out to be something indeed- there was unusual obstruction on the older images where our newly analyzed one showed no obstruction at all. It revealed what looked like a hole right in the surface of the ice. From there some kind of pull took over me and I started planning our trek. Fate would have it somehow that our destination wasn't far from where we had established base camp. Max and I had slipped away undetected...My father didn't even know I was gone...
It felt as if I had experienced that fall all over again, as the weight of my realizations set in. Max thought I was dead-shit, I thought I was dead. I should be dead. I needed to figure out how the hell out was going to reach the surface again...and why it was so damned hot. I realized now that I had been sweating, the air I was breathing in was warm and humid. It almost felt like Florida here and yet I had sworn that I had fallen into a cavernous ice pit in the Antarctic. I set to working my extremities first, testing for injury. Test the water first, Molly, catalog your wounds. I opened my eyes first and quickly found that the darkness that encompassed me was only a tinge brighter than actually having my eyes closed. I wiggled my toes and fingers and rotated ankles and wrists. Finding no injuries there, I attempted to push myself up.
Immediately, my right arm collapsed underneath my weight and I fell over all over again, crying out in pain. It was broken, I knew that right off the bat...I just didn't know how bad. Breathe, Molly. I pressed my forehead against the cold stone underneath, took a deep breath and pushed myself back up. Exhaling shakily, I wrestled the backpack, miraculously still attached to my person, off and shuffled it to the front. Stiffness was setting into my bones and if my body could creak and moan, it would have. Taking advantage of my sudden steel reserve, I unzipped the main portion of my pack and listened as it eerily echoed around me. Wherever I had fallen, it was big and very open. I tried to feel around but it was pert near impossible with all of this gear on. I wrestled my gloves off and dug around until I felt the cold, hard metal of the Mag lite I had packed. Quickly, I yanked it out and switched it on.
"Holy Moses" I croaked. Tall, giant structures towered high above me, reaching up into the un-penatrable darkness above. Alcoves and buildings were built right into the walls! Holy shit I was sitting in the middle of a fucking city. I resisted the urge to scream. I had been right! It was something. Oh my God. I twisted my body to the best of my ability to try to take in all that was around me, but Jesus there was so much. Impossibly smooth roads marked paths to miscellaneous buildings, some to homes. Giant domed buildings and what I could make out as statues were scattered here and there. This place was an archaeological gold mine. I was giddy with excitement until the throbbing pain in my arm reminded me of my current delemma. Let's get this over with.
I propped the maglite on top of the pack carefully, and set to shimmying out of my layers of clothing. One by one, as I peeled them away, I could feel the pressure on my arm get worse and worse. I got down to my last layer of long sleeve when I noticed an unnatural bulge pushing against the fabric of the shirt. My heart sank as I identified crusted blood around my wrist. This so wasn't good. I carefully pulled off the shirt, fighting back tears. Then there it was in my face: glistening white bone protruding from the middle of my forearm. A compound fracture. The heavy layers I had on provided some pressure, but since I had stripped down to the layers of my tanktops, the grisly wound poured new blood. With shaking hands, I pulled out the med-kit I had packed-the very one Max had mocked me for packing in the first place. I thanked whatever god was listening that I had grabbed everything. Time to set the bone. I could hear all of my dad's horrors stories on repeat in my mind and on some level I felt prepared for this...but as I stared down at my arm, all I wanted to do was cry.
"Suck it up, Princess," I said to myself, trying to imitate my dad's voice. I grabbed one of my shirts off the floor, balled it up and stuffed it in my mouth. With that out of the way I opened up the med-pack, unrolling it along in front of me. With a shaking hand I pulled the small bottle of alcohol out of it's place next to the peroxide and popped the top on it. My hands were shaking so bad I almost sploshed it all over the place. Tears burned at the back of my eyes as the hard smell of isopropyl hit me, making my situation all the more real and so much more worse.
Deep inhale, Molly.
I bit down hard on the shirt in my mouth and quickly poured the alcohol on my arm and then set it back down. Oh Christ, this fucking hurt so bad. I exhaled and sniffed back tears and then took another deep breath as the worst to come bored down in front of me. I can do this. I stared down at the white protrusion, trying to figure out the best way to go at it. Already the skin around the puncture wound was black around the edges, fading into deep blues and purples. The best way, it was looking like, was to dive had first into it. I tentatively pressed my thumb on the sharp edges on the bone, pain shooting up my arm like an electric shock. This was going to suck. Okay, I had to do this quick before I lost my reserve. I pressed hard and cried like a bitch as the bone slowly slithered back into it's rightful place. My vision blurred and my arm shook uncontrollably, but by God I somehow got my bone back into it's rightful place. Numbly I splashed more alcohol on the wound to stave off infection, slapped gauze pads down and wrapped the shit out of my arm until it felt secure.
Holy shit I had done it. I exhaled a shaky breath and picked up the maglite. Throughout this whole ordeal I had noticed that my tears had stung a particular spot on my cheekbone. Carefully and slowly, I prodded and poked around the area until I felt it-a sharp piece of what felt like glass sticking out of my skin. I flashed the light down to where I had taken my face mask off and sure enough it was splintered on the right, a few pieces missing. I pulled out the glass, thanking God that it was a small piece. There wasn't much I could do without seeing for myself what it looked like, and at this point I felt like putting anything on my face would only hinder me. I sighed and examined myself. I was caked in blood, sweat and bruises.
I pushed my bodily injuries aside and set to cataloging everything in my backpack. I smirked as I remembered how Max had made fun of me. He always thought I had over-prepared-even when we had went camping as kids. Of course Max had never been raised by a crazy doomsday preparing soldier-scientist. Besides the medkit I had packed a bottle of water, trail-mix, fire starting equipment, extra climbing gear, a notebook with accompanying pen and my now smashed gps and camera. On a whim I had packed a gift my father had given me on my 20th birthday-"the mini glock" I had dubbed it. It was a small pistol but it packed strong punch. I put my destroyed electronics at the bottom of the bag as they would no longer be of any use to me and piled everything back on top of them. I stuffed the lighter long-sleeve over all of them just to be on the safe side even though-somehow- I knew that somehow I wouldn't need any of my layers again. The smaller surrounding pockets contained small miscellaneous items like my multi tool and my pocket knife.
I tore open a packet of pain killers I had had taken from the medpack and swallowed them dry. Hopefully it would kill off some of the pain I had going on. I shimmied off the rest of the heavy snow suit. As I was tying my boots, it occurred to me that the rope that had fallen with me could prove useful later on....but as I looked around, I couldn't find it. Alarm bells went off at the back of my mind as I searched the surrounding area , as I tried to piece together why it wasn't here. Had I lost it on the way down? I pointed the maglite up as I recalled my fall again-the fall that should have killed me and left me for dead.
The area that Max and I had found was huge. Our gps coordinates lead us to the anomaly-a giant hole in the ice underneath the face of a snowy mountain. I had marveled at what had looked like a giant hole punch had been taken to the ground-it had been that precise of a circle. Now as I looked up and around I realized the geography was different. In my minds eye I heard the hook hitting the ground with a sound so final it was like the nail in the proverbial coffin. I was really seeing my situation this time. The truth dawned on me and goosebumps popped up on my skin. I had been moved. I wasn't alone down here.
My instincts kicked in and suddenly I felt like all that training my dad had tortured me with through out my childhood was going to pay off. Without acting like this realization hadn't dawned on me, I reached back into the main pocket, my fingertips brushing the rough metal of the butt of the gun. Before I pulled it back out, I surveyed the area, flashing my light everywhere. I scanned every window, building top and lurking darkness, looking for signs of activity or another person or thing. To my trained eyes, there was nothing. I grabbed the gun, made sure there was a round in the chamber and the safety was still on and then tucked it into my pants against my back, trying to ignore the near painful shock of cold my warm skin. I tucked my tank top over it and readjusted my shitty ponytail. Time to move.
I steadied myself and slowly stood up. My knees popped and my feet ached but it felt good to stand. I slung my back pack over my shoulder and buckled it across my chest, so the weight wouldn't slow me down. I spun in a circle, transferring my flashlight to my good hand as I kept my broken arm close to my stomach. I couldn't move it much, but at least I had mobility in my hand. I needed to find a starting point, something to work off of. I scanned around. Climbing was obviously out of the question, I would only succeed in injuring myself further or actually falling to my death this time. Situationally, I was fucked...but assuming that Max was either on his way back to base camp or already there now, that meant that eventually they would be back to recover my body. I mulled over my options. I could find a way back to the area I had initially fallen or I could find my own way back to the surface and not be a sitting duck to whoever was down here with whatever intentions. My eyes stopped on the structures in front of me as they became illuminated, my mouth falling open in a gape that would catch flies.
Columns built into the ground stretched up into the darkness above and formed a path right to the biggest-impossibly big- structure I had ever seen. I moved forward slowly taking it all in. It was a pyramid made out of some sort of beautiful marble or white stone. My light glistened off of it like diamonds gleaning in the sunlight. It was perfectly geometrical and smooth. The people who had to have built this had achieved a level of precision that would only be achieved through technology today. It's apex dissapeared high above me. I stopped at the first column I came to, breaking every rule I had ever learned by running my hand down it's surface. Small incisions marred the surface and I squinted to see what they were. Jesus Christ they were hieroglyphs. I shone my light along the vertical columns of glyphs trying to pick them apart to see if I recognized any-which of course I didn't. There were a few reoccurring ones, I had noticed though. The first was a giant pyramid, much like the one in front of me, and it had ball of what I interpreted as light above it. The other was an orb-maybe the one on top of the pyramid? Hmm.
I straightened up and moved along the path, making my way towards the pyramid. I didn't know why but a familiar pull-much like the one I felt when I was searching for my anomaly-was pushing me forward urging me to proceed. I was hoping that, for whatever reason, I would find my answers ahead and maybe some clue as to who the civilization buried away underneath miles of ice was.