Artifact

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: October 02, 2018

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Submitted: October 02, 2018

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Ominous clouds blocked Jamar Tonto’s view of the sky, so he had no idea if he was being followed by the Air Force. He knew the military would go to extreme measures to track him down, but it was too late. He was almost there. His mission was almost fulfilled. As Jamar began to hike the steep mountain that blocked him from his destination, he heard the loud crash of engines. He immediately dove to the side as searchlights grazed over the very spot he had been standing at only a moment before. He sighed. Once the sound of the plane had melted into the distance, Jamar jumped to his feet, and began to run. He knew there was not enough time. The military  would find him soon enough, and hopefully he would already be in possession of the artifact. It would save him. And if he somehow failed his mission, he would be exiled from his rebellion and would surely go to prison. He needed this relic, and not just for his rebellion. He needed the abilities it enabled more than anyone.

 

As Jamar finally reached the top, he took a metal detector out of his large pack. He began to scan the ground until he heard a series of beeps, and then proceeded to dig in that location. It took him about half an hour to finally reach metal, and when he did, the temperature dropped dramatically. The wind began to stir more than before, sending a chill down his spine. Jamar pried open the trapdoor and peeked down, illuminating the floor below with his flashlight. The stone tiles were covered in a sticky substance that gleamed when the light hit it. Jamar grabbed a vine and swung to a granite platform that jutted out of the wall. He studied the goop right underneath him, touching it with a stick. The twig immediately burst into flames and disintegrated before his eyes. Jamar gasped. It was going to be difficult to succeed, but he had to.

 

Jamar grabbed a few large rocks and threw one into the substance, jumping swiftly onto it. He repeated the process, moving on to a new stone each time the old one was close to gone. He eventually made it to a long hallway that was fire-sludge free. He stepped into it, cautiously looking around. Small holes in the ground adorned the darker stones. Jamar recognized them as spike-deployers, and avoided them so as to not get stabbed and killed. The underground temple was heavily booby-trapped, but he was highly trained by the most skillful rebels. He snuck along the wall, stopping only to move the corpse of a skeleton dressed in tattered rags. He kept moving, not daring to risk trapping himself inside somehow. At each turn of the hallway, Jamar searched the next addition for fatal traps, but there were only the spikes on the floor. But even those, soon enough, stopped appearing. There seemed to be no more trouble, so Jamar became slightly careless. He sprinted down the stone hallway as fast as he could. There had to be an end. However, at each turn, another long stretch of stone accompanied him. Hopelessness seeped into his heart. There would be no escape. He was trapped.

 

Just then, though Jamar thought it was impossible, he found an end. The immense, lonely hallway led him into a large room filled with golden possessions. There were goblets filled with rubies and sapphires, and golden blades in silver sheathes. The treasure room went on and on. Right before Jamar stepped into it’s beckoning grasp, he realized a small string on the ground. It was stretched from the left wall to the right. He reached over it, grabbed a sword, and tapped the cord. A gigantic rock crashed down into the room, catapulting treasure in every direction. Another booby-trap. Jamar quickly jumped over the rope, climbed the rock, and scaled the room beyond. Finally, he found what he was looking for.

 

A polished skull sat atop a high platform. The Aurelia Hold. Long ago, a species of mermaids ruled the seas, with a beautiful creature named Aurelia as their queen. She was an amazing monarch, practicing love, happiness and peace, but it was never to be. The humans were jealous, and so they send their best soldier. A great human warrior, Atticus, came to her and pretended to love her. He spent many hours with her, letting her love for him grow and grow. He was, however, just lulling her into a trap. On the night before their marriage, he poisoned her in her sleep, ending her great legacy. The mermaids soon died out in the years following. They were grieving too much to eat or sleep, and passed on quite quickly. Misery swept over the land. And Aurelia’s body was never found. However, an ancient archaeologist named Abelard Schmidt found her skull in a deep underwater cave in the Atlantic ocean a few centuries later. He brought it back for research, but it possessed him somehow, and he soon set fire to his office and died doing Aurelia’s vengeful bidding. She only wanted revenge on the humans. The skull gave immense power to any who held it, but it also took away their freedom. And that was just what Jamar wanted. He loved being an explorer, but life was so intricate and lugubrious. He wanted to be able to let go and not have to decide anything anymore. He wanted to be free. And the Aurelia Hold would give him just that. He reached for it, letting his conscious mind slip away…

 

It took six months for the rebellion to find Jamar’s dead body. He was underwater in the very cave where Abelard Schmidt found the Aurelia Hold. Jamar, in fact, had the dusty skull in his satchel. Jamar’s old trainer, Morgan, took the skull in his thickly gloved hands, not letting it touch his skin. He wouldn’t risk ending up like Jamar. That was not a fate he wanted to behold. He brought it to his lab, studied it for a while, then carefully stashed it in a large crate. Military men, against Jamar’s wishes, were going to take the Aurelia Hold somewhere safe. Morgan took the crate outside carefully. He lifted it into a truck, then got into the passenger’s seat. And as Morgan made the slow journey to the military warehouse, he looked back at Jamar’s dead body. Jamar had always said he would someday have to sacrifice his life for the rebellion. Morgan didn’t know if this was what he meant, but Jamar was gone. His lifelong friend was dead. Morgan silently said goodbye, and in a way, he was glad. Jamar had been a highly-pressured rebel. And now, after all he had been through, Jamar was freed.

 


© Copyright 2020 Cecily Lessa. All rights reserved.

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