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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a part of a story that I've been thinking of. It started with a scene in my head and I have turned it into this thus far.

Submitted: October 17, 2011

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Submitted: October 17, 2011



Terra jumped into the still dark water, holding the gun above her head, protecting it from the element. She turned back to watch the others, "Oh, and I know the urge is hard to resist, but don't pee in the water. Gogohorns are attracted by urine."

"What are Gogohorns?" Jason asked with a confused look as he dropped slowly into the freezing water.

Terra turned with a vicious grin on her face trying to imitate the creatures' look, "Nasty little frog-like things that devour anything moving. They love urine because it attracts them to the freshest kills."

The rest of the team widened their eyes. All of them had the urge to pee, but none had the courage to go. They walked in a line, following Terra, so as not to fall into any underwater holes or into any creatures as Terra had described.

It was smooth sailing until they came upon a fork in the river. Terra stopped and brought her gun down a bit to rest her arms, "Which way now, Captain?"

Jason looked to Terra and back to his team. They urged him on and Jason lifted up his sleeve to reveal the part of the map branded into his arm, now left as a permanent reminder of the things the pirates put him through.

"The right bank if I'm reading this correctly," James cleared his throat a couple time, searching for confidence.

"Right it is," Terra continued without any hesitation.

"What if I'm wrong?" James asked quickly before she could head down the right bank.

"What if you're not?" Terra replied simply, "There's no way to know for certain, but I tend not to dwell on decisions that can be corrected. If you're wrong, then we'll come back."

"What if the pirates are here?" Harriett asked.

"Then we fight them," Terra replied again.

"A boy, a lady pirate, a retired engineer, and a scientist's aide? Fighting pirates?" Lucas clarified.

Terra smiled, "Yep."

Lucas widened his eyes at her blatancy and watched as she turned and continued down the right fork of the river. He gave James a look of confusion and shrugged his shoulders as they both followed after her.

They traveled for a while, in silence, all a bit fearful that the pirates could have gotten to the point before them. Terra became more watchful, her green eyes darting left and right, searching for dangers.

"What is that?" Harriett called up from the back of the group. They looked back at her for breaking the silence and then in the direction of her finger. Coming up on their left was a tattered, old shack.

The shack was barely held up with the wooden support beams used to keep it away from flooding waters. It seemed that with each breeze the house shifted or lost a dangling board. Terra turned around to James who lifted his sleeve up once more.

James looked down nervously, "Um..."

Lucas looked over James' shoulder and tried to help him read the map.

"Is it right, or what?" Terra asked coming up close to them.

As she grew closer James pulled his sleeve down, hiding it from Terra. He looked her in the eyes.

Terra held up her hands, flinging the gun around her shoulders, using an attachable strap, "Sorry. After all we've been through I thought you might have changed. I get the hint. Is this place, or not?"

Lucas looked up and traced his own weapon pulling his aim over to Terra, "There seems to be half of a house here, but it's impossible to say. This might be it. It might not be."

Terra looked back at the ruined shack, "I guess there is only one real way to find out."

Terra waved her arm indicating they move toward the shack. She reached its old wooden steps and took the first. The stepped creaked loudly. The group winced at the noise.

"All right, this place is going to fall apart at any second. No wrong moves. Follow my steps and hopefully you won't fall through the floor," Terra whispered.

"Hopefully?" Lucas whispered back up to her.

"I can't speak for you, Big Boy," Terra nodded to him.

"Why are we whispering?" Harriett asked from behind Lucas.

The group looked at each other for a moment and shrugged. Terra turned back up the stairs and pulled her gun from behind her back. She placed her finger on the trigger as she grew closer to the door. The door itself was weathered away, but the hinges seemed to still be intact. Terra held her hand up and placed it gently onto the door.

Terra looked back at the group. She nodded at Lucas who came up around James slowly, careful not to fall through the wood, and come up alongside the other side of the door. The door opened slowly. Terra moved forward cautiously using her foot to prop the door open as she brought up her assault rifle.

"What do you think you are going to find?" Lucas whispered, raising his own gun and aiming into the darkness of the shack.

"Three bears. Perhaps a girl with golden locks," Terra said stepping into the dark home quietly.

Lucas smiled a bit at the joke and followed her in. He crossed behind her and covered the other half of the room that she could not.

"All clear over here," Lucas called out and turned to face Terra who was standing still staring at something on the wall.

James and Harriet followed them in, holding hands, and comforting each other.

Terra nodded to the wall, "Ever see anything like this?"

Lucas joined Terra's side and brought up a flashlight revealing a series of numbers carved into the wood of the wall. Broken boards cut off some of the numbers where they laid somewhere on the floor. The highest number was twenty-six and some of the numbers were spaced differently from the others.

"It's a numerical code. 26. That means it must line up with the alphabet somehow," Harriett stepped forward and examined the numbers.

"26 would be Z right?" James said coming up beside Terra.

Terra shook her head, "No. Look at how many times it shows up. No sentence uses a Z that much."

"Reverse alphabet?" James turned back amazed by the observation Terra had made.

Terra raised her brow a bit, "Write it down and hurry. I don't want to be in one place for too long."

Terra moved back into the house searching for more clues or even something that might be able to help them. Lucas left the book work to the kids and followed Terra.

"That was pretty impressive," Lucas whispered so that the kids could not hear him.

Terra stopped her search and turned to Lucas. Facing him directly with her eyes locked on his, "Surprised?"

Lucas cleared his throat and nodded, "A little, I mean, you are a pirate."

Terra laughed and stepped closer to Lucas, "I am not a pirate. I prefer private entrepreneur, but to answer your curiosity, yes, I do have the ability to retain learned information for such occasions. Do not believe you were the only one to attend a college."

Lucas had no idea what to say in return. All he could think was what he said, "I'm sorry."

Terra shook off his apology and returned to her search, "Are you guys almost done?"

Lucas turned back to the kids, noting a harsher tone in Terra's voice, and he saw that the kids heard it too.

"We are getting the last numbers now," Harriett said with an louder and equal tone.

James finished writing on a journal in his hand and closed the pages, "Done."

"Good," Terra started back to the door, but stopped as the entire building started to shake.

"This place is going to fall apart with us in it. Move," Lucas said coming to the door, but Terra held out her hand. Stopping all of them from exiting.

"That wasn't the building," Terra said, holding very still and listening.

"I'm an engineer. I think I know what a collapsing building sounds like," Lucas yelled.

Terra turned and faced him, blocking his path with her body. She stared him in the eyes with fierce green ones, determined not to let them through, "And I'm a pirate, okay. I have field experience."

Lucas calmed down a bit, "What do we do?"

Terra held her hand up again. This time she touched Lucas' chest, causing him to lose his focus.

"What are you doing?" Lucas whispered at Terra.

"Shhh..." Terra listened, searching the empty house for noises.

Then it struck. From above a flurry of boards came flying in followed by a large black limb crashing through roof of the rickety house right toward Terra and Lucas with the kids right behind him.

Terra took little time to plan her actions. Using the hand that was pressed on Lucas' chest, she forced him and the kids behind him, back and away from the incoming danger, but in doing so, Terra was struck herself and sent flying with the object out through the other side of the house.

Lucas fell back into the kids, pushing them to safety. As Terra was flung out the door, he called out to her, but it was too late. She was gone.

"What is this thing?" Lucas grabbed his pistol and ran out of the destroyed shack, but his jaw dropped at the size and sight of the attacker.

Before him stood a huge, black scaled lizard with large, glowing yellow eyes and unnatural fangs dangling outside its jaws. It stood back on two legs with another four limbs extended outward breaking loose boards that had managed to splinter themselves into the giant reptile's extremely long tail. The creature made a dreadful hissing noise as it turned to face Lucas.

The creature turned its entire body slowly, bobbing its head up and down, watching Lucas who quickly drew his gun and started to fire on the beast's head and torso. The beast recoiled and hissed louder. It bared his fangs and opened its mouth to strike. Lucas looked up in fear at the ease at which the reptile's skin deflected his bullets.

Raising its head over him the lizard opened his mouth to the widest it could be and allowed its forked tongue to shoot out and whip the air. Lucas froze.

"Hey ugly!" came a voice from behind the lizard. Both the lizard and Lucas looked at the source. Lucas was relieved to see Terra for the first time.

Terra pulled up her assault rifle and aimed at the lizard's eyes. One shot exited the chamber of the gun before the thick swamp water managed to jam it, but the one shot was all she needed to blind the lizard in its right eye as it turned to face her.

The lizard screamed out in agony and started thrashing about in the water. Lucas stood confused as the creature grew dangerously close to the crippled shack. Terra took her advantage and moved as fast as she could through the water, back toward the shack.

The lizard's tail came down and smacked into the water. Terra did not miss a beat. In the moment she had, Terra leapt over the tail arms extended outward in a diving motion and sailed over the submerged tail right before it whipped back out of the water and into a part of the shack or the tree line surrounding the river.

Terra wasted no time getting up from the dive and continuing as fast as she could, through the water toward the shack, Lucas, and the kids.

"Kids, let's go!" Terra yelled as she viewed them stepping out of the shack to Lucas' side.

They looked up at Lucas, wondering if they should trust her, but Lucas hurried them along, "Yes. Go! Go!"

All three of them jumped from the shack porch as best they could into the river water. Boards broke off and followed them in, but they were harmless compared to the giant lizard that was now soaking its head into the water to ease the loss of its eye.

Their landings into the water were sloppy and they stumbled and fell over into the water. Terra finally caught up to them and pulled them one by one away from the shack and pushed them in front of her down the river. The kids complied without a word and starting running as best they could further down the right bank.

Terra grabbed Lucas, but he returned with the same grasp on her own, "We don't really have time for this."

"You could have let the lizard kill me and taken the James," Lucas yelled over the horror noises of the lizard.

"Now where would be the fun in that?" Terra smiled, which surprised Lucas in this chaos and caused him to loosen his grip on her arm, while Terra pulled him behind her after the kids.

Lucas regained some of himself and Terra let go of him as they ran further down the river.

"Into the trees!" Terra ran looking back at the creature.

Everyone followed orders and ran for the tree line, but James turned back as Terra did and faltered. James was caught off guard by the size of lizard and the fact that the creature was now hissing in anger and staring at them with the eye it had left.

The way it moved mesmerized James and he stopped moving toward the trees and stood in the river, watching and waiting to see what it would do next. He could not see it slowly moving toward him, but only stared at the one yellow eye that continued to watch him.

The rest of the group reached the tree line and ran between the thick brush. Harriett collapsed, out of breath, onto a fallen tree and tried to calm herself down, "What the hell was that thing?"

"Language," Lucas warned, instinctually.

Terra took in a deep breath and looked at each of her companions, "Where's James?"

From the river behind them came a scream to answer her question. Without another thought Terra took off in a run back to the river's edge where he came upon the sight of James wrapped in the still splintered tail of the enormous lizard. He yelled out, the spell broken, and tried to squirm from its grasp.

The lizard pulled James closer to its mouth and, in his most extreme fear, James peed himself. The liquid could be seen dripping down the beast's tail and into the water. Almost immediately afterward there came several deep horn sounds from up the river.

Terra's eyes widened and turned up river. Lucas and Harriett joined her. First they saw James in trouble and then noticed the noise. Lucas swallowed his fear and took a step toward the river, but Terra held out her hand and stopped him. This time Lucas took the hint and remained on the muddy bank.

"Are those the-?" Harriett began, but cut herself off.

Terra nodded in silent response and turned back to James who was now only inches from the mouth of the lizard with the Gogohorns fast approaching. If the lizard did not manage to kill him then the Gogohorns most certainly would.

James looked over to Lucas, Harriett, and Terra on the bank with teary eyes. He was afraid, but mostly disappointed. Disappointed that he would never find Captain Irun's treasure. He closed his eyes remembering the events that lead up to this, his death, but then something snapped in his mind and he opened his eyes once more.

Using what little mobility the lizard's tail gave his arms, James unbuttoned his jeans. From the bank they watched, James' hands blocked by the lizard as his pants fell to his ankles.

"What is he doing?" Lucas asked aloud.

Terra watched, "This kid is some kind of genius."

The group continued to watch as from the lower half of James' body shot a small stream of water into the mouth and all over the body of the oversized reptile. The creature recoiled in distaste, but did not drop James, which was not what James was trying to achieve.

Seconds after he finished spraying the monster it screamed out in agony and released James' body from its tail and let him drop six feet back into the river water now swarming with Gogohorns. Terra took a step forward to help, but was grabbed by Lucas this time.

They waited with held breath for James to resurface. When it seemed hopeless, Harriett finally spotted him, and pointed at the water, "There! James!"

James broke out of the water and looked up, back at the lizard. The black lizard was now spotted with yellow marks, each different shapes and sizes. As the water left his vision, James could see that they were yellow creatures with long back legs and no front ones. There were two long stocks where big black eyes sat and a large mouth coated with sharp, jagged teeth. These were the Gogohorns.

The Gogohorns covered the lizard's body and unlike Lucas' bullets before, these tiny creatures were drawing blood from its body. James did not give running a second thought and started swimming as fast as he could back to the shore.

Terra ran into the water till it was up to her knees, avoiding Lucas' grasp, and held out her hand to help him, "Come on, James."

The cries of the lizard ceased and was covered up by the obnoxious honking of the Gogohorns. James refused to look back and just kept swimming. Sounds of splashing behind him became worrisome. He thought he could feel something pulling on his still lowered jeans so he kicked harder, closing his eyes to concentrate, and reaching out his hands as far as he could when slap!

James stopped and looked up, but could not see a thing as he was dragged forward and water coated his body. He held his breath until he could no longer feel the water as felt sticky, solid ground beneath him and the sound of the Gogohorns subsiding.

He caught his breath and opened his eyes to the image of Harriett and Lucas sitting beside him, helping him. James was helped up by Lucas and took the time to pull up his pants, "We have to get out of here."

"As long as we stay on the bank, we're fine," came Terra voice from behind him.

James looked back to see Terra with a Gogohorn attached to her leg, "Oh my god."

Lucas went from James to help Terra, but Terra only held up her hand to stop him from touching it. She winced a bit and pointed, "Watch."

They sat in silence, watching the creature as it began to choke and gag. It opened its mouth and let go of her leg. Blood seeped out slowly, but Terra kept focused on the single Gogohorn. It struggled on the bank of the river and continued to convulse and make dying noises. Then slowly it stopped.

"Gogohorns need the water to live. When out of the water they dry up pretty quickly and die," Terra explained and looked down at her leg.

"You saved me," James said to Terra.

"I saved the map," Terra said simply.

Lucas tried to reach over and help Terra with her leg, but she pulled away. He tried again, but the same reaction.

"You need help," Harriett said.

"I need a lot of things," Terra replied, "But this can wait."

"Not my diagnosis," Lucas uttered.

"Are you a doctor or an engineer?" Terra snapped back at him.

Lucas recoiled from her harshness. He looked back at Harriett and James who were comforting each other. Hugging and making up for lost time.

"The sun is setting and we are not going anywhere with the Gogohorns in this part of the river. We will use what's left of the shack for shelter and head out down the bank in the morning," Terra ordered.

No one disagreed. With the Gogohorns now viciously devouring the once ten foot tall lizard and the exhaustion from the ordeal setting in; it was a good idea to call it a night. Harriett helped James to his feet and they walked together in tandem down the banks of the river with Terra using all her energy to stop Lucas from helping her walk.

Momentarily they reached the smashed shack and made what arrangements they could for the night. Lucas took the time to build a fire from the debris around the shack. Metal scraps and plates formed the base. Splinters of wood from the ruckus before served as the kindling and thicker boards became the fire.

Harriett collected downed drapes and left behind cloths for makeshift beds for herself and James. She even managed to collect a few into a pile for Terra and James to make one bed for the both of them to share while switching between watch shifts.

While everyone prepared for the night, Terra took the time to wrap a tourniquet a couple inches above the bite wound. It slowed the blood flow which allowed Terra to try to wrap the wound from infection. Woozy from her blood loss, Terra found it difficult and ended up tossing away the cloth for her bandages.

"Need help?" came a voice from the other side of the fire.

Terra jumped slightly, surprised someone else was watching her. On the other side of the fire she saw Lucas, prodding the sticks to keep them burning. He placed the stick to the side and walked around the fire. He picked up Terra's tossed away bandages and sat next to her injured leg.

"It will be-" Terra started to reject his help, but Lucas shot her a look that silenced her quickly.

Lucas began to work in the silence, adjusting the tourniquet a smidge, and then wrapping the injury. He worked slowly, but carefully. He included the whole wound in the wrap and tied it so that it would remain covering the injury, but not cause any pain.

Terra laid her head back against the wall she used to prop herself up and watched until he finished, "Thanks."

Lucas cleaned his hands as best he could and nodded in appreciation of her thanks. After he was satisfied, Lucas rejoined Terra and sat beside her, leaning his back against the shack wall.

"I should really thank you for saving James' life and my own," Lucas spoke quietly so as not to wake the kids sleeping just out of the light of the fire.

Terra sighed loudly, "I told you. I was just saving the map."

Lucas turned his head and looked over at Terra who avoided his eye contact, "But the map ended here."

Terra was silent for a moment, "The numbers."

Lucas laughed a bit, "I saw the way you were looking at the wall. You have those numbers memorized and perhaps even the puzzle solved."

Terra said nothing and Lucas continued, "Besides, you saved me."

"Is there some kind of point you are trying to get to?" Terra snapped back at him.

Lucas stopped talking and paused. Terra took the time to think of what she said, "Listen, I didn't come here to become best friends. I'm sorry if I mislead you."

Lucas raised a brow, "Pirate."

Terra turned her expression to him angrily, "What the hell does that mean?"

Lucas smiled at her reaction and answered her question calmly, "If you have mislead me, meaning you have lied, then what you are really telling me is that you are not a private entrepreneur. You are a pirate."

Terra shook her head in disagreement, but could not reply to contradict him. Terra looked up to the open roof of the shack, "Maybe you're right. Navigare horizontem. Lorem astris."

Lucas looked through the shattered roof too, "It sounds beautiful. What does it mean?"

"Sail to the horizon. Touch the stars," Terra returned her gaze to Lucas who sat beside her, "That is why. My father was old fashioned. With the advances in science he never once considered buying a space ship. It was frustrating watching the world pass him by and one day I asked him. Why not take the skies like he had taken the oceans? You know what he said?"

"I'm afraid of heights," Lucas joked, but zipped his laughter as Terra finished her story.

"No," Terra mumbled, "He told me, 'Darling, the seas are mine. I worked hard for them, but the skies, those can belong to you. You can sail to the end of that horizon and touch the stars and claim every single one for your own.' He was a dreamer."

Lucas listened carefully and when Terra finished he started laughing again. Terra looked over at him angrily, "What could I have said that was that funny?"

Lucas finished laughing, "You. After that story I don't think I could fear you anymore."

Terra scoffed and tried to push herself up from the wall, "That's it. That is the last time that I share anything with anyone."

Lucas reached up and grabbed Terra before she could get anywhere and slowly pulled her back down beside him, actually even closer than before, their bodies touching now, "Come on. What I meant was it is nice to see you have a dream like everyone else who is invested in this and I am also glad that it isn't something insane like world power like your pirate buddies."

"They are not my buddies," Terra emphasized the word 'not', "When you are on your own, one normally does what they can to protect themselves from dangers and most times that means picking sides and the winning side is the most appealing."

Lucas noted a sense of disappointment, but he ignored it and tried to cheer her up, "Well, I will have to say that I am glad you considered us a winning side."

Terra lowered her head, eyeing the floor of the shack, she thought to herself leaving a silence, but then filling it briefly, "Lucas..."

Before Terra could finish her thought there came laughter from the darkness on the opposite side of the fire, "Winners get where they need to, Mr. Lucas, was it?"

Lucas jumped up startled, holding out his pistol at the darkness as the consistent sound of footsteps made their way toward them, into the shack and into the light of the fire. It was a group of seven or more pirates lead by one in particular who was decorated in a bright red jacket and peg leg. These were the pirates who had been chasing them, but they hardly met his expectations.

The pirates behind the one in the red jacket were old and carried their own varying characteristics, but it was the one in front, the one that dressed the part of the captain that confused him.

The captain was younger, much younger, than the rest of the crew and looked very much to be about Terra's age. Mid twenties, perhaps. He approached Lucas confidently, "What are you thinking? Starting a fire fight up here? One verse eight?"

Lucas looked from the young captain to the group behind him, counting them, but every time he did it added up to seven. Then the recognized sound of a gun clicking behind him. Lucas kept his gun pointed forward at the boy captain and turned his head to find the source of the sound. He was shocked to find Terra holding up a pistol Lucas had never seen before.

"Drop the gun, Lucas," Terra said with a darkened expression on her face.

Lucas stopped for a moment and shook his head as he dropped his pistol to the floor. The resounding sound as it hit the wooden floor shook woke the kids in a fright.

Harriett was the first to take in the situation, "Terra! What are you doing? You pirate!"

Terra glared at Harriett, hearing the word pirate, but turned her attention to James who sat staring up at her with the look of sheer disappointment on his face. Terra looked down and away and returned her gaze to Lucas.

"Oh this is too good," the boy captain said.

"Silence," Terra interrupted, "Give me my jacket and remove that stupid thing."

The boy immediately shut up and removed the jacket. He reached out, giving her the jacket and Terra snatched it out of his hand. Leaving her gun pointed at Lucas, she managed to dress herself, bringing the jacket over the gun hand and slipping it on to the other side. The boy kicked off the wooden peg from his leg and shrugged at Terra's lack of humor.

"Terra," Lucas tried to call out to her, but stopped as Terra held the gun up hire, aiming for his head.

"Lucas, Harriett, James. I would like you to meet my crew," Terra introduced. In seconds Terra had developed a harsher attitude and untouchable confidence.

"I can't believe you," Lucas said as the kids joined his side, all three of them with their arms held up in surrender.

Terra tilted her head to the side in disbelief, "What can't you believe? The fact that I am a pirate or that I will do anything to make my father's dream for me come true? Anything more you say here is invalid, but I will leave you with one thing: The one who passes through must know the word for the point of no return."

"Captain?" the boy said from behind Terra.

"Everyone back onto the row. We are getting out of here and heading up river," Terra commanded.

"I shall take care of these punks," the young boy said.

Terra turned in a fierce motion, "Those were not the orders I gave, First Mate. You have gotten loose and lax with your behavior. Correct it, immediately, or you will be the one left behind in this desolate jungle."

The boy swallowed his confidence and turned to face the men in this awkward moment. He waved his arm in the air, doing some hand motions, and in response the men started doing what they were told.

Terra turned back to the group of three and looked each one of them in the eye, taking in their vivid emotions: Harriett showed mainly anger, and James showed only disappointment. Lucas was the only one to show sadness to Terra.

It caught her by surprise, but she hid her emotions well. As her crew gathered together onto the row boats that they had taken up river, she approached them, "Don't take it personally. I could not escape from Hunter's brig alone and I appreciate all you have done up to here, but this is where we split. Thanks for the help."

"Get the hell out of here," Lucas said in all seriousness.

Terra said nothing more and turned around, lowering the gun back into a holster woven into the inside of the red trench jacket, "Watch your language."

"Nunc hic de Inferno," Lucas repeated, but in Latin this time, "Dilexi vos."

Terra had dropped down onto the row boat by this time and when she heard his Latin, froze, as she stood in the boat, turned with surprise on her face as her crew began to paddle up the river and her once companions as they disappeared along with the light of the fire.


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