Indiana Jones and the Lair of the Horned Serpent
By Mark Renshaw
Indiana Jones paused, taking one last moment to check his gear. He would rather open the Ark of the Covenant and bear the breath of God than step through this door. He had to admit, it did feel good to be wearing his work clothes again, though. The end of the war became the end of overseas field trips for a while. He had kept himself in shape, but still, there was a sense of relief when his fedora fit snugly on his head, his brown leather jacket slipped over his shoulders, and his pants fastened without having to suck in the gut. Then there were the essential accessories - small pouches and pockets discreetly positioned within easy gloved reach all over his person. Powders, small tools and tiny vials filled with liquid – each had numerous applications from cleaning his gun to dismantling traps. For the more considerable complications he encountered in his line of work there was his trusty bullwhip which dangled loosely over his right hip, while on his left hung a holstered Webley MK VI pistol.
Pressing close to the wooden panel he listened carefully, the question of why he had agreed to do this still lingering in his mind. He could detect nothing but stony silence. Somehow this made him feel worse. Taking a deep breath to steady himself, he gently pushed the door open and stepped inside.
Indy tiptoed to the centre of the room like he was avoiding pressure pads.
"Oh sir, you look so… different! It's weird!" blurted out one of his students. The outburst brought the rest of his class out of their stunned silence.
"Sir, is that a gun?" said one.
"Wow a whip, what do you use that for?" asked another.
This was followed by a chorus of questions, comments and even a couple of wolf whistles. Indy smiled nervously. He tried to answer their questions, get them to calm down, but they were on a roll, too young, too eager to stop. Every word which stumbled from his lips was drowned out by further questions. He became self-conscious, realising he was slouching, his shoulders hunched down, his entire body language none threatening. This was how the teacher stood. Here and now however in these clothes he wasn't a college professor, he was Indiana Jones the world-renowned, respected and in some quarters feared archaeologist!
He stood tall, shoulders back, chin up. His hand whisked down to his belt with practised ease, lifting his bullwhip loose. He flipped it back behind him, the class stunned into silence. It was tight quarters, but he'd performed this manoeuvres thousands of times and in worse conditions. In a blink of an eye, his arm lashed forward, the whip straight and true. It travelled at tremendous speed, reaching the end of its length with a loud crack as it hit a wooden sign hanging on the wall which read, "Serpent Mound Visitors Centre." The sign shattered on impact
Indy dragged his whip back towards him, looping it around his wrist as he did so. "Sorry. I meant to knock it off the wall." Indy muttered to the slack-jawed janitor who had let them in.
The janitor gulped. "That's, that's fine, sir. We needed a new one anyway!" He scampered forwards, gathering up the pieces of the sign.
"Add it to the tab, will ya?"
"Yeah, yeah, sure." said the janitor over his shoulder as he scurried out.
"That… was so cool!" gasped Jeff. Jeff was a bit on the chubby side (some of the students called him chunk), but he had a kind heart and a passion for archaeology. All of the students did, otherwise they wouldn't be on this field trip. The war had an impact on everyone's pockets. Even with the subsidies, the school managed to negotiate, the students were still required to pay their own way. It was no surprise that only eight could make the trip. Indy was pleased to note it wasn't just the kids with daddy's deep pockets to fall back on. Four from his class, in particular, showed great promise. Once things settled down, and the economy was back on track, he would make sure their parents got refunds.
Indy was keen to get the next generation interested in field study. That was why he'd agreed to lead this field trip and why, with reluctance, he donned gear more suited for the deep Amazon or the Sahara desert. He felt overdressed wearing such an outfit in Ohio.
He realised he's been daydreaming, the class staring at him in new-found awe. "Now that I have your undivided attention," he announced. "Can anyone tell me the first rule of going out into the field?"
"P. P. P…Preparation!" shouted Dean.
This brought a brief burst of giggles from his classmates. Unfortunately, Dean Sutter had a speech impediment. The students here were better with him than most, but with a surname that rhymed with a stutter, this provided far too much temptation for those just itching to pick on the different guy.
"And what is the first rule of preparing for a field trip?"
"Research, Sir," replied Dawn with a husky voice. Indy suspected she had a crush on him. Part of him felt flattered, the rest cringed in embarrassment. He had reached an age where a college student's admiring glances felt more uncomfortable than the steely gaze of a Nazi.
"Precisely," he replied while avoiding direct eye contact. "So, what is Serpent Mound?"
Jeff's hand shot up. Indy motioned for him to speak.
Standing up, Jeff cleared his throat. "Serpent Mound is the largest serpent effigy known to this day. It stretches a quarter of a mile long, averages three feet in height and is in the shape of an uncoiling serpent. The mound was built over a unique cryptoexplosive structure that had caused the effigy to become misshapen through the years."
Jeff sat down beaming, pleased with himself.
"And who built the mound?"
Dawn raised her arm. "The Adena Culture, sir."
"Not quite." Her smile turned into a scowl quicker than Marion could throw a punch at his jaw. Ignoring her pout, he went into lecture mode. "We have evidence the Adena culture lived here, yes, but there is also evidence of other Native American inhabitants. These include the Hopewell Culture, the Fort Ancient culture, and legends of a previously undocumented race known as the Allegewi People." Indy motioned towards an overhead picture of Serpent Mound which hung on the wall.
The mound itself was an artificial hill built with mud and rock then covered in grass. At its base, the mound had been shaped to appear like a triple coiled tail of a snake. For the next seven hundred feet, the body of the snake wound back and forth until it reached the head, which was stretched out in a gentle curve, ending with open jaws around the east end of a lengthwise one hundred twenty foot hollow oval feature. It appeared that the snake was devouring a giant egg.
"We don't assume anything," Indy continued. "In archaeology, we gather evidence and publish theories. Indy pointed to the picture. "The head of the snake is aligned to the summer solstice sunset… "
"Which is today!" interrupted Jeff
"Which is today," continued Indy. "And the coils down here align with the winter solstice sunrise. Although Serpent Mound is now a tourist attraction, we have been given permission by this Historical Society of Ohio to spend the day excavating this site."
Indy silently thanked Marcus Brody for using his influence. Thanks to him, they had free reign of this site for the day. He'd even arranged for trenches at each end of the site so the students wouldn't waste most of the day.
Indy turned to face his students, placing both hands on his hips. "Ninety-nine percent of archaeology involves getting down on your hands and knees in dust, mud and wet clay. Using brushes, tools and a whole lotta patience, archaeologists bring history back into the sunlight one minute spec at a time. That's what we'll be doing today. I'll be splitting you up into two teams. One will excavate the tail and the other the head. Any questions?"
Jeff's hand shot up again.
Indy sighed. "Yeah?"
"If that's all there is to fieldwork then why do you carry a gun and a whip?"
Indy smirked. "Because the other one percent of archaeology is dangerous." Indy paced the room as he spoke. "The rarest of antiquities, the holiest of relics; these can only be found hidden in the deepest jungles, the darkest caves and the highest mountains. You'll have to be careful to avoid causing trouble with the local tribes, and you'll be up against tomb raiders who are motivated by greed, power and won't hesitate to kill anyone in their way." The class were mesmerized by Indy's words. While Indy described dangers beyond belief, they could only see glory and adventure. "Even after you've dealt with all these dangers, the artefact in question is quite often held deep inside some sort of complex filled with deadly…"
"Booby traps?" blurted out, Jonathan.
Jonathan was fascinated with Ancient Egyptian Pyramids, in particular, the complicated booby traps the Egyptians invented to protect the treasure buried with their King's sarcophagus. Jonathan reminded Indy of his old sidekick. Not just because he was Asian-American. It was the way he spoke sometimes That comment was precisely the sort of thing Short Round would have said. "Yeah, kid, booby traps."
The rest of the day saw Indy moving from both groups, monitoring their progress while providing insights into the different cultures who had used it as a burial ground. He knew the most they could hope to achieve was to find a few pieces of pottery fragments, yet even the tiniest piece of history unearthed had the chance of shedding new light on the great mysteries of time. A single fragment could help solve the puzzle at another site half-way across the world.
They made decent progress, and by the end of the day, Team Tail had discovered the top half of the pentagonal flint knife. Indy was pleasantly surprised. He'd put the rich kids together in this team and lowered his expectations accordingly. Congratulating them on their find, Indy instructed them to pack-up and head back to the Visitors Centre while he went to collect Team Head.
The sun hung low in the sky by the time he turned the now-familiar bend to the snake's head and stopped in his tracks. Team Head, the more promising group, comprised of Dawn, Dean, Jonathan and Jeff, yet the trench was deserted, their tools left on the ground.
He rushed over, shouting their names. There was no response, no signs of a struggle or any tracks leading away. Indy searched around, his thoughts racing into dangerous territory. Where had they gone! There was no way they could have wandered past him; the layout of the land made that impossible.
Something out of place caught the corner of his eye. It was a dark depression in the ground about twenty yards to the right in the shade of a large tree. At first, he thought it was a trick of the fading light, but as he approached, Indy realised it was a gaping hole. Rushing over, he realised this was not a natural depression. A set of stone steps lead down into a pit of darkness. The discovery startled him. Nothing in the records of this sits even hinted at the existence of an underground chamber. How had this opened and why now?
Indy shouted into the shadows, only his echo replied. He was gripped by indecision. Logically, he had to assume his students were down there. If he went for help though and they were in trouble, he may be too late. He noted the sunlight had almost crossed past the orb-shaped depression clasped in the head of the snake mound. This raised the possibility the solstice had triggered the opening. His deductions were confirmed, when a low rumbling noise diverted his attention to the grass and the shrubbery inching their way at a snail's pace over the hole.
All doubts removed, he swept into action. He snapped several branches off a nearby tree, then launched himself through the entrance before it became too small for him to squeeze through.
Indy crouched down a few steps below, ripping pieces of cloth from his shirt and pants as the last glimmer of daylight disappeared before the entrance sealed with a clunk. Wrapping the fabric around the branches, he surmised the stairway must have opened when the first ray of the summer solstice sunset touched the head of the mound. In his mind, he could see the slab opening, the students crowding around the entrance fascinated. Being young and foolish (like he was at that age, he reminded himself) they crept inside for a peak, then something had happened, something which trapped them inside. He just hoped they weren't injured or worse.
Enveloped in darkness, he plucked a vial from his pouch and dripped the contents over the cloth. Flipping his lighter with one hand, he ignited his make-shift torch, which illuminated his surroundings. The flickering light revealed more steps. Indy took a deep breath. "Here goes nothin." He plunged into the unknown.
Indy counted sixty steps, with more to go, when he heard a low rumbling noise, followed by there was a loud click nearby. Reaching the last step, he found himself in a wide tunnel. The walls were covered with densely packed clay that was smooth to the touch while the floor was made up of a series of small cobble shaped stones sealed together with the same clay. Decades of experience made him scour the floor for pressure points and check the walls for signs of any nasty surprises. The rumbling returned. Indy glanced back to see the exit sealing. This was now a one-way trip. A nearby scream forced him to put caution to one side. He ran down the last few steps, turning a corner. Ahead there was light which revealed several bobbing shadows heading towards him. "Stay where you are," he warned. "Don't move! I'll come to you."
Indy crept forward, realising the light in the tunnel had become clear enough to see without his torch with an obvious source of the illumination. This allowed him to reach his wayward students quickly. Dawn hugged him fiercely while four voices all talked simultaneously. "Calm down, one at a time!" said Indy as he extradited himself from Dawn's grip. Dean took a deep breath, steadying himself to speak, but Indy didn't have time for a stutter filled explanation. "Not you, you!" said Indy pointing to Jeff, "What happened?"
Jeff confirmed Indy's theory of the ground opening, tempting them to step inside. Jeff had a torch, so he had led the way. Their intention was to explore to the end of the steps, so they had something to report when he returned. Before they knew it a stone slab had closed behind them blocking the way back. They had screamed themselves horse to no avail. Then when they had given up hope, Dr Jones appeared.
"So, let's get out of here while we still can!" pleaded Dawn.
"The way is blocked, and I don't think it will be opening for a while," Indy explained to the students his theory about the summer solstice sunset opening the entrance.
"We're trapped in here until next year?" gasped Jonathan.
"Surely the others will come looking for us? If we just sit tight, they should dig us out. said, Dawn
"I doubt it," replied Indy. "This site's had visitors for hundreds of years and no-one had the faintest idea about these tunnels. I couldn't hear you at all outside, so I think this place is pretty well soundproofed."
"Oh my God, are we going to die?" said Dawn with a touch of hysteria in her voice.
"D..d…d….die!" stuttered Dean.
"No-one is dying," stated Indy. He silently hoped this was true. "I'm going to explore ahead, alone!" This brought a fresh wave of protests students. "No buts, it's too dangerous. I'll go ahead. You stay here and don't touch anything!"
Indy shut himself off from all distractions to concentrate on his surroundings. Where was the light coming from? Moving closer to the walls, he examined the stones. Definitely not natural, these were man-made. They were round, smooth and almost identical to each other. Each stone contained dozens of tiny holes which hosed a small luminous stone. This must be where the light was coming from. Although tempted, he dare not extract any of them in-case it triggered a trap. A clicking sound interrupted his thought. It was followed by whirring noises from further down the tunnel. He glared at his students. "Which one of you touched something?"
As one they shook their heads. "I didn't touch nothing!" declared Jonathan
"What was that noise?" asked Jeff. "I'm beginning to hate strange noises!"
Peering down the tunnel, Indy he saw a vaguely familiar shape on the wall. "Stay here," he ordered before carefully making his way source of the clicking. To his surprise, it was what he first surmised, an hourglass. It was mounted via a wooden shaft in the middle of the wall. The thick glass contained dark red sand deep enough to fill the lower half of the globe. As if waiting for his arrival, the hourglass rotated a couple of degrees clockwise. "No!" shouted Indy. He gripped each side to stop it from moving further. He didn't know what would happen when it turned, but he knew from experience it wasn't going to be fun. His efforts were in vain, the hourglass clicked another couple of degrees. "Don't just stand there help me!" he barked.
The urgency in his voice broke them out of their spell. They surged forward, splitting into teams of two positioned on both sides of the hourglass with Indy the centre "That's it," he urged. "Whatever you do, stop it from rotating. "The turn speed slowed to a crawl but didn't stop. Everyone grunted under the pressure as the hourglass reached halfway which made the first few grains of slide downward
"Push harder!" ordered Jeff
"You push harder. I'm pushing as hard as I can!" said Jonathan from the opposite side.
"P..P...P...Pull!" stuttered Dean from Jeff's left.
"What are you talking about?" sweat poured off Dawn's brow head, and her eyes were squeezed shut. "You can't both push you, idiots." She gasped a lungful of air. "You're on opposite sides!"
Jeff was breathing hard. "You... pull then."
"No, I'm pushing, you pull," ordered Jonathan.
"Will someone… " interrupted Indy as his muscles felt like they would pop. "Please decide who's pushing." He had considered breaking the glass, somehow the thought of all the sand pouring out seemed a worse idea than letting the timer run its course."
"It won't stop!" shouted Dawn
"I'm sli…sli… slipping!" gasped Dean. He lost his grip and fell landing squarely on his behind with a grunt. The hour-glass completed its one hundred and eighty-degree turn.
"What now?" asked Dawn.
"I told you to pull!" shouted Jonathan.
"I was pushing, you should have pulled!" barked back, Jeff.
"Enough!" Indy held up his hand for silence. Behind the walls and underneath the floor, he detected the sound of ancient mechanisms clanking and whirring into action.
Peering closer at the hour-glass, he weighed-up the amount of sand still lodged in the upper half. From his shirt pocket, Indy extracted a scratched gold watch with a bent casing. Flicking the lid open and counting the seconds ticked as they ticked by, he estimated they had about twenty minutes. Twenty minutes to get out of here before something terrible happened.
"Listen up!" He flicked the watch lid shut and returned it to his pocket. "You all follow me, single file. Step exactly where I step and don't touch anything!"
"But I thought you said we had to stay here." started Dawn.
"I changed my mind, come on!"
In no mood for further questions, Indy took the lead. They crept down the tunnel, expecting dire consequences with every step.
They reached the end of the corridor without incident, turning into an adjacent tunnel branching off to the left. As Indy lead on he marvelled at the ingenuity of this place. The tunnels were not naturally formed, this was obvious from the clay and stone lining the walls and floor. From the pre-trip research, he knew the Serpent Effigy mound was located on a plateau with a unique cryptoexplosion structure that contains faulted and folded bedrock. This was produced by a meteorite or a volcanic explosion from tens of thousands of years ago. Everyone assumed the mound itself was artificial, yet this find indicated the crater went deeper than anyone imagined and at least some of the plateau itself was artificial to hide the tunnels. Several documented excavations had been carried out on and around the mound over the past hundred years. Nothing in their findings even hinted that anything might be hidden underneath.
Indy scanned the walls for any markers to indicate which race constructed this place. In his experience, the ancient peoples were just as proud of their creations as artists of today. They like to leave their mark or signature. There would be some symbols around here somewhere, something which stated, I did this! He just had to keep an eye out for it. Once he had an idea of who built this and why it could help him figure a way out.
They reached the end of the second tunnel, with a turn to the right into another tunnel. At first glance, it appeared identical to the other, but something tingled Indies danger sense. He held his hand up for the students to halt
"What is it?" asked Dawn.
"There's something different about the light. Can't you see? It's flickering slightly as if something is, wait a minute, look at the walls?"
The walls were glistening slightly. Indy inspected more closely. He took off a glove, rubbing his hand on the bare stone. The walls were wet and somewhat sticky. He rubbed his fingers together. The moisture had an oily texture. Glancing up he could see some of the stone was partially covered in a thin, greyish moss and tiny droplets of moisture were coursing down the wall. In the moss Indy just make out small luminous insects crawling around. The light from their abdomens matched the colour of the jewels embedded in the stone.
Indy searched his pockets for some loose change. He flicked a penny ahead. It landed, rolling around before falling on its side.
"What are you doing, Dr Jones?" asked Jonathan.
Indy flicked another coin further ahead, it landed without incident. "How do you maintain a trap for hundreds of years?" he asked. Even now in the current situation Indy, couldn't altogether remove himself from his educational duties.
Jonathan thought for a few moments as Indy continued to probe the path ahead. "To keep a mechanism in full working order for a long period, you have to provide a stable environment away from sunlight and high levels of oxygen."
"And?" prompted Indy who was beginning to suspect the coins were not heavy enough to spring the trap he knew lay ahead.
"And… err. Oh yeah! The Ancient Egyptians found the best method to keep the mechanisms in working order and as a further deterrent from would-be tomb raiders, was to establish an isolated but fully functional ecosystem!"
"Exactly." Indy pointed at the wall. "The walls are covered in a thin oily substance produced by some fungus and the creatures that inhabit them. Behind these walls, there will be a whole lot more. This will keep oxygen levels low and provide enough lubrication to keep corrosion at a bare minimum."
"So, there is a trap somewhere in this corridor?" said Dawn with a tremble in her voice.
"Yeah, only I can't seem to figure out…"
A long thin spear hurled out of the wall from Indy's right, only a few feet ahead. Instinctively he leapt back as the spear stopped a scant few inches from the wall on the left. Dawn screamed. Indy noted the spear ended with a small triangular arrow point and seemed to be entirely made out of bone before it slid back into the wall. Another spear shot out a few feet further down the tunnel. It paused for a couple of seconds, then retracted back in. This repeated all the way down the shaft, then started again from the first spear. Indy monitored the routine again, counting ten spears in total.
"There's a pattern," Indy muttered to himself before turning to his frozen students.
"Look, you'll be fine. Just move where I tell you, when I tell you, understand?" They all shook their heads. Indy sighed. "Listen, I'll go first and tell you when to move. Dean, Dawn, you two next. Stand next to each other, yeah like that. Now put your arms around each other's waist. Yes, good! Jonathan, Jeff, you two pair up behind them."
Indy faced the down the corridor and waited until the first spear shot out of the wall. Once it retracted, he stepped forward, stopping a few inches before the second spear as it whooshed out of the wall. Indy moved to the third spot as soon as the second spear retreated.
Turning, he beckoned to the Dean and Dawn. "Walk forward until I tell you to stop."
With a whimper, they shuffled forward.
They halted, wide eye-ed like rabbits caught in a headlight as the first spear shot out from behind. A couple of seconds later, a spear appeared in front of them, closely followed by the one next to Indy. When it was clear, he moved forward to the fourth position, moving Dean and Dawn to spot three, with Jonathan and Jeff to location two.
A rumbling noise behind made Indy stop in his tracks. Turning, he saw a stone slab slowly rolling across the archway where they had entered the tunnel. There was no going back. To make matters worse, the speed of the spears was increasing slightly. At this rate, there were not going to make it. "Okay, listen up!" Indy had to shout over the roar of the mechanisms. "Dawn and Dean. As soon as I move, you two move to the exact spot I was stood. Jonathan, Jeff, you shift as fast as you can to where they had stood. The exact spot! Understand?"
The students nodded. They were terrified but luckily not immobilised with fear. Indy had to hope they would be able to react in time. The spear in front retracted. He stepped forward, repeating the pattern once it was safe to do so. A quick glance back was enough to reassure himself the students were following. Readjusting his timing to make up for the increase in speed, he stepped forward again. Four more repeats of this manoeuvre would see them to the end of the corridor.
"Dr Jones!" shouted Jonathan.
Indy swung around just in time to see Jonathan pointing behind him as a spear shot out of the middle of the floor, retracting and then another one appeared a few yards ahead. "Hug the wall!" he yelled as he leapt aside. His student lunged out of the path of the deadly spears in the nick of time. "Great job! Now, stick to the side of the wall and step forward, just like before. Just a few more to go, come on!" He refocused on the spears from the side. Once the one in front of him had retracted, he leapt forward while being careful to maintain his balance. Repeating the manoeuvre, twice more, he jumped into the alcove at the end of the tunnel, which he was pleased to note, was spear free. He turned back to tell help co-ordinate the others. Dawn and Dean had just two more to go with the boy in the spot behind them. "Right, go now!" he ordered.
As one, they scampered forward. He noted Dawn lead, dragging Dean by her side. In all his experience he knew when the going got tough, it was always the females who were made of sterner stuff.
The spears from the side and below continued their deadly dance followed, to Indy's horror, by a new pair of spears from the roof down at the other end the tunnel. Indy's stomach flipped as another pair shot down a few feet ahead. They only had moments to get these out of the corridor before the kids ended up skewered.
"Wait, wait, now!" said Indy, his voice trembling. Dawn and Dean jumped into the safety of the alcove. The plunging spears were closing fast on the boy. Indy tried not to panic, he waited until the spears from the side directly in front retracted then shouted, "Now!"
Jeff leapt forward, with Jonathan a second behind him. Jeff made it unscathed, but a spear caught Jonathan in mid-air. Indy grabbed hold of his arm, dragging him as the point sliced through the boy's jacket like a knife through butter. They went down in a heap. Indy scrambling to his feet, fearing the worst. "You okay, kid?" He felt down Jonathan's back and sighed in relief when he discovered it hadn't pierced the skin.
The students laughed a little hysterically at their close encounter. "Haha! You were nearly noodles there, Jonny boy!" said Jeff, giving Jonathan a slap on the back.
"Well, at least I don't have monkey breath!" countered Jonathon.
"You both still, st.. st..smell, "added Dean.
It was all playful banter, a coping mechanism. Indy knew they were not out of the woods yet. "Come on, keep moving." He peered down the next tunnel. This one was taller and wider, they could easily fit three, maybe four abreast, making another spear trap unlikely but Indy wasn't going to take any chances. He ordered them to follow him in single file.
The width of the tunnel reduced visibility. Creeping forward, Indy couldn't work out if the shadow on the floor ahead was a hole or just a trick of the dim lighting. It turned out to be the former; a hollow cavity roughly four feet across.
"What now, s.. s..sir?" asked Dean.
"Just gimme a sec to think," replied Indy. The gap was simply enough to jump across, he knew from experience that simple usually meant a distraction from the real danger.
"Sir! shouted Dawn.
Indy didn't need to turn around to know that the familiar grumbling behind was another stone slab rolling across the tunnel, blocking their retreat. Not that he planned on traversing the tunnel of spears again, yet something itched in Indy's mind. Things were not adding up. He hadn't stepped on any tripwires, pressure points or touched anything that would set these events in motion. His students hadn't done anything either, he was sure of it. He recalled the hourglass, considering the possibility this wasn't a run of the mill covenantal tomb. If the entire complex was based on time and not just the end game, the traps in each area would activate in sequence. Doors would open and close dictated by a carefully orchestrated plan. In being a meticulous and careful archaeologist, he had led his students into the spear trap. He marvelled the ingenuity of a complex designed to fool even the most experienced tomb raider, with the realisation he had to step up the pace if they were going to survive. "We need to jump across now!"
"But…" started Dean in confusion.
"No butts. Jump after me!" ordered Indy as he rushed forward. He felt the edge of the floor giving way as he launched forward. Indy flailed through the air, landing off-balance, landing harder than expected on the other side. He spun around, to his horror the edges of the gap were
"Quickly, jump!" Indy shouted.
Dawn, Dean and Jonathan didn't need telling twice. The lunged forward clearing the gap with ease despite the rapidly crumbling edges. Only Jeff remained; terror finally paralysing one of Indy's students at the worst possible moment. "No sir, I can't."
The gap was getting wider. "Yeah, you can come on!" pleaded Indy.
Tears streamed down his Jeff's cheek. "I'm too big, I won't make it."
Indy as he unhooked his bullwhip from his belt. "Take hold of this, tie it around your arm and hold on tight."
Indy flicked his wrist, the whip flew across the gap, landing on floor near Jeff's feet.
"Oh...oh my god!" whimpered Jeff as he tied the end to his writ.
"You two," Indy shouted, "Get to the alcove. If the exit starts closing, go through it and don't look back." Dawn and Dean scampered away. "Now take a quick run and leap as far as you can. I've gotcha, I'll pull you the rest of the way across." Jeff's face turned pale. "Don't think, do it now!"
Jeff managed two steps back before the whip went taut. Indy grabbed a sturdy penknife from his pocket. He flicked it open. The blade was five inches long and made of solid steel. Jeff took a deep breath, roared and lunged forward. Indy wrapped the loose end around his wrist. As Jeff jumped, he dragged the whip back, yanking it with all his strength. Two hundred pounds of teenager hit the other side, chest-high knocking the wind out of him. Indy dived to the floor plunging the blade into a clay gap between two cobbles. His arm screamed in agony as it was nearly wrenched out of its socket as Jeff slipped over the crumbling ledge. Indy dug his feet into the ground, desperately trying to keep hold. "Pull yourself up!" gasped Indy
"I can't!" screamed Jeff
The knife was bending. "C'mon try!" pleaded Indy.
Jeff danged over a deep chasm, a torrent of clay and cobbles sprayed his face and upper body. The arm supporting his entire weight screaming in agony. Using blind survival instinct more than anything else, he swung his other arm over to clasp the whip. The pressure easing, he pulled up, recalling his abysmal attempts at pull-ups at the gym. Fear gave him a surge of adrenaline-boosting his efforts and he managing to lift himself closer to the crumbling edge.
Indy dug his heels in deeper between the gaps in the stones. No matter what happened, he wasn't going to let go. The blade snapped. Indy grabbed the whip with both hands grunting with effort. The extra strain on his feet was proving too much, he lost his grip with one boot and then the other, sliding towards his doom.
A pair of arms encircled his. He gasped in surprise. Looking up, he saw Jonathan and Dawn pulling with all their might while Dawn scrambled over to help Jeff.
"I thought I told you to…" he began. "Never mind, let's pull."
With their assistance, he regained his footing. Together they yanked Jeff over the collapsing area. Out of breath, near exhaustion, all Jeff wanted to do was sleep for about month. Instead, he felt himself being yanked up by his collar and dragged towards the next alcove.
"Quickly!" barked his superhero teacher.
As first he thought this was due to the disappearing floor, but as he stumbled closer to the exit, Jeff noticed a stone slab rolling across. They made it through, with a few seconds to spare and no hat to retrieve. This was no comfort to his archeologic teacher whose thoughts were focused on what trials awaited them next and how he was going to get them all out of there alive.
Unlike the other tunnels, this one was in pitch darkness. Indy flicked on his lighter providing a brief flicker of illumination, his students clinging onto his jacket like a lifeline as they inched forward. The mental ticking of the clock urged Indy to throw caution to the wind. He increased his pace, using every sense to try and figure out where the next surprise would be sprung. A few yards further, the path curved to the right towards an area with enough light to discern an opening in the wall ahead.
"Is it the way out?" asked Jeff.
Indy hoped so. Unfortunately, the people who built hidden complexes neglected to include directional signs in their design. Even 'Danger – Trap Ahead' in hieroglyphics would have been handy. "Keep your wits about you and keep close," he cautioned. The students gripped his jacket even tighter as they edged their way towards the light.
Indy stepped through first into a well-light chamber, the students following close by. Each gasped at their new surroundings. The luminous walls were adorned with paintings, text, symbols and pictures from numerous cultures. Indy identified Akkadian, Sumerian, Etruscan, and Kassitic markings, plus several others he didn't recognise. "That's not possible!" He was not aware he had spoken until Dawn ask him what wasn't possible. "The depictions on the wall," he explained. "They're all jumbled up. Look here," he pointed to a group of symbols. "That's Ancient Greek, yet here directly underneath we have Meroitic! It's like that in every section. Languages from civilisations thousands of miles and hundreds of years apart, all gathered in one spot, but why? It is simply not…"
"Err, Dr Jones. You maybe wanna see this," stated Jonathan. He was the only one not glued to the wall.
Indy turned to see what had caught his attention and spotted a magnificent tree statue in the centre of the chamber. "...possible," he finished mechanically.
"Oh my," gasped Jeff. "What's a tree doing in here?"
"It's not a tree, it's a statue. It was no surprise his student believed this to be a real tree. The attention to detail in the branches and the stone leaves were incredible. The top of the tree was mere inches away from the ceiling, while at the base, several stone roots gave the illusion that they carried on deep under the floor. Indy's keen eyes had spotted a couple of areas where the stone had come loose, spoiling the deception.
"Well, what's a statue of a tree doing here?" Jeff asked.
"The tree is an ancient symbol," replied Dawn before Indy could answer. "It's a major part of numerous cultural and religious belief systems. As this room contains such diverse languages, it is not surprising that at the centre of all this is a tree?" She sounded all matter of fact in the way she said it, but Indy was impressed with her assumptions. It was a viable theory and made sense.
He rewarded her hypothesis with a nod and his famous smirk. "What she said."
"But what's it all for? What is all this here? Why all the booby traps?" said Jonathan, waving his arms around in exasperation.
"I don't know" replied Indy. "But we don't have time to find out." Indy rechecked his watch. Seventeen minutes had passed. It seemed a lot longer. "We gotta get out of here. Check the symbols for clues. You know bits of ancient languages, see if something stands out or doesn't quite fit."
They spread out, each taking a section of the wall. Indy began deciphering a panel, moments later, Dean called out, "Here, s…sir."
Dean's area was covered with various symbols like the others, in the centre though, there was a clear panel with a hollow hexagonal indentation about the size of his Indy's hand.
"Great spot, kid," he said, ruffling Dean's hair. Indy had seen such indentations in previous adventures. He knew it required an object of the same shape to slot in like an old key. A low rumbling sound interrupted his thoughts. Quickly flipping open his watch confirmed his fears. The twenty minutes were up. "Don't move a muscle."
"What is it now?" asked Jeff, checking the ground as if expecting it to crumble away at any moment.
A loud click made them all jump, followed by the scraping sound of stone against stone somewhere close by. Disobeying their teacher's instructions, the students clustered around Indy for support.
"There, near the roots!" whispered Dawn.
A trapdoor slid open near the base of the tree. Indy face turned ashen as a monstrous snake's head writhed into view; its tongue flicking out testing the air before it. "Perfect, just perfect" Indy said to himself.
The snake's head turned towards their direction. Indy noted two horn-like protrusions sticking out from the base of its skull. The snake switched focus to back to the tree, extracting its long, slinky body curled around the base, slithering further up to the branches, until its entire body wrapped around the full hight of the statue. The snake was unlike any species Indy had encountered before. Along with the horns, its body was longer than the biggest Boa Constrictor or King Cobra, while the skin was covered in purple and silver scales that glinted in the light. As the snake coiled itself around more branches, he spotted an octagon-shaped bronze disc inserted in the trunk of the statue roughly six feet from the base. "There," he said. "That's what we need." If we do we can place it on the wall, it should open the way out."
"Are you sure?" asked Dawn
"Almost." replied Indy.
"What about that snake thing sir," Jeff's voice quivered. "I'm afraid of snakes, and that thing doesn't look like no snake I've ever seen!"
That's the trick! thought Indy "It's not a snake," Indy said more to convince himself than anything else.
"No. It's a serpent-lizard hybrid... thing." Indy's thought process was part psychological to quench his own phobia, part logical. It was safe to assume this species was bred thousands of years ago, specifically for this place. If he could label it as a different species, it might help him face his fears.
"Shoot the snake, Dr Jones. Shoot it, bang-bang!" said Jonathan while miming guns with his fingers.
"Serpent-Lizard Hybrid." corrected Indy, pointing at Jonathan with a stern steely gaze. "Anyway, I can't. The university wouldn't allow me to enter a classroom with a loaded weapon. No bullets I'm afraid." Plus, who would have imagined a field trip to Utah would be dangerous?
He knew their best chance would be to try and distract the serpent-lizard long enough for him to grab the key. Maybe the writings on the walls had some clue as to how they should approach this problem? "Recheck the walls, this time look for anything with a snake or tree symbol."
Without any questions this time, the students spread out while avoiding the tree. Indy again marvelled at the ingenuity employed to construct the underground lair and the amount of cultural diversity represented in this chamber. In the centre, an important symbol to a whole host of civilisations and their religions but the idea of a horned serpent in the tree emphasised it, even more. All in all, this was one of the most intriguing finds Indy had ever made. If only he and his students could survive to tell their tale.
"Sir! shouted Dawn. "I think this means serpent in Tamil!" Indy scurried over to check her findings. She pointed out a word scrawled on the wall which read பாம்பு. Indy's Tamil was rusty, but he recalled Dawn's excellent thesis on the ancient Indian culture, so if she thought this meant serpent, that was good enough for him.
A few lines down, the language changed to one he did recognise. "I think you are onto something. Look here, this says Chepichealm."
"What?" Asked Dawn.
"It's a Micmac word meaning Immense Horned Serpent or Wingless Dragon."
"That's what that is!" exclaimed Jonathan. "It's a dragon!"
"That makes it worse!" wailed Jeff.
Ignoring them, Indy focused on the word. He had read something about this preparing for this trip. He had not exaggerated when he told his students preparation was the most crucial aspect of any dig. Indy spent a considerable amount of time studying the various Indian cultures which had lived near the Serpent Mound. He also possessed a kind of photographic memory when it came to things that fascinated him. True, he couldn't' recall the name of someone he met that morning, but an obscure fact from thousands of years ago was no problem.
That was it, the tale of the young warrior called Mikumwess who sought to marry the Chief's daughter. The Chief had agreed as long as Mikumwess could prove himself by slaying the mighty Chepichealm. "There's an ancient Indian tale of a warrior defeating a mighty horned serpent," Indy told his students. "It goes something like this, 'Now in the night he that was Mikumwess arose and went alone and afar until he came to the den of the dragon, and this was a great hole in the ground. And over this, he laid a mighty log and then began the magic dance around the den. So, the serpent, or the great Chepichcealm, hearing the call, came forth, putting out his head after the manner of snakes, waving it all about in every way and looking around him. In a trance, he rested his neck upon the log and the Indian, with a blow of his hatchet, severed it."
"What does that mean?" asked Jonathan. "We don't have any logs, hatchets or a stupid magic dance. It's hopeless!"
"Hold on," Indy patted his pockets. "Does anyone have a whistle or something that can make a noise?"
"I have my harmonica," replied Jeff.
"Perfect, give it to me." Jeff frowned but handed over the instrument.
Indy moved closer to the statue while maintaining a safe distance from the serpent. He blew on the harmonica. There was no response. He tried a different note. Again nothing.
"What the he… heck are you doing?" asked Dean.
Indy tried a different note. The serpents head whipped around... He backed slowly away. "Perfect."
"It's looking at you, that's the opposite of perfect," said Jeff.
Indy pointed to the floor over at the right-hand side of the tree. "Dawn, Jeff, stand over there." As they shuffled over to the position, Indy pointed to an area over at the left of the tree "You two, stand there."
"You're crazy, Dr Jones." sniffed Jonathan but he joined Dean on the spot.
Indy took a position in front. "In the legend, Mikumwess performed a ceremony, this Magic Dance, to summon the great serpent. Although a legend we know that certain species react not to dance but more to music or certain tones."
"Are you on about snake charming?" asked Dawn. "Are you seriously going to suggest we try to charm that thing?"
In answer to her question, Indy blew on the harmonica producing the same note as before. The hybrid reverted its attention squarely in his direction. "Yup. Now, Dawn, Jeff match the tone and pitch of this note." He blew on the harmonica again.
"What shall we sing?" asked Jeff.
"The words ain't important, it's the sound. Make generic noises like the Indians do in their ceremonies. Like this." Indy wasn't a gifted singer. He could sing along in the privacy of his own bathroom and carry a basic tune though. Matching the tone of the harmonica, he began to chant. "Humm-ay-yaa-haa-hum-ay-yaa ha." The serpent locked onto his position mesmerised. "Now, you!" Indy pointed at Dawn and Jeff.
"This is stupid." pointed out Jeff, but they tried it anyway. It took a few attempts to get the tone of their voices matching, but soon the serpent swayed its head in their direction.
"Keep it up. Dean, Jonathon, join in." Indy was amazed to discover Dean had an incredible voice. It was hard to imagine someone who had so much trouble talking could sing so beautifully. Within moments the serpent swayed from left to right hypnotically. Now, thought Indy, came the tough part. "I'm going to move slowly forward and get the key. No matter what happens, don't stop chanting." His students nodded. He noted the strain on their faces and felt a moment of immense pride. They were going through an arduous ordeal and yet were carrying on courageously.
Indy took a tentative step forward, checking to see if there was any change in the serpent's pattern. Satisfied it was suitably transfixed, he approached the base of the tree with one hand resting on his whip. Everything in his head told him to turn and flee from this beast as his old phobia's ugly head raised itself from within, but he fought it back down. It was hybrid, not a proper snake. Just as he had when they had discovered the Ark of the Covenant, he would force himself to face his fears and get through this ordeal. He had to, his student's lives were at stake.
Indy reached the tree, the tip of his hat a few scant inches away from the serpent's weaving head. He reached out with his free hand to grasp the key, probing around the edges before taking a firmer grip. Holding his breath, he counted to three in his head, then pulled. The key came free. Indy crouched down, his eyes squeezed shut, hoping nothing would be triggered by his actions. He was wrong.
All the traps so far had been on a timer. That timer had been reached some time ago culminating in the release of the serpent. Just to make life even harder for tomb robbers, the designers had left one which was activated the old-fashioned way.
There was a loud click from somewhere deep underground. Indy groaned. In his heart, he knew this wasn't going to be this easy. The students chanting faltered, the serpent breaking free of its hypnotic dance. Indy made frantic gestures at them to continue. They recovered their composure and complied, the hybrid soon settling back into its pattern of lazy swaying.
Indy backed away from the tree, towards the indentation on the wall he prayed would be their ticket out of there A thin trickle of water flowing across the ground made him pause. He couldn't identify where the water was coming from, but it soon became apparent they were in serious trouble as the trickle became a stream which rose above his shoes. His students continued to sing, a slight waver in their chanting as they too noticed their predicament.
Indy recalled the Serpent Mound itself was right next to Bush Creek river. It wouldn't take much for the designers of this place to hook up a flood passage and trigger once the key was removed from the tree. No, not for the geniuses who had built such a marvel. Indy knew he had to get them all out, and fast! "Everyone, listen carefully. I'll take over charming duty, you guys make your way over to the wall with the indentation on it, but don't make any sudden moves."
The water rose rapidly towards his knees as he blew on the harmonica, catching the serpent's undivided attention. The students waded their way towards the wall. Dawn lost her footing, went briefly under the surging water then came up gasping. The serpent's head snapped in her direction, its tongue flickering out. Indy continued blowing on the harmonica, but the hybrid had prey firmly on its mind. It unwrapped itself and slithered down the tree and into the water.
"Go!" shouted Indy.
Dawn didn't need telling twice, and she half ran, half swam towards the others who were braced against the wall with no-where to go. Indy surged towards the tree, lifting himself up onto a branch. The serpent rose out of the water, ready to strike at Dawn. With all the years of experience and the hours of relentless practice, Indy flicked the whip, lassoing it around the neck. It lunged forward and was rudely yanked back as Indy heaved it away. Denied its kill, the serpent whisked around searching for the cause of its fury.
"Ooh, boy!" whispered Indy as it sped towards him. He climbed up; his grip tight on the whip as it thrashed about. Reaching as high as he could go, he spotted the serpent slithering up the base towards him. He looped and tied the handle of the whip around the branch then leapt into the water a second before the serpent's fanged mouth snapped at thin air.
The serpent gave chase, plunging towards the cold depths, only to find itself caught as the whip grew taut. It thrashed around in a frenzy, further entangling its body around the statue.
Indy swam to his students who were treading water to stay afloat, the icy water rising rapidly. Dawn had hold of Jeff, keeping his head above water despite his sputtering instances that he was drowning. Dawn was a powerful swimmer like she was born in the ocean. Jeff was the opposite. He claimed he couldn't participate in swimming classes due to obscure medical reasons which had more to do with his weight than any real condition.
Swimming ability wouldn't save them if the key didn't work though. They had a minute or two before the whole chamber became flooded. "I'm going under to place this in the hole," Indy shouted. "You see any way out, you take it. Don't wait for me!"
They nodded, shivering with the cold, their faces pale with shock. Indy gave them a thumbs up, took a deep breath and dived down, the stones providing scant illumination in the dark water. He relied more on touch, scraping his hands across the wall until he felt the outline of the indentation. Grabbing the key from his pouch, he turned and adjusted its position until it slotted in. There was no immediate response. Indy attempted to turn it like similar key objects he had used in the past - it didn't budge. Fighting rising panic and the urge to breath, he shoved the wall; it moved slightly! He pushed again, feeling it give a fraction more. Planting his feet on the ground, Indy gave it everything he had and then a considerable amount more.
The door swung open. With it came a powerful current which sucked Indy through the opening. Turned head over heal, deprived of oxygen, he fought in vain to stabilise. As he flipped over, his shoulder hit something hard, causing him to expel the last of his breath. Scrambling around, Indy felt the outline of a stone step. Using it to anchor and orientate himself, he got a foothold on a stair and followed them upwards. His instincts threatened, he had to breathe – now! Indy broke the surface, gasping and coughing. An initial gulp of sweet air later, his first thought was, did the students make it?
"Dr Jones! Dr Jones, up here!" Further up the stairs. Jonathan stood shivering with others, a sorrier looking bunch of drowned rats he had never seen. The water continued to rise, so Indy urged them to keep moving until they escaped from this lair of the horned serpent.
They emerged from a similar opening to the one they had entered what seemed like hours ago, but outside it was twilight, the magical time between sunset and night. The group collapsed on the ground a few feet away. Recovering his senses, he checked their bearing. They were near the tail end of the Serpent Mound just as Indy theorised. The key had opened the inner door must have activated the hidden one, and luckily for them, they didn't have to wait for the Winter Solstice before they could escape. There was no sign of the team tail students. No doubt they were still waiting for them at the tourist information centre, wondering why their teacher was taking so long. It was hard to fathom that this whole adventure had taken about half an hour.
Indy stood shakily to his feet. Dawn and Jeff were already up, peering down the stairs.
"Sir! Come here, quickly!"
With a groan, he went to see what they were so excited about. Jeff grabbed his arm and pointed down the stairs, "Down there, I think I can see the snake swimming around!"
Indy peered into the gloom. "I told you it's not a snake…" he frowned, there was indeed something moving down there and the water was receding. "Stay here," Indy ordered, then he plunged back down the stairs.
"What the heck is he doing?" asked Jeff
Jonathan shrugged. Dr Jones had done some crazy things since they had become trapped, but he had saved their lives several times, so he was ninety percent sure his new tomb raider idol knew what he was doing.
In the fading light, they waited. Each strained to detect any sign of their adventuring teacher. All they could hear was the rush and gurgling of the water which became fainter as it receded. The ground around them shook. Dawn noted with horror, the mound itself was sliding across the opening. The students hollered a warning, shouting until they were horse for Indy to get out. The exit was sealing rapidly. Running up the steps, Indy he had to turn sideways and squeeze through with the aid of his student to scrape his way out.
They all hugged, him fiercely. Indy had the decency to appear suitably embarrassed. Dawn whacked him over the shoulder. "Why did you go back in there?"
Indy held up his bullwhip. "I told you it wasn't a snake." Out of his pouch, he pulled out the octagonal disc. "Besides, I had to go back to get this."
There was a moment of stunned silence which was broken by Jonathan. "You are crazy, Dr Jones! Like, for real." If this had been his old sidekick an outburst like that would have started an argument which would quickly have switched to frantic Mandarin. Instead, Indy burst out laughing. The laughter became infectious, his students releasing all their tension and relief. Indy pleaded with them to stop as his sides were hurting. This made them laugh even harder.
It took a few weeks for the storm to pass. The Board of Directors had been initially furious, of course. Markus had stomped out that fire with his usual charm and grace. He pointed out that unearthing a significant archaeological find of such magnitude would put Ohio and the school firmly on the map. This changed their attitude sharply.
The rich kid's parents had threatened to sue until they realised none of their little darlings had been part of this adventure. Then they seemed to take offence and claimed Indy had shown favouritism. As for the students whose life had been in real danger, their parents took a little more convincing. The media attention helped. There is nothing like being deemed brave adventurers and an inspiration to a whole new generation of archaeologists to prune the ego.
In his official report, Indy failed to mention the octagonal bronze disc, fearing the key would disappear into the archives to be studied by 'top men.' He wanted time to translate the symbols. There was a major historical mystery here, one he intended to solve. His students promised to keep this aspect of their adventure a secret if he shared his findings. He had reluctantly agreed, accusing them of bribery. They claimed otherwise, stating it was more like an amicable agreement. Indy had no choice. Part of him was proud, they were growing into remarkable young archaeologists, and they seemed so much like himself at that age.
Several days later, they reconvened in his father's study. Henry Jones Senior was more proficient at ancient languages. Even so, Indy had handed it over begrudgingly, making his dad promise not to go running off without him. His father had snatched it with a gleam in his eye he had not seen since his search for the Holy Grail.
The student sat on leather chairs around a brown antique table. Indy preferred to stand, or more accurately, he preferred pacing around. His father had telephoned to say he had news yet had refused to elaborate further. He hated not knowing the answers, it felt even more demeaning to realise he had to withstand a lecture from his dad in front of his student.
"You were right, Junior," said Henry as he stepped into the study, his face buried in an ancient tomb. Indy inwardly groaned at his Father's continued use of the title Junior. "This is indeed a find of some significance!"
Henry placed the book on the table and pulled out the bronze disc from his pocket. Cleaned up, it shone brightly as he held it near the candlelight. "The markings on this side contain symbols which represent numbers. Each from a different ancient number system." He pointed to the first symbol. "This one is from the Mayan number system, but the next is from the Egyptian system, the next from the Greek's, the Babylonian's and so forth."
"Why put numbers on the disc?" Asked Jeff.
"And why in so many different languages!" Asked Dawn.
"Why indeed?" said Henry looking directly at his son. "These are inquisitive ones, are you sure you taught them yourself?"
Indy bit back a retort. Instead, he answered the question. "To make it harder to decipher."
Henry grunted in acknowledgement. "And what are the numbers?" he prompted.
Indy thought for a second, and then he had it, "Co-ordinates!"
"Yes!" Henry pulled out a worn, tattered scroll from a pile of documents piled on a chair. He unfolded it, placing it on the table in front of them. "This is a map of the ancient world, one of the earliest maps ever to exist in this much detail."
Jonathan studied the map. He enjoyed geography, some of the other kids said that was weird, but he found it fascinating, especially when combined with history. This map was in remarkable condition. The continents were in the wrong position, some had yet to split from their counterparts. It was a snapshot of a world lost in time.
"Now," continued Henry, "We must remember in ancient times the Earth was the centre of the universe, and the sun revolved around us of course! All these coordinates are based on the galactic centre from the sun on galactic plane in relation to the stars."
Jonathan nodded in agreement. Dawn and Dean nodded too even though they didn't have a clue what this man was talking about. Jeff had the decency to look confused.
"So, bearing that in mind, the first set of co-ordinates lead to here. "Henry pointed to a part of the world which was roughly where the Middle East would be today. There was a word scribbled in a language they could not read.
"It says Mesopatnia" explained Indy. "Which is today known as…"
"Iraq!" blurted out Jonathan.
"Yes, Jonathan. Iraq. Very good." Henry placed another old scroll on top depicting Mesopatonia in greater detail.
"The second set of co-ordinates lead here." Henry pointed to a spot a few kilometres away from the centre of the map with no distinguishing markings. As far as the map was concerned, this was just desert.
"So, what's there?" asked Indy.
Henry flipped over the disc. "This side contains words. Again, each character is in a different ancient dialect but roughly translated it means, "Here lies the key to the Valley of Edin."
Indy's jaw dropped. Henry looked extremely pleased with himself.
"Are you sure?" asked Indy.
"Of course, I'm bloody sure!" replied Henry.
Indy felt shock, excitement and exhilaration coursing through his veins. His father felt the same, he could tell from the light in his eyes.
Jeff put his hand in the air as if they were back in the classroom. "Err, excuse me Dr Joneses, but what is the Valley of Edin?"
Henry leaned in close. "Why my dear boys and girl, it's where the Garden of Eden is of course!"
It was lucky the student was seated; otherwise, they may have collapsed in shock. As it was, they were left to discuss the implications in teenage excitement while Father and son bickered over supplies they will need, routes to take and of course, who was going to lead the expedition on their next amazing adventure.