Unbroken Camels (a sequel to 'The Art of Smuggling Camels', also by Lothithil)

Like our hero MacGyver... I have a problem. I cannot ever walk away from an untold story. Here is the continuation of the tale I began with 'Smuggling Camels', and a possibly plausableversion of Mac's escape from Afghanistan.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Part one, Hotfoot

There's an old saying that comes to mind; 'Distance makes the heart grow fonder.' I don't think that I can remember truer words... at least not while I'm running for my life. Traveling through this part of the world is always tricky, but when territorial disputes turn into small wars, it tends to make things... a little more lively. Thoughts of home were fond indeed, and I was a whole world away from where I wanted to be. I also would've been a lot fonder of a certain pack of Afghan terrorists-- I've never met a bunch of guys who could hold on to a grudge tighter than those boys-- if they were a little more distant. Unfortunately, they were hot on my trail... and getting hotter. And it was already hot enough here in the desert. I needed to find a place to hide, for myself and my ride.

Dingo was putting forth a fine effort but he'd been on the job as long as I had, through four deserts and six countries as we circled around and hunted for the men I had been sent to find. We found 'em all right. And now they were about to find us.

Mac urged Dingo over the next dune, hoping that there would be something besides more sand on the other side. He had to do something if he was going to avoid getting caught, and the chances of that happening out in the desert were slim, but he knew that they couldn't keep going like this much longer. They were both near exhaustion. Still, it wasn't in his nature to just give up.

They surged over the top of the dune and then half-slid, half fell down the further slope. It was steeper than Mac had expected. He let out a yell as he tumbled off of the camel's back, rolling along at gravity's mercy while Dingo bellowed and scrambled, his long, heavy legs becoming entangled with each other.

They came to a graceless stop at the bottom of a pit. Mac bit back a cry of pain; there was a very heavy camel lying on his legs. Luckily, the sand was soft and nothing felt broken. Dingo let out a series of grunts and didn't move.

"Come on, boy," Mac groaned, pushing at his hairy hide. "Get up! If we just sit here, they're gonna find us for sure. We left tracks that a blind man could follow across this desert."

Dingo answered Mac's pleas by lifting his head and snapping his long yellow teeth at him. "You just don't care if we get caught or not, do ya?" Mac grumbled in frustration, trying to dig his legs free. "But then, not much can worry a mammal that tips the scales at three-quarters a ton. You big wooly slug!"

Well, this mammal was worried. I scrambled and strained, but I was stuck. The edges of the pit rose above my head, a sheer crumbling wall. Even if I still had possession of my legs, I doubt I could've climbed it. Dingo was gonna have a devil of a time getting out without some serious help.

Mac looked around sharply. This wasn't just a trough between the dunes... it was a pit! A great vast hole straight down into the sand and definitely not a result of natural erosion.

There came sounds from above Mac's head, up outside of the pit. For a minute Mac was sure that they'd been found. His heart fluttered in his throat. He was a sitting duck; the proverbial fish in a barrel.

The sounds grew louder, and suddenly the mouth of the pit began to shrink. Trickles of sand came cascading down into Mac's eyes. The noise succeeded at motivating Dingo to roll onto his belly and off of Mac's legs. He sighed with relief, staggering upright to keep from getting buried in the miniature landslide. To his dismay, he found that not only was the opening above getting smaller, but the pit was getting deeper, too. They were sinking—not into the sand, but into the depths of the earth!

A metal roof closed over the opening of the pit like the petals of a lotus in reverse bloom. Light was completely cut off. Mac felt around for Dingo's lead rope and catching it, spoke softly to the trembling animal, trying to keep himself from being trampled to death.

A grinding, whirring sound came from one wall of the pit, and a reddish light fell on Mac's face. A doorway that had been perfectly concealed opened, revealing a man. He was a little less tall than Mac was, with a fit build and a head-full of thick, wavy black hair. He was holding a lantern and a handgun.

He and Mac stared at each other for a few moments, then the man said-- in perfect English colored with a downtown Chicago accent--"What in Hell's name are you two doing down here?"