Chapter 4

My eyes go fuzzy and my knees buckle under my weight. I fall down on the platform.

Zip's voice echoes in my ears "Lara! Lara! What does he mean? What's happening Lara? You okay?"

After a second or two, my eyes turn back to normal. I push myself up and check my hand out. It is coated with black liquid. I put it in the water and wash it off. Nothing feels wrong in my body now. I look at the direction where Pierre had been standing.

"DuPont" I cry, looking around. Then I put the fragments of the vase into my backpack. My breath comes out in slow gasps.

I put one hand to my ears and say " I'm okay, Zip. I need to find the other vase before I die, though", and dive into the water.

"What? Who said anything about dying?" Zip shouts in my ears.

"Well, this curse acts in an hour. Before that, I'll have to drink the other potion so that it won't hurt me I" say as soon as I resurface the water.

"Okay. That makes perfect sense" He says mockingly.

"I know" I say, ignoring his scorn and haul myself onto the warm ground. I pull out my medipack and grab some painkillers. I put them in my mouth and chew on them.

The bitter taste fills my mouth. I begin climbing the wall, slowly, but keeping my hold tight.

"Lara" Zip's voice cracks through my headset. "I'm kind of in a tight spot here, you know" I mutter, taking steady breaths to calm myself. With one last lurch, I land on the top of the wall.

"Phew, you did that in three minutes. New record, Lara!" Zip says, feigning excitement.

I brush away the hair from my eyes and ask "Well, where do we go now?"

"There's a door to your left... But there's no way you're going to reach that!" Zip says.

Immediately, I turn to my left and spot a small doorway, as if embedded into the wall. The space in between the narrow wall on which I am standing, and the doorway, is quite vast. But I can see some tattered ropes hanging from the ceiling and a few poles and ledges that have luckily been broken. But the path seems risky.

A slow smile crosses across my face. I love risk. I take a running jump, catch the closest rope and swing towards a column that is sticking out. I dig my fingers into the column and swing towards my right, where a huge, cracked pole is situated. I take a jump towards the pole and wrap my arms around it. Much closer to the doorway, I take a swift jump towards another rope. I swing, getting closer and closer by second, to a ledge that is sticking out of the wall of the temple. My fingers feel warm and sweaty. Scrunching my eyes to get a better look at the doorway, I pull out one hand from the crack and use it to shield my eyes.
"Lara... What are you thinking?"

"How do I go there?" My voice comes out barely audible.

"Wrong person to answer that question" Zip says, sighing.

"I know." I say automatically. I kick my feet onto the vertical wall and jump towards the doorway. The leverage gives me a good jump.

My hands reach out to cling to the lower edge of the doorway.

Then everything goes slow...

"Crap!" I echo.

"Lara! Damn it!" Zip's voice rings in my ears.

It takes me half a second to realize that my hands never reached the edge.

It takes me two more to realize that I am falling.

I take one look above and a loud crack echoes around the room.

Then the world goes blank...