Mac MacKinnon and the Race for El Dorado

Chapter 13: The Key

By Dwayne MacInnes

Mac flew the floatplane over the Amazon jungle. Dan sat in the front seat of the biplane checking the weapons they had packed. Mac brought along his newly purchased Thompson submachine gun, and Dan brought his old Lee-Enfield rifle. This would augment their sidearms that they always carried.

Thompson Sub-Machine Gun

Mac was half searching for the zeppelin as well as looking for a reasonable landing place near where he believed the entrance to El Dorado lay. The professor’s journal was very explicit as to where he believed El Dorado could be located. So far, all Mac could see was dense jungle below.

Mac dropped the floatplane lower to the jungle canopy. The thick foliage hid everything inside its interior. Mac circled a few times and then started to bring the plane in for a landing on the wide Amazon River.

The plane landed smoothly on the river’s surface. Mac pulled the aircraft up to the riverbank before he cut the engine. Dan did not waste a moment jumping onto the wing and grabbing the mooring line. He walked the wings length and landed on the solid riverbank where he secured the plane to a nearby tree.

Mac was not far behind unloading their equipment. Dan grabbed a backpack and his rifle while he helped Mac to the ground.

Lee-Enfield Rifle

"How far do you think the Temple is?" Dan asked.

"I don’t know, but if Dr. Strong’s journal is correct it can’t be too far," Mac replied. "The temple may easily have become overgrown over the last few hundred years, but according to the journal it is the entrance to El Dorado. If we can locate it before the Germans we may be able to enter after they use the key."

"Which way do we go?" Dan asked as he shouldered his pack and loaded his Lee-Enfield.

Mac put on his own pack and loaded the fifty-round drum. "It should be northwest of here. With a little luck, it should reveal itself once we enter the interior. The foliage is always thickest by the riverbanks. Things will tend to thin out once we get inside."

The temperature was only in the high seventies but the humidity made it seem much worse. The heavy rainfall did little to cool either man down as they marched into the jungle’s interior. To add to their discomfort, swarms of biting insects found their flesh and blood tasty.

The sound of monkeys and birds incessantly echoed throughout the jungle. Once they heard a jaguar cry out. Dan readied his rifle after the jungle cat’s roar subsided. Mac continued to slash his way through the jungle with his machete.

"How much further do you figure?" Dan asked for about the hundredth time.

Mac stopped his march and leaned against a tree. He lifted his canteen to his lips and swallowed heavily. After wiping his mouth Mac turned towards Dan, "I’m afraid I don’t know. I was hoping to see something by now. What I would do for some divine intervention right now."

Dan looked up at Mac and smile weakly. Just then, a rifle shot cracked through the jungle. Both men looked up in surprise. Dan smiled more strongly in mirth, "Ask and ye shall receive."

Crystal Skull Key

The Germans landed the zeppelin on a lake inside the jungle’s interior. A boat transported the Strongs across the lake and to the jungle accompanied by Johann von Hutten, Captain Wolfgang and a dozen crewmembers.

They had many miles to march and only a few hours in which to do it if they wanted to get the key inserted in time. Professor Strong pointed out the route they would need to follow. By a quick glance at the mountains and a map drawn from the ancient stone map, the archaeologist was able to gain his bearings.

The outskirts of the jungle were thick with underbrush and foliage. As the party continued into the interior, the passage became easier. Sunlight filtered through the heavy foliage in the treetops in small patches. Because of the tall trees cutting out much of the sun light, a lot of the plant life grew high above the ground in the trees. Therefore, there were few plants growing on the ground, however the various plants high above left long sinewy vines leading from the treetops back down to earth.

The Germans hacked their way through the tough vines. As one man’s arm grew tired, another would take over. Thusly, with the professor’s guidance and the Germans’ doggedness, the party made good time. They found the temple quicker and easier than any of them anticipated.

Under the green canopy, a step-pyramid much like those constructed by the Mayans sat covered in vines. The grotesque faces of ancient gods glared at the party as they climbed the steps to the top of the pyramid. The top of the pyramid presented a flat platform on which sat a pedestal with a grooved indentation. Sunlight blazed down on the exposed top.

The party stopped to rest and to have a quick lunch. Everyone sat in silence as the awe of the spectacle that they were experiencing consumed them. The jungle sounds were the only noise the party experienced. The calls of monkeys and the chitterings of other animals floated through the air. The sudden cry of jaguar sitting nearby startled the party. A sentry quickly fired his rifle into the jungle. As the report echoed through the jungle, the party could hear the crashing of the jaguar beating a hasty retreat.

Johann looked at his pocket watch and looked up at the sky. "Dr. Strong, I believe the time approaches."

Dr. Strong nodded his head and slowly pulled the crystal skull out of his satchel. The sunlight sparkled of the natural glass surface. The empty eye sockets flared with brilliance. The archaeologist turned the skull in the sun admiring its beauty.

Johann cleared his voice bringing the professor back to his senses. Dr. Strong then gingerly placed the skull onto the pedestal. The crystal skull fit perfectly inside the groove.

The sun appeared high in the sky as it slowly continued on its trek across the globe. When the sun was straight above its rays beat straight down upon the skull. The light flared more brightly inside the skull. A low hum resonated from the skull and began to grow to a higher pitch. The sound grew to a piercing scream causing the party to cover their ears. Far below at the base of the pyramid a grinding noise of stone grating on stone made its way to everyone’s pounding ears.

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on August 30, 2006 6:00 PM.

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