Mac MacKinnon and the Race for El Dorado

Chapter 17: River

By Dwayne MacInnes

Mac and Dan searched the bodies of the dead crewmembers. Dan stood watch by the cavern entrance in case the Germans decided to return. In the mean time, Mac explained to the Strongs how he and Dan made their daring escapes from the clutches of the Germans.

It was obvious that after two hours the Germans were not returning. To pass the time, Dr. Strong searched the pyramid and collected a few clay tablets and figurines. Mac forbade anyone from taking any gold. The weight could be deadly if they needed to run once they made their way back to the surface.

Mac led the way back up the passageway as they began their return trip. He had the Thompson in one hand and his flashlight in the other. Dan was close behind holding his Schofield; he had surrendered his Lee-Enfield to the professor.

The roar of the river again drowned out but the loudest voice as the party continued on their way to the surface. Mac was becoming more uneasy as they continued on their way to the surface. Certainly, the Germans would not let them get away so easily. They must be laying a trap or waiting in ambush somewhere ahead.

They were only a half a mile from the surface when they heard the explosion. The passageway shook and dust rained down on them. Fortunately, the ancient architects were superb builders and the passageway did not collapse upon them. Mac waited a few minutes for the dust to settle. Then he ran ahead leaving Dan with Rebecca and Dr. Strong.

A few hundred yards ahead confirmed Mac's worst fears. The Germans had sabotaged the passageway. The entire length of the passage from here to the surface had collapsed. The small party had no chance of escape by going this way. So they returned to the cavern.

Mac looked around for a back door. Unfortunately, there was none. Even the ceiling opening was beyond their reach. The sun was rapidly disappearing behind the Andes. Soon darkness would envelope the cavern.

How long could they survive with no food? They had plenty of water…

Suddenly, Mac jumped up.

"I've got it!" Mac exclaimed.

"What is it?" Dan asked excitedly.

"Quickly, before we lose the light. Gather any wood you can find. We'll go out down the river."

"We don't know what is down the river," Dr. Strong pointed out.

"But we know we'll die if we stay here," insisted Mac.

* * * * *

Just before the last rays of sunlight exited the cavern for the night, the small group had manufactured a small raft. It was not large enough for them to all sit on, but they could hold on to it to keep them afloat as they flowed down the river.

Mac and Dan lashed the packs and weapons onto the raft. Once the small party was ready, they grabbed onto the raft. Each had a vine wrapped around a hand. If worse came to worse and they need to escape the raft all they had to do was unwrap their hand.

The four companions then pushed off from the riverbank to the center of the stream. The water was refreshingly cold. Even now in the night, the jungle heat and humidity was stifling. However, Mac knew that any prolong exposure to the subterranean water could lead to hypothermia and then death.

The current was strong and before long, the raft with its four passengers was rushing downstream. There was barely enough headroom as the river exited the cavern out the small tunnel. Mac had his flashlight strapped to the top of the raft to provide any light. How long it would last, he did not know. The batteries could die or the water could short it out. Mac did his best to water proof it by wrapping wet clay around the flashlight.

The tunnel appeared to stretch on endlessly. The twists and turns would occasionally bash the occupants against the wall. Fortunately, the walls were smooth and the channel was deep. They had to avoid the occasional stalactite as a sudden surge upward could leave one impaled upon the sharp protuberances.

Mac figured that they had already covered several miles in the few minutes they were in the river. By good luck, the river never submerged its occupants underwater for any prolonged time. That was another fear Mac had, but he felt best not to mention it.

As the raft continued to flow down the watery course, the flashlight began to dim. When the light went out their chances of survival also lessened. They could no longer see the dangerous stalactites nor prepare for the turns.

They sped along even faster now. The channel was narrowing. Before the flashlight died, Mac notice that there was light coming from up ahead. His spirits raised considerable. Then they dropped just as suddenly when he heard the roaring of a waterfall. There was no escape; the river pulled them at an alarming rate towards the watery cliff.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on September 27, 2006 7:47 PM.

"Nebrion's Quest" - Chapter 2: Meeting with Nebrion was the previous entry in this blog.

"Nebrion's Quest" - Chapter 3: Something Went Wrong is the next entry in this blog.

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