Written by Samuel Gaitskell
The ladder lead to a blank, dark, dusty room that looked much older than the building below. It looked as if this particular room was built into the side of the cavern centuries before the building, while the building was just built to give easy access to this room. Or at least that was the assessment that Julia gave.
David traced his torch around the room, to find a rather unsettling sight. In the centre rested a golden, anatomically realistic heart that seemed to be permanently oozing a suspicious red liquid which David sincerely hoped wasn’t what he thought it was. The heart itself was held in the hands of a statue of a skeleton, the skeletons ribcage seeming to have been blown open from the inside.
'So, what are we thinking?' Nathan said, trying to put on his Business As Usual routine to distract from the horrific image burned into his mind. 'Weighted mechanisms, triggered when the heart is removed? Something along those lines?'
'It doesn’t look like it,' Julia commented, observing the arms through what limited light that David’s torch provided. 'As far as I can tell it’s just a regular statue.'
'So… are we just going to grab it?' Ryan suggested. 'I mean, if it’s not booby trapped or whatever, so-'
'We can’t be sure that it isn’t… booby trapped.' Julia stated, really hating that term. 'While I doubt it’s a weighted mechanism or whatever, we can never be too careful.'
David approached the statue carefully, sizing up his options. Honestly, just the classic grab-and-run strategy sounded pretty good right now. It was a strategy that, in his experience, never worked, but quite frankly, it was an ancient statue, how ‘booby trapped’ could it be? Well, very, quite frankly, but as ancient as it was, surely it could be outrun.
With all of his strength, David lifted the surprisingly heavy heart from the hands, trying his best not to spill the thick crimson liquid on himself. He cursed softly under his breath as a clicking noise of some sort splintered through the silence. The entire statue began to sink into the ground, a similar thick liquid beginning to ooze from its eye sockets but instead of red, this liquid’s colour was as black as pitch.
'Time to run?' Ryan asked, looking at the liquid.
'Time to run.' David confirmed.
The four treasure huntsmen rushed from the building to find massive spouts of a similar black liquid squirting from various statues along the road like busted fire hydrants. A very peculiar trap, indeed. Surely, if they had such an advanced system of pipes, they could just dump a big rock on top of the potential thief. Why risk the entire city?
'No one touch the liquid.' Julia commanded as they ran back towards the exit of the city.
'Oh, really? Don’t touch the mysterious black goo spouting from the ancient statues?' Ryan sarcastically quipped. 'That’s a real shame, ‘cause I was going to slurp a cup-full up.'
'Can we save the sarcasm for when we aren’t about to die?' Nathan added with a huff, narrowly avoiding yet another fountain that sprung from a nearby statue of what looked to be an angel.
The group ran and ran, dodging spout after spout of the mysterious black liquid, before their exit was finally in sight. The group bolted through the opening in the cave’s wall, pausing only to take a look backwards at the city. The fountains grew larger and larger, flooding the streets with the ooze, with next to no sign of stopping. It looked as if the entire city would be submerged eventually. Such a sight brought a feeling of sadness to Julia. The entire ancient city, drowned. All that history, and all the mysteries which came with it, flushed away in a sea of pitch black sludge. And all by their very own hands, no less. To a degree, Julia knew that disturbing history was a part of the job. But on this scale? Julia couldn’t help but linger, as the other three began to leave through the tunnel they had came through, while she watched the liquid rise. It was almost like she could see all those untold stories, all those memories of another time, being destroyed in the flood. Sure, they got their treasure...
...But was it worth it?