With Halloween so close, I decided to dedicate this post to Things that go bump in the night, and present an excerpt from my new release: Matrix Crystal Hunters.
With some illustrations done by me.
She drove up the side of the old riverbank. Rounding a corner, she found the remains of a road. Maya continued down the rough track until a large structure came into view.
The huge, stone building seemed ageless. It could have been built yesterday, but it was more likely to be more than a thousand years old. She parked her jeep nearby and walked the rest of the way on foot. The wind howled around the corners of the structure, making Maya suddenly feel more isolated than she was used to, and unusually for her, a little wary. She hugged her elbows and slowed her steps.
Locating a doorway, she entered and found a big empty space. The large structure had been constructed from nearly indestructible stone, so only the doors and roof were gone and, although long abandoned, it was surprisingly clean, except for rust-colored spots where some kind of machinery had once stood.
The superstitious Zeemen stayed away from such old buildings, considering them evil or sacred, depending on who you spoke to. An excellent place to set up camp.
Maya gathered up her supplies to set them inside the building. She put her tent up in a corner where the sun had already warmed the stones, so that the heat they were radiating would help to keep her warm during the cold desert night. She set up her tables, but left her instruments in their boxes on the floor. They were irreplaceable and she didn't want some wild animal knocking them down.
Taking a flashlight, Maya made a quick foray into the strip mine. The setting sun reflected off a few places, but her heart sank. If the matrix crystals were here, it would light up more than this. First thing tomorrow, I’ll have to go all the way down there.
She didn't relish the idea of the hike. The strip mine was deep and it would take her a while to reach the bottom, where hopefully a few of the crystals remained. Tiers, used as roads, went around the edges, leading down to the lowest section, but they were overgrown with trees and shrubs, and water pooled at the bottom of the mine. But that could be blocking her view of the refraction of the matrix crystals too.
Maya finished setting up her camp. She lit a small burner so she could warm up some noodles for dinner. Her stomach growled, reminding her that she had forgotten to eat lunch again.
She imagined how Momma Roosa would chastise her if she knew that. “Don’t you know, girl, food is the only fuel a body has to fill up on? How can you keep on going if you don’t eat?”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah.” Maya stirred in the contents of her seasoning package. She saved what small amounts of Earth food she still had for trips out.
After her scanty dinner, Maya went to bed, hoping to get an early start in the morning. Sleep was a long time coming. The excitement of exploring a new site always kept her awake. But, just as she started to doze off, there was a scuffing sound, not unlike the noise made by someone’s shoe.
Maya jumped, opening her eyes wide in the darkness. Who could be way out here? She hadn't seen a soul all day.
Another scrape, but this one closer. Maya stiffened, her heart beating so loudly, she feared she wouldn't be able to hear anything else. Lifting her head, she held her breath, willing her heart to quiet down.
Maya relaxed. It must have been the wind blowing something around. Yeah, that’s it. She closed her eyes again. Sleep was close.
Then came the unmistakable sound of the tent’s zipper being drawn up, bringing her back to full wakefulness.
Who the hell is that?
Janice Seagraves website: http://janiceseagraves.org/