Friday, February 15, 2013

Prompt: Temple Ruins

When the professor’s boyfriend flew up to the site in a helicopter and offered to take anyone on an aerial recon, Sarah jumped at the chance. She’d had a feeling about the impenetrable brush on the top of the hill beyond their dig site ever since she first saw it from the bus two months ago.

The professor and the post-docs had waved her away when she suggested trying to get up there though. “It’s impossible, kid. The hillside is covered in brambles and nettles – a miserable combination under any circumstances. In this heat, you add in the flies and noseeums, and that sounds like hell on earth. No thanks, we have plenty to keep us occupied right here. Go check with Tom on plot 23. He needs someone with a gentle touch to brush dirt. You game?”

Doug flew the copter in a low circle around the hill, and Sarah thought she would burst with excitement. There were definitely ruins up there. She could see a glint of white in the sun, the bare bones of something, an arch, maybe, and vines draped over a structure with a definite square corner. Manmade, for sure.

As much as she wanted to jump and dance with excitement, she played it cool and held her tongue. Immediately, she determined to be the first to find them. The archaeology team maintained a friendly rivalry over bragging rights to best finds, and she knew this was going to be a big deal. The professor might even let her take the lead on plotting and recovery, maybe even co-authoring a paper.

Whoa, hold up, girl. You have to find something first!

Was someone calling her name? Sarah held still for a moment and listened. She shook her head and swung her short machete to continue her difficult path through the massive tangles of briers and nettles that had grown thick and wild for many long years. She wondered how long it had been since anyone had been here. This area was pretty isolated in the Carmel Mountain range, despite more than a hundred years of enthusiastic archaeological research. Now, Sarah tried in vain to make out any sight of something manmade as she drank a little water and wiped her brow. The giddy anticipation of discovery pushed her to make another swing with the machete, ignore the blisters on her palms and heels, ignore the heat, the stings of nettles, briers and biting insects.

Again, she thought she heard the faint sound of someone calling. But the team were used to her taking off during the afternoon rest by now, and no one would be looking for her until after three. She felt the whisper of a breeze and lifted her hair to cool her neck. As she gazed into the brush, she felt like her vision suddenly cleared, and she could see a pathway ahead. She slipped under a tangle of vines and the way was clear before her. She stood tall and walked easily to the crest of the hill, where she froze in disbelief.

An open temple grotto spread out before her, draped in the vines and brush that hid it from view for so many years. Stone, she thought it might be marble, formed graceful columns and delicate arches, seven to a side of the square. There were pairs of columns supporting each arch, with a trestle on top that linked them all together. In the center of the grove was a large fountain, dry and overgrown, with a giant statue of a woman standing tall, with her hands pressed together in front of her. Sarah was reminded of her yoga classes, where they called this pose “hands to heart center”. She felt drawn to the statue, burning with curiosity to determine who it was. Who had been the center of such a stage for worship, and how long ago?

Thanks to Pinterest and an abandoned blog source for this intriguing photo prompt!

Dogs in house:
Houdini, Eggs

Delta Rae, Carry the Fire

February word count:

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