Friday, February 04, 2005

Are you an Adventurer?

Ok, stay with me here…

You’re in Central America – searching for a lost Mayan city in the south of Belize. The jungle foliage is oppressive, as is the heat. You cannot see the sky, nor feel the wind. Your guide has left you – three days since – and the silence is maddening. You hack forward with your machete, because that is all there is to do.


Suddenly… a clearing.


You stumble out of the jungle, perpendicular to a long wide path. It is in surprisingly good repair, and could pass for a usable road if not for the abrupt ending twenty yards to your left; where it is engulfed by the encroaching jungle. To the right, one hundred yards distant, a building.


As you move down the road, the jungle to either side gives way, revealing smaller structures that can only be dwellings. So pristine they look that you half expect to see the eyes of a child, warily peeking at you from the safety of the window.


As you reach the base of the building, you realize it is one of many. This must have been, at the time, a good sized city. The central building is huge, almost certainly a temple, with various smaller structures ringing it. The topology is that of a circle with a dot in the center.


The entire place feels alive, if that is possible. It’s as if the inhabitants had gone away for festival and were due back any moment. You could almost hear the clamor of the crowd, dancing, chanting through the city proper – on their way to temple for some beatific ritual. A quick translation of the hieroglyphics above the entrance tells you this is the Temple of Kings.


The mouth of the temple beckons you forward. It awaits you like a hungry mouth ready to swallow. As you light your lantern and prepare to enter, you pause for a moment. You hear laughing, muffled as if hidden beneath a heavy blanket. It is a cruel, mocking sound, and the chill that runs down your back reminds you of just how alone you are.


You shake it off.


Inside the temple you move slowly down the hallway. There are mounted torches and you make use of them, slowly lighting each as you move forward. The walls have no markings and are surprisingly bereft of aging. They are smooth and cold to the touch. The hall ends in a huge atrium with slivers of light cascading down from the slots above. In the center, basked in light, stands a small pillar.


As you approach the pillar, you notice there is a golden bell suspended between two outcroppings on the top of the column. It looks if anything like a small replica of a church bell, hanging in anticipation of an astute smack from a guided hand. Beside it sits a long, thin golden rod. Chiseled into the face of the pillar are more hieroglyphics.


Suddenly a whirling wind sweeps through the chamber – with unnatural force it whips around the room forcing you to grab hold of the column to keep your footing. It dies as quickly as it came – incredulously, the bell did not ring.


For a moment, you are sure you will run from this place. A feeling of dread has engulfed you, as if the wind had ushered in the minions of hell itself. The beads of salty sweat that cascade down your face fall silently onto the limestone below. Without thinking, your eyes glance to the writings on the pillar.



*Make your choice, adventurous Stranger.
Strike the bell and bide the danger.
Or wonder, till it drives you mad.
What would have followed if you had?




You tell me, adventurous stranger. What would you do?


*Note: this poem was taken word-for-word from A Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis.

12 Comments:

At 10:26 AM, Blogger The Ugly American said...

I'm the kida guy that would just have to ring the bell and take my chances! Because it would most certainly drive me crazy otherwise.

 
At 7:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd do the Indy Jones thing: Ring the bell, duck, and roll head over heels into the next room. ;^)

http://pimme.blog-city.com

 
At 8:56 AM, Blogger saRah said...

ring the bell of course~

sarah ;)
http://www.tabulas.com/~shireen

 
At 6:09 PM, Blogger Square1 said...

ring th bell and duck

 
At 8:18 AM, Blogger Dane Jurkovic said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 8:19 AM, Blogger Dane Jurkovic said...

First off, I do consider myself as an adventurer. Hell, I got married that is an on going adventure in itself (Grin). Here is what I would do in this case. I would first examine the bell very closely. Looking for any traps. Then I would examine the room for traps too. Then and only then I would ring the bell. But, I would do so by tossing a rock at it from a safe distance. If nothing happens then I would ring it with the rod very softly.

 
At 7:16 AM, Blogger Jim Cota said...

Oh, Dane, c'mon! You call that "adventurous"? Ring the damn bell, and ring it loudly!

(By the way, I was half way through this thinking, "Man, I had no idea he could write this well...")

 
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