Katie B

The humid air sucked the breath out of my tired lungs as I pushed forward through the lush jungle undergrowth. I knew there had to be something interesting in this uncharted area. I trekked on for a few more minutes, then collapsed at a nearby stream. I pulled out my water bottle and took a sip. I eagerly gulped some more. The bottle was half empty by the time my team was back on their feet. I tried to fix myself at a pool of water. I had pale skin and straight black hair. I was really short and on the skinny side. I had blue narrow eyes.

“Erin!” Sarah, my partner, called. She had tan skin and blonde hair. She had really big brown eyes and was on the chunky side. She shared my love of adventure and she often explored the world with me. The other three people on the team were cartographers and biologists who had come to study terrain and the diverse flora and fauna. We got ourselves together and started on our way again. We traveled 2.9 miles, according to my Fitbit. We could have kept going, except there was a massive lake with a large island in the center.

The cartographers took out their maps and started sketching the lake and island, but Sarah and I had different ideas. We found a canoe a few yards away and stepped inside. It looked like it had been carved from a downed tree, like the Native Americans did. It was a really dark brown and moss covered the sides and seats. We each took a paddle and started rowing. The water seemed thin and salty as we paddled to the island. It took us a half an hour before we reached land. The boat hit the sandy beaches of the island. We exited the boat and scrambled up the sand dunes. The center of the island appeared to be dense forest. I pulled out a knife for slicing through the dense vegetation. We started slowly towards the center, slicing through vines and palm tree leaves. Sarah got tired quickly.

“Let’s turn back!” she called up to me.

“There will be something here and we will have missed out if we don’t go on!” I called back, slicing my way through a particularly strong vine. I have had experience with this kind of thing. I had found what I had believed to be a new species of bird, but I ignored it and the next day someone had announced the discovery of a new bird and posted a picture online. The haughty biologist who had “discovered” it had named it after himself. I was not going to make the same mistake again. I would never pass up an opportunity, since if you didn’t take it, it would give that opportunity to someone else.

I finally got through the vine just when Sarah decided to take the canoe back to the mainland. I was disappointed that my friend had abandoned me, but that would not stop me from exploring this island. I climbed over a giant mossy fallen tree and stopped to take a quick drink. I finally came to the center of the island. It was a large depression that was deep enough to be a challenge to climb out. I jumped in and examined the area. There were four mossy sandstone pillars with unique carvings on each of them. One depicted a man slaying a dragon. The second was a manticore roaring. The third was a chimera sleeping in a cave. The fourth was a man fighting a jaguar. Each pillar had a pressure plate. I assumed that three would activate deadly traps. I needed to find the odd one out. I thought about it for a minute, and when the answer hit me, I realized how obvious it was! The correct one was the man fighting the jaguar, since that is the only one that could occur in real life! I climbed the short pillar and slammed my foot on the pressure plate. A door opened in the center of the square that appeared to lead into a buried pyramid. I didn’t hesitate as I headed into the chamber. I found a torch on the wall and grabbed it. As I puzzled over how the old torch was lit, I walked along the winding chamber. Eventually, I hit a dead end. The wall seemed to slide over, trapping me in the cold, lifeless, sandstone room. I blew lightly on the torch to give it some oxygen and examined the room. The room had two weapon racks, one filled with swords, the other with bow and arrows. In the center there was a fountain that featured a lion’s head spitting water into the elegant fountain. I picked up a sword and headed cautiously to the fountain. There was a key resting at the center of the fountain. All I had to do was grab it and find the keyhole. I reached in eagerly and grabbed the key. When I tried to pull it, it barely reached the surface of the water, because a string was holding it down. I used the sword to cut the string and pulled the key free. It took me a while to notice the pair of yellow-green eyes watching me from the darkness.

The beast stepped out of the shadows. It appeared to be a lioness with a really glossy pelt. I lunged at the beast with my sword in hand, attempting to cut it’s side, which it left unguarded. My sword bounced harmlessly off. That’s when I realized that this was no ordinary lion. It was the Nemean lion, a beast from greek mythology that had an impenetrable hide. Only its hide was impenetrable, but if I could get an arrow down its throat… I ran over to the bow and arrow weapons rack, but not before the beast pounced. The beast got its claws around my ankle. Overwhelming pain seemed to shoot up from my leg to my heart. I gasped at the pain and felt butterflies flit into my stomach. I pushed onwards and grabbed a bow and a handful of arrows. I aimed at the lion’s open mouth, but missed. The arrow landed in his eye. The beast howled in pain. Its mouth was open so wide, I couldn’t possibly miss! Seeing my chance, I shot an arrow, which planted itself in the beast’s throat.

It choked on the arrow and collapsed. Its body disintegrated, leaving a person-sized scrap of its pelt and a key. I saw a door on the opposite wall from the wall where I entered. I put the key in and the door opened. I draped the lion’s pelt over my shoulders like a cape and used an arrow and some vines hanging down from the ceiling to fasten it. In my moment of victory I had forgotten about the wound on my ankle. I wound some vines around it and continued through the pyramid.

Eventually I stumbled across a room that had a single table in the center. There were four stone objects on the table, and four pillars. Each pillar had an engraving of an object. One was a star, which was slightly heavier than the rest of the stone objects. One appeared to be a palm tree carving. It was the lightest of the group. The third object was a cheetah. It was second lightest. The last, second heaviest was a chalice. On the pillars, there was a stream, an antelope, the Earth, and an island. I figured there were pressure plates on top of the pillars. I set the cheetah on top of the antelope pillar, since cheetahs hunt antelopes. I put the star on top of the Earth pillar, since a star heats the Earth. I put the palm tree on the island, since palm trees grow in tropical areas. I finally put the chalice on the stream pillar. There was a clicking noise, and the wall slid to the side. I walked through and saw it. A solid gold statue of a sphinx, encrusted in emeralds. I picked it up, and juggled it in my hand. It was about the size of my head. It was kind of heavy. I did not have time to register what happened next.

A huge wall of water hurled towards me. I was swept backwards into the pillar room, then the lion room, then against the wall where I originally dropped down into the pyramid. Coming to my senses, I swam out. The entire depression was swallowed by water, so it was easy to swim and climb out. Soaking wet, I decided to swim to the other shore. It took a while, but I made it to the other side safely. When I met up with the group, they had called rescue teams. I was apparently in there for two hours. I told them how I got the statue, but they didn't believe me. I journeyed back home, and when I got there I went straight to my computer and typed up my adventure under the pen name of Katie B.