The Fragment chapter 1A Chapter by Calvin
February 20th, 1836 Alamo mission Texas The sand gently pouring through the hourglass he could feel tingling through his spine, tomorrow Private Richard Riley would be shot at sunrise. Desertion was punishable by death but the private knew he would face certain death if he stayed to defend the sacred mission, five thousand mexican troops would make short work of the small volunteer force determined to hold their ground at the alamo mission at all costs. The young man had little to lose by attempting desertion except his dignity perhaps, to stay and fight was suicide, at least the excecution tomorrow morning would bring a more sudden death. The seargent guarding the young soldier despised him for his cowardice, he placed an hourglass on the window of the cell simply to add to the condemned soldier's misery. But Private Riley would not face death alone. On the other side of the cell stood Private Ezekiel Harrington, or " Zeke " as Private Riley called him affectionately. He was a theif and bandit before he joined the fight for the independence of Texas, joining the army was partly a means of escaping prison for Ezekiel Harrington. Thousands of dollars in loot he stashed away in a secret location in the desert, the former wanted criminal would return to the spot and recover his prize as soon as he deserted. It turned out that deserting was not as easy as Private Harrington thought, knowing that the volunteers were outnumbered Zeke planned to make his escape as he was being relieved of guard duty. A young private also attempting desertion screamed hysterically as he was trying to scale the walls of the mission, Zeke was creeping along the ground near the wall during the confusion and Private Riley's loud display of cowardice brought attention to Private Harrington who was lying on the ground nearby. Zeke did not hold anything against his friend Richard for ruining his plan, Private Harrington was well aware that Richard Riley was a very young man of seventeen and truthfully had no business serving in any army. A feeling of intense sorrow and sadness filled the heavy air of the dark, depressing cell. Private Riley played a rather gloomy song on his harmonica, this made the situation all the more stressful for Zeke who was staring intensely out the window of the jailhouse. Private Harrington glared through the window hoping to find a way out, he had no intention of spending the rest of his days lying stiff in a coffin. The dreadfullness of the entire affair was more than Zeke could take. " Would you stop playing that song Riley! I'm trying to think!!! " " Oh calm down Zeke, in a few hours this will be all over." " Not for me! There must be a way out of this place, I'm not giving up without a fight. " " Good luck with that, there's a million guards posted out there and we don't have enough time for a tunnel. If you were smart you would lie down and get some sleep like I'm about to do. " " There's got to be a way out of here, surely when the padres first built this place they would have some kind of secret passage to escape indian raids. " " Zeke, you just have to accept the fact that tomorrow at sunrise we'll be shot. I don't like it any more than you do. " " I'm not accepting anything of the kind! If you want to be a man you are going to have to learn not give up without a fight, only the strong survive. If only I could escape this wretched place and get to that loot I have buried down by Laredo everything would be perfect, but what good is wishing. " Realizing that all hope was lost Zeke reluctantly layed upon the hard surface of his cell cot, his mind was racing with images of his life flashing before him. Private Harrington even started to question of the meaning of his life, what good had he done the world by his theivery? The long forgotten memories of his thiry-two years of age returned to haunt him him as he slowly closed his eyes, Private Harrington dozed into a deep sleep despite the awareness of impending disaster. Zeke first dreamed of his mother rocking him gently to sleep on their farm in southern Georgia, it was a comforting dream but was suddenly interrupted the sound of loud footsteps outside the jailhouse window. He immediately awakened Private Riley. " Wake up Riley! " he whispered loudly. " What is it Zeke ? " replied Private Riley in a annoyed tone. " Do you hear what I hear ? " " Yeah it sounds like footsteps. " " But who's ? " " Probably the firing squad coming for us, it was nice knowing you Zeke. " " No, it can't be. It's still dark outside. " Seconds after Zeke uttered these words a hand marked with scars appeared in the window, it carried a wadded up piece of paper and threw the paper onto the floor of the cell. Private Harrington rushed towards it with little enthusiasm. Slowly and carefully the condemned man opened up the folded note, inside it featured a rather curious handwriting with a message that lifted the spirits of Zeke Harrington like nothing before. The note read " There is a secret passage beneath the tile in the northwest corner of your cell, I feel that one of us should escape this place alive to take care of my wife Maria. " " What do you think Zeke ? " asked Private Riley. " I think we had better give it a try! " Private Harrington replied. The two condemned souls rushed as fast as they could to the northwest tile, just beneath the bunk Zeke was sleeping on was a loose tile. Private Riley slapped his hand violently upon it and a loud echo pierced through the ear lobes of the two fugitives, that could only mean that the loose panel concealed a tunnel which they could use to make their escape. Zeke immediately lifted the tile to reveal a shaft at least a hundred deep, it lead into total darkness with apparentely no bottom in sight. " How do we get down ? " asked Private Riley. " I don't know, there are plenty of ridges in the walls of the shaft. Maybe we could climb down using our fingertips. " replied Zeke. " It would be risky. " " What have we got to lose ? " " Your right, I'll go first Zeke. " " Be careful boy! " So with caution the young and fearless Private Riley reluctantly squeezed himself into the shaft, it proved difficult to dig his fingers into the shallow ridges of the vertical tunnel. Young Richard's fingers grew sore from holding his weight so long, not even his vigerous youthful attitude could keep up his strength during the treacherous descent. Next up was Zeke, he was not as youthful as Riley but had a natural strength superior to the average man. Even the strength and endurance of Zeke could not sustain him very long, after forty-five minutes of non stop climbing the fugitive soldier began to tire. Private Harrington tried to keep his mind occupied, he had heard a legend of something amazing buried beneath the mission. A story was told among the volunteer soldiers about the alamo mission being constructed to hide something, it was a mystery none could solve but Private Harrington was about to find out. Riley was not far below doing his best to hold up his weight with nothing more than his fingertips, the bottom of the shaft was still no where in sight. The long descent was taking a toll on the seventeen year old, his fingers cramped as he yelped in fear. Zeke was afraid that his young friend Riley might be close to his end. " Zeke!!! I can't hold on, my fingers are cramping!! " cried Private Riley in dispair. " Hold on kid!!!!! I'm coming down!! " shouted Zeke with a hint of worry in his voice. As Private Harrington swiftly hurried to the young soldier's rescue his fingers slipped, it appeared to be the end for both of them. Zeke fell helplessly on top of Riley causing him to join Zeke in the death drop, the two were appearentely done for or so they thought. After a minute of hopeless terror the deserters finally reached the bottom of this unknown abyss, it would have been death or serious injury had there not been a rotten piece of wood dangling in the shaft to break their fall. The bottom was a slide made of marble or some sort of ancient building material, the two soldiers slid quickly down the slope and finally reached the end of their epic descent. A place of complete darkness was a dead end for the two escapees, by the echoes in their voices they could tell they were in a room of considerable size. " What is this place Zeke ? " asked Private Riley nervously. " Probably some shelter in case of indian raids, but I can't understand why the old padres made it so deep though. " replied Zeke calmly. " This place is haunted, I can feel it. " " Aw calm down boy! I've got a match here I smuggled into our cell while the guard was'nt looking, I'll light it so we can make a torch. " As Private Harrington struck the match on the sole of his worn out boot light filled the room, before his eyes was the most horrid creature he had ever seen. It was the thing of nightmares, a dragon with it's fangs projecting fiercely from it's savage mouth. The two deserters screamed in terror, the cries were heard even in the jailhouse two-hundred feet above. The guard above ground dissmissed it as a coyote howling, but the escapees below in some ways wished their cry for help would have been heard. Zeke and Riley immediately regained their composure when they realized that the dragon was made of stone, a statue guarding a staircase leading into the darkness. In it's own way the dragon had a noble look about it despite it's horrid appearance, thousands of years it must have sat perfectly still guarding the staircase from intruders. Private Harrington was intensly interested in it's origins, as a boy he read of many ancient civilizations and studied them throughout his childhood. Private Riley was still somewhat afraid of the monstrous object, he stayed as far away from it as he could. Zeke took the match and lit a strip of his clothing while wrapping it around a piece of the rotten board which broke their fall to make a torch, he wanted to study this dragon more carefully. " It's ancient, much older than this mission. " said Zeke with a sound of boyish enthusiasm. " Let's get out of here! " replied Private Riley nervously. " My best guess is that we must be in some Aztec ruins, this must be the legend some of the old padres spoke of. It must be true. " replied Zeke not paying any attention to Riley. " Come on Zeke! Let's fiind a way out! " said Riley very irretated. " Your right kid, we better move on. " Zeke held the torch to the staircase showing an unending ascent to the unknown, a pathway to darkness. Reluctantly, the two former soldiers follwed the steps. For Private Riley every step felt as if it were his last, but knowing that a firing squad awaited him above ground he found the courage to press on. Private Harrington on the other hand found the whole experience very stimulating, exploring these ancient underground ruins was a childhood dream to him. The torch provided poor lighting in the abyss of this forgotten world, Zeke and Riley proceeded with the outmost caution.Then unexpectedly, the glow of the torch revealed a long hallway with no end in sight. " Where do think it leads Zeke ? " whispered Riley " I don't know, I don't like the looks of it. " Zeke replied nervously. " We'll I'll take my chances. " " Be careful kid. " Riley pretended to be brave but in his heart he shivered with fear and terror, He felt that after showing cowardice he needed to perform some act of bravery to prove himself a man. The young deserter walked slowly and carefully through the erie darkness, as Riley stepped upon a green tile the enitre floor fell completely through. Zeke's heart sank as he witnessed his friend crying for help while he fell into a pit of death. " Help!! Help!! " Riley cried. Zeke was very relieved to hear that his young friend was still alive. " I'm coming kid!! Keep hold'in on!!!! " Zeke shouted. Riley hanged helplessly by his finger from a single tile the miraculously stayed in place, Zeke leaped valiently to his rescue. After a few moments of struggling Zeke manged to pull Private Riley from certain death, the rest of the tiles leading to the end of the hallway were still in tact. So after a minute of recovery the duo continued their escape, they made sure to avoid any more green tiles. On the walls of the hallway were ancient paintings of human sacrifices performed by the aztecs, this only added to the erieness of the whole affair. The end was finally in sight, a doorway just fifty yards away. As their steps echoed through the dead air of the ancient temple, the light of the torch seemed to cause the room through the doorway to glow with luster. The glow was very puzzling to Zeke, little did he know the amazing discovery he was about to make. While Zeke and Riley entered the room they saw that it was filled with gold and silver up to their necks, enough riches to randsome a thousand kings. Golden statues of birds, monkeys, spiders, women, and warriors made up most of the collection. Golden cornstalks with emerald kernels and silver crowns decorated with feathers, sapphires, and garnets. " We're rich!!!!! We're rich!!!!!! " shouted Private Riley. " This must be the treasury of the entire aztec empire!! There is enough here to buy mexico!!!! We're rich boy!!!! " replied Zeke literally shaking with joy. Their boyish enthusiasm was soon brought to an end by the grim reality that they were buried atleast two-hundred feet underground, how would they escape these ruins. " Even all this gold could'nt buy us out of this place." said Zeke sadly. " Well if we are going to get out of this place alive we'd better start looking some kind of exit underneath this gold. " Riley remarked calmly. After a few moments of getting their bearings Zeke and Riley began searching for a way out, hours they spent relentlessly trying to find a way out. Tipping over a statue Riley noticed a fragment of pottery underneath it, he could not understand what a worthless fragment of pottery would be doing amongst all the priceless gold. It was quite strange, the fragment was marked with a very unusual symbol that Private Riley had never seen before. The unknown marking looked as if it were two Zs crossing each other. " Zeke! Come over here for a minute. " said Riley aloud. " What is it boy ? " Zeke asked. " Look at this piece of pottery. " " It's very ancient, it looks as if it were older than these ruins. " " What's that symbol ? " Zeke leaned forward and studied the symbol carefully, he was quite intriuged. " If I remeber right I believe that's called a swastika, its some kind of pagan symbol. But the aztecs were'nt pagans, that's a mystery we'll solve later on kid. " After putting back the pottery fragment Zeke and Riley found a doorway that lead to another hall, this hall was much longer than the last one but it gave them some hope of escape. One hour and a half later daylight shined through end of the tunnel, Riley and Zeke jumped for joy and laughed hysterically knowing that their lives were finally saved. The feeling of the sun shining upon their foreheads was indescribeble, at last there would be no firing squad to execute Private Riley and Private Harrington. The tunnel ended in a canyon not too far away from the old mission, Zeke and Riley heard gunshots and cannonfire and could not help but feel sorry for the ones who would lose their lives. " What is out next step Zeke ? " Riley asked. " Well I don't know what your plans are but I'm running home to georgia, as soon as this war is over I'm coming back for that gold. " Zeke replied. " I wonder who could have written us that note ? " " That handwriting looked familiar to me, I sure am thankful to them. " " The note said to take care of the man's wife Maria, we need to find her. We at least owe him that. " " Yo do what you want boy, I'm going home to Georgia and then I'm coming back for that gold. If you go after some other man's wife your as worhless as that pottery fragment
© 2010 Calvin
Added on December 15, 2010
Last Updated on December 23, 2010
AboutI'm a college student and I love to write, it's the greatest hobby I've ever had. I can't wait to get my first book published! more..