Gilson drew up his cheap binoculars for a better look. “Great Scott Scotty! I’ve been coming here since I was a kid. How could I have missed
I deliberately ignored Gilson’s stupid joke. “Right you are.” I scaled a boulder and slid effortlessly through the narrow slit in the cavern
I shone my flashlight on a painted petroglyph and followed the rock wall down several feet. “It’s more than just a distortion of the light. The
recent rains must have washed away a rock hiding the tunnel’s entrance."
My flashlight found another petroglyph that was cruder than the other one. The glyph was grotesque, skull shaped and painted with blood. Gilson
screamed and tried to reach for me, pulling hard on my long braid.
I pushed him away and moved farther into the legendary catacombs of the Grand Canyon. “I can’t believe this,” I said. “All along the legends
and stories about this place were true.” Gilson stumbled over a dead snake and screamed again.
I frowned, grabbed the dead Mojave green and threw it. “And don’t call me Scotty. Call me Kate.”
Gilson saluted. “But what kind of sick mind would paint blood on the wall? I don’t know about this Scotty I mean Kate. The locals around here
might not like this.”
“Look, are you going to explore this or are you too afraid? If you are I’ve got a latte cooling in the RV.”
Gilson didn’t say anything which meant he wasn’t going much farther. The tunnel widened and became so dark my small halogen flashlight cut only a
small sliver of light into the gloomy tomb.
“I-I can’t go any farther. I”ll meet you back at the RV,” Gilson said dryly.
“Fine,” I growled. “I’m looking for hidden treasure or something cool.”
He threw me a warning look. “Fine. This looks like a sacred place to me. I have full respect for the Hualapai.”
“I do too but if I’m right this is something even they don’t know about.”
“I’m not taking that chance,” Gilson said with a gasp.
“You don’t know what you’re going to be missing.” I took one more step and slid. Small rocks carried me a few feet, landing me on my backside.
That hurt. I got up slowly and brushed myself off.
I took one more uneasy step. Too late. Something like an old piece of wood snapped and I found myself falling down, down, into a large opening.
When the dust settled and my flashlight was useful again, I could see I was in a large room. A scant amount of light came from somewhere and I could
see that the place was filled with painted sarcophagi.
“Gilson! Come back here,” I yelled. I noticed a discarded light bulb from an ancient camera lying on the stone floor. I picked it up. “The
Smithsonian has been here. I knew it, this is a cover-up.”
A grinning face appeared in the ceiling hole up above. “What up? Did you find something?”
“Big chicken,” I said as I panned my flashlight around the room. “Get down here.”
“No thanks I’m staying right here,” Gilson chirped. “Whatever it is you found, I get a cut in on it though. I was here too, risking my
“You aren’t risking your life, I am,” I said sharply. My ears were surprised by the sound of voices coming from somewhere deep inside the tunnel
above. “Someone’s here.” I listened to the short halting sounds. “And it doesn’t sound like English they are speaking.”
Gilson hung his booted legs over the ceiling opening and prepared to jump. A whip cracked and someone screamed. Even in the dark I could see Gilson
I felt a draft blow over and around the open room. We were going to have to follow the direction of that draft or risk it and stay there. He said,
“I’m not sure how we’re getting out of here, but it’s not back where we came from.”