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  • Writer's pictureAutumn Isobel Smith

MOUNTAIN

A STORY A DAY


In which Autumn Isobel Smith writes sporadically throughout the week, despite the title.

 

Well, I guess it's that time again. As you all may have noticed, I have yet to lock down the formatting on this blog. It's a work in progress. As you also may have noticed, it is technically Saturday at the time I publish this entry. I know, I missed yesterday. Like I said above, sporadic.

So this story is a little different from my last two, in that it's not finished. It's more of a chapter than anything. My character, Jori De La Cruz, was inspired by Indiana Jones, my fascination with the ancient American civilizations, and love of mysticism and the occult.

I don't have much on my mind at this time, as it is well after midnight and thoughts of sleep are drifting through my mind. I've zoned out probably six times since I've been writing this, and it's only been about twenty minutes. So without further ado, the story.


 


 

MOUNTAIN


On a ledge overlooking the vast peaks of the Andes, Jori De La Cruz stood facing the long drop below. She wiped sweat from her brow with the back of her hand. So far, it had been a lengthy, arduous journey. Her feet were starting to hurt, and she thought she had pulled a muscle in her shoulder, but none of that mattered. She was so close.

After retying her sleek, black hair, she looked back over her shoulder, wincing as her pulled muscle complained. “I told you before, Marion, if you want to hang with me, you’ve gotta keep up. We need to reach that cave by noon if we want to make it down the mountain before sunset.”

Huffing and puffing, Seth Marion stumbled up the incline to stand beside her. His bright pink face clashed horribly with his ginger hair. “I think I need a break,” he said. He slid off his backpack and pulled out a water bottle, drinking like he’d been wandering a desert for a week.

Jori rolled her eyes at him. “Fine,” she said, pulling off her own pack. “Take five. But we’re close, I’m sure of it. Those documents we stole said the cave was somewhere near the peak of this mountain.”

“You mean the documents you stole,” Seth said.

She rolled her eyes again at his disapproving gaze. “I already told you: if you don’t like my methods, find another story.” Seth looked like he wanted to argue, but Jori turned away before he could, staring out over the mountain range again. “We’re gonna find something this time. I know it. I can feel it.”

Seth came up to stand next to her. “Why do you want this so badly?”

“You know why.”

He frowned. “Not really. All I know is that you come from a family of explorers, right?”

Jori shifted in place, wondering how much to tell him. She’d known Seth for a while, but she still wasn’t sure she trusted him. He was a journalist after all. What if he was only here for the story? She eyed him, mulling it over. He had gone to great lengths for this story, but she couldn’t deny he was useful sometimes. “Fine. But this is off the record, got it?” She waited for him to nod before continuing. “When I was a kid, my dad was lost on an expedition. No one knows what happened to him.”

“So you’re looking for him?”

“No. I’m carrying on his work. He knew things. Strange things. He’d seen powers beyond what this world thinks possible.”

“Like what?” Seth’s curiosity was apparent, and Jori almost smiled. Maybe he wasn’t so bad.

“He never said. Told me I was too young to understand, and that he’d show me when I was ready.”

“But he never did?”

“He never got the chance. He disappeared when I was twelve. I’ve been on his trail ever since. Went to school for pre-history and the study of ancient civs.”

“Okay. So what about this expedition? What specifically are you looking for?”

Jori glared at him. “What is this, an interview? It’s off the record, remember?”

“Sorry. Old habits, you know. But really, why are we here?”

She hesitated, considering how much to tell him. If she said too much, she would sound crazy. But maybe that was okay. If he ran off, he ran off. She didn’t need him. She had gone through so much more alone. “This cave is supposed to be the site of a rite of passage ritual for the Norte Chico people. Supposedly. But no one has been able to find it in centuries. I’m going to be the first. There were also rumors of sacred artifacts to be found, a treasure trove of sorts.”

Seth nodded slowly. “And what do you plan to do with these artifacts?”

“See what they do, of course.”

“You believe there may be real power behind these items?”

“Yeah, I do.” She met his gaze defiantly, but his expression remained neutral.

“Okay,” he said.

Jori eyed him for a moment more, then pulled her pack on again. “Let’s go,” she said. “Time’s wasting.”



TO BE CONTINUED


 

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