Indiana Jones and the Serpent of Evil
Chapter 9: The Serpent Raises Its Head
"What is it?" Merida asked.
"Answers, I think." Indy pulled back from the hole and glanced down at Angelina. "Cliché as it is to ask, do you by any chance have a hair pin?"
In response, Angelina reached up and pulled a thin wooden shaft from the mass of tresses looming above the nape of her neck. As she handed it to Indy, her hair cascaded down in ebony waves.
"Thanks," Indy said. He turned back to the wall and carefully worked the pin into the tiny hole. After a minute, he teased out a tightly wound cylinder of paper, perhaps four inches in length. He handed the pin back to Angelina and stepped down from the chair. "Let's go over to one of the reading tables where the light is better," he said.
He sat and, his companions peering over his shoulders, gently unrolled the tiny parchment. Letters, printed in a neat, almost mechanical hand covered the six inch long page from top to bottom. The words were of archaic Spanish, similar to those in the rubbing Indy had taken from King Charles' statue.
The archaeologist sat hunched quietly, reading. At last, he stood up, rolled the tiny paper into a tube and slipped it into his inner coat pocket.
"Well?" Merida and Angelina said together.
Indy hesitated for a moment, enjoying his friends' anticipation. "If you must know...." They leaned in so as not to miss a word. "We've just discovered the precise directions to the mine of Itzama."
The two Spaniards narrowed their eyes in puzzlement. "Itzama?" Merida asked.
"That's what it says," Indy answered, patting his breast pocket. "Regardless of what exactly Itzama is, we've done it! We've found the way to Charles' lost cache of silver." Merida and Angelina's faces broke open into broad smiles.
Chuckling, Indy spun on his heel and walked toward the map room's exit. Coming?" he asked, looking back over his shoulder. "I hate celebrating alone." As if shaking themselves from a trance, his friends grabbed their things and ran to the door as it swung shut behind him.
A few hours - and many drinks - later, Angelina parted from the two men, who professed a need to continue their revelry on into the early morning. She cracked open the door of her apartment and closed it behind her, turning to twist shut the lock and secure the bolt. A dark brown tabby wandered over and grazed up against the back of her right calf. She looked down impatiently and pushed it to the side with her foot. "Not now," she said.
She then filled a glass of water from the tap and sat heavily into a stiff chair by the window. It wouldn't do to get comfortable - not when there was still business to take care of. She checked the clock on the wall and glanced over at the phone resting on the wooden end table next to her. She was angry and she wanted some answers.
The next twenty minutes passed in a tense silence. Even the cat knew well enough to sit quietly in a dark corner and keep quiet. At midnight, the phone rang once loudly before Angelina snatched it up like a snake capturing a mouse.
<"Hello,"> she snapped, gripping the phone tightly.
A strong, cultured voice answered, diffused somewhat by the muffled tones associated with speaking over a great distance. <"Angelina, my dear...you sound rather stressed. Is anything the matter?">
Angelina took a deep breath and calmed herself. The man had to have known what had happened. He was playing with her. <"You know damn well what's wrong,"> she said, her voice strained. <"When we began this, you said that there would be no more killing - that we were only going to frighten people. Then you had Alejandro murdered. And today your men tried their best to kill both the American and me! If you want any more of my assistance, you had better start explaining very quickly what's going on.">
The voice at the other end paused a moment. <"Angelina, my child, you have my deepest apologies. It was not my intent to cause you any harm. I expect that our friends were a bit...overzealous in performing their mission. Jones is a dangerous man, after all. I'm sure they did everything they could to keep from harming you. However, I must point out that you wouldn't have been at risk had you not been - how shall I say it? - frolicking about with him. It makes me think that perhaps your mind isn't sufficiently focused on our goal.">
<"I'm as focused as I ever was,"> Angelina snapped. <"But your men tried to kill Indy the day he arrived - the same time they attacked Alejandro. I'm all for supporting the cause, but I will not allow you to continue on this way. Besides...Indy has found out more about the mine in his two days here than you have in the past two months. It would not only be wrong to kill him, but stupid too. You'd be better off hiring him.">
The voice at the other end remained silent and Angelina began to think her connection had been severed.
<"Angelina Morales,"> the voice returned with a growl, all pretence of culture vanishing in an instant. <"You forget your place, little woman!"> The speaker enunciated the latter two words harshly. <"You have chosen to serve my cause, and in doing so, you have obligated yourself to me until our plans see fruition. You've staked your life on that success - don't assume otherwise. I can't afford to have you doubt and waffle about like some emotionally baffled schoolgirl.">
The speaker lowered his voice to a menacing hiss. <"And I will never again tolerate the tone you have confronted me with tonight. I warn you against ever doing so in the future. Have I made myself perfectly clear?">
Angelina swallowed hard, her breath catching in her throat. The man on the other end had never before been so harsh with her, though she knew he was capable of it. She composed herself and offered an apologetic yet determined response. <"I am sorry for my...overreaction. It's been a rather stressful couple of days."> Rather stressful? She wanted to laugh at the magnitude of such an understatement. Instead, she continued. <"But, please - it would be unwise to kill Jones at this juncture. He's discovered things about the mine's location that you must know if you're to succeed. And he may be able to find out more.">
Again, the line remained silent for a time and Angelina held her breath, waiting for the response she hoped might come. It did.
<"Very well. As you feel so strongly about this archaeologist and his ability to find all the clues I seem to have missed -"> Angelina winced at that. < "--see if you can convince him to find the mine himself.">
<"I don't think that will be a problem,"> Angelina answered.
<"Good. I'll be waiting for him....">
Site Author: Micah Johnson
Page Author: walker
Created: July 16, 1999
Last modified: October 2, 1999